How to be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul (2005)

Adrian Shaughnessy’s first novel, created in 2005, about the intricacies of business in graphic design showcase his experience as a freelance designer and a studio owner. This amazingly designed book showcases tips on how to find work, how to price it, and what to do when the client walks away without paying. One of Shaughnessy’s biggest gripes about the white collar industry surrounding graphic design is the soulless projects within. This book, written by a designer for designers, addresses the concerns that young designers may not be able to do the meaningful work they set out to do in graphic design.

As Shaughnessy’s first novel, it quickly became one of his greatest, selling over 80,000 copies to date, as referenced in the biography dedicated to him. While he had always loved reading and writing, this truly was his first branch out into the world of book design. This jumpstarted his writing and educational career and inspired the creation of his company Unit Edition, a company about showcasing graphic design work alongside information on various subject matters.

While the novel does not demonstrate any key components of design in the 2000’s (other than a minimalist approach) the book features asymmetrical typography (ideas from Jan Tschichold) and many examples of the international and bauhaus styles of design. The reasoning behind this could be ironic placement showing the soulless mediocrity of sans serif fonts or it could be the career influence of corporate identity design Shaughnessy created in his original studio Intro and as an independent design consultant.


Image from: