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Good starting point for designers looking to branch out
on June 15, 2009
Designers are naturally entrepreneurial, but relatively few of them have taken that road to success. This book, co-written by the prolific design writer, Steven Heller, is a good starting point as a resource for designers who want to take that next step. In fact, I do not know of any other book which tackles this subject, so it may well be the only resource specifically for designers.
The interviews with design entrepreneurs are interesting to read, and there is much to be found in the resource section, but I feel the book falls a bit short in providing the specific information that designers truly need. For example, Chapter 2: From Idea to Product is a mere 5 pages long and amounts to a checklist. It's a good checklist, but it skimps on specifics.
The chapters of examples from designers offer some greater detail, but you have to dig through and consolidate the vital information for yourself. For instance, if a designer says that he or she first had a prototype made, that is fine to know. But it would be far more valuable to additionally learn something about the person who made the prototype, and how the designer initially found that person.
The sub-title of the book, Turning Graphic Design Into Goods That Sell, gives the impression that the book is going to help designers learn how to do that. There are some good tips, but any designer hoping to turn their ideas into products will have to go farther than this book for more specific help.
I do like this book for the inspiration it provides, as well as the list of resources at the back of the book. Heller and Talarico have included examples and interviews from a very wide swath of design styles and experiences.