20 best quotes from the book “Design is work”


20 best quotes from the book “Design is work”

The author of Design Is Work is Mike Monteiro, founder and head of the Mule Design design studio. His book is not about design, but about the profession of a designer. How to build a service delivery process and get a decent reward for it. It’s about workflow, customer relationships, negotiations, design approvals and contracts.

I read the book and wrote out key quotes. They will be useful to those who do not have enough time to read it themselves (in original or in translation).

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Responsibility for the presentation and sale of the result of your labor

When you are ready to take responsibility for selling your work (I purposefully use the word “sale”, not “presentation”), then you can call yourself a designer. And credit yourself with a good job.

The best way to get new clients is through referrals

Recommendations are the right way. But there are others, aren’t there? Of course. I think there are other tablet computers besides the iPad.

Choose your clients carefully

“You know, several very famous agencies would like to get this order.” Great, call them. Don’t work with people who let you know that they are lowering the bar by working with you, even if it’s just their negotiating style. Good work can only come about with mutual respect.

Work for money

Do not work on barter, for a percentage of sales, for a share in a business. Never work for free. Any work that you take to do for free, you put aside for the sake of work for money. It will not do anything good for you or the client. Neither of you will respect each other’s time.

Educate the client. Make him a good customer

It’s easy to laugh at bad customers. But the point is, good customers are not born, just like good designers are not born. Most clients want to be good, they are trying to do something good with their business. As a designer and communications professional, your job is to find the right language to communicate with your client. When you say a client “doesn’t understand,” it means, “I haven’t found a way to convey my point of view to the client. I’m a lazy designer. Please take all my clients away. “

About how much a designer’s work costs

This chapter should be the shortest in the book. All I want to tell you is this: ask for as much as possible, provide quality service honestly, and never work for free.

Take money not for the time of work, but for solving the problem

The client is not buying time from you. He buys the work. And money should be taken for the value of this work. There are formulas that supposedly help you determine the price based on how much you need to earn. They suggest that you add up your expenses, rent, supplies, utilities, and more, and then add the amount of profit you want to make. The problem with most of these formulas is that they don’t allow you to calculate rates – they figure out how to barely cover your butt. Of course, you need to know what the minimum rate is so that your electricity won’t be cut off for non-payment. But you need to charge clients based on how valuable your work is to them, not how long it takes you to complete it.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate a price

If the client starts bargaining, this is a sign that everything is going as it should. If the client wants you to cut the price, take a look at each of your offers and find out what can be cut. Never reduce the price without removing something from the offer. And never take something out of the offer without explaining the lost profit to the client. If the lost profits weren’t that great, it might be okay to cut them. The amount is not arbitrary, everything has its own exact cost. So if a customer wants to pay less, they must be willing to receive less.

Always make a contract

The contract is the foundation of trust. There is no contract, no reason to trust. Be sure to hire a lawyer, it will pay off. The contract protects both parties. Contract negotiations reveal differences. The more careful you are when entering into a relationship with a client, the more attention you pay to the details and dotting the i’s, the more likely you are to complete the project with successful quality work and build a lasting relationship. And this will lead to new projects and recommendations in the coming years.

You must have a clear design process

Stick to it and do not agree to change it, even for the sake of a sweet client. Your process is the guarantee of the result. It is thanks to the process that you give a high-quality result, whether you like it or not. Explain this to your customers. As we tell our clients when they ask what their site will look like, “We have no idea. But we have a process to help figure it out. “

Present your work on your own, do not trust the manager

It will be hard for you, you will be nervous and worried. But this must be done without fail. The ability to present your work is the main skill in the work of a designer. A designer who does not present his work to a client is not a designer. The presentation of the work, its rationale, answers to questions and feedback are all tools of the designer’s work. If you are sitting at a desk while someone else is presenting the work, you cannot complain about feedback. Failure will be your fault.

Design doesn’t sell itself. It must be commented and explained.

The biggest design myth is that good design sells itself. (And the second is that Copperplate really is a typeface.) Design can speak for itself no more than a tamale can pull off corn leaves by itself. You present a solution to a business problem and defend it with the client.

Create an environment for good feedback

Tell the client what you want to receive. Teach them to communicate correctly about your design. Most clients tend to be shy about giving their opinion on the design. How often have you heard: “I don’t understand anything about design!” It’s not scary, they shouldn’t understand anything about it. But they know a thing or two about their business, and you just need feedback from a business point of view.

About feedback principles

We explain to the client the principles of feedback before the presentation begins. We tell them what is good to talk about and what is not. They are grateful for the hint and it saves them a lot of time. Customers love it when you save their time. We tell them what decisions are important at the moment, what to ignore and what may require further clarification. We also emphasize key points during the presentation so that they don’t forget them.

The most important feedback principle is to identify the problem, not tell you how to fix it.

Many clients believe that the correct feedback is to tell the designer how and what to fix, or so-called prescriptive feedback. Many designers complain about prescriptive feedback, unless they turn a deaf ear to it. In the latter case, they complain that they do not understand what the client wants. Yes, we have earned our reputation as difficult people.

Find out your budget before you spend a lot of time preparing a proposal

There are two budget-related questions you should ask along the way: “What’s your budget?” and “Has it been approved?” If you feel uncomfortable asking any of these questions, go back to the first page of the book and start reading over again. Continue until you feel comfortable talking about money. If the client refuses to answer any of these questions, you have a problem.

If you haven’t been paid

And remember the most important thing: never back down when you owe money. Go and get yours. You have earned it, you have invested honestly, and it deserves fair compensation. Stop feeling embarrassed about money. It is neither charming nor “decent.” You are a professional designer, and professionals are paid.

Working with other people. How to set tasks

You can’t set yourself the goal of doing something that is just acceptable. Also, you cannot set a goal for yourself to work a lot on something. The goal is always to get it right. (Do not confuse the concepts of “working hard” and “doing the right thing!”)

About work and interaction with developers

Designers usually think that what they do is “hard” because it is very subjective, and what developers do is “easy” because there is a “right” answer. But I can assure you that there is as much (if not more) creativity in how a developer solves a problem than there is in a designer class.


There are no bad customers. Okay, maybe there are bad clients sometimes. But they are not the problem. For too long, designers have complained that clients don’t behave the way the designer wants them to. The problem is you, my dears (and I love you all). You ignored the aspects of work that you disliked, that you dislike to do, and those that you did not take into account at all. Maybe no one told you that this is part of your job. Well, now I said.

Source: awdee.ru

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