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Don't Get a Job… Make a Job: How to Make it as a Creative Gradute (in the fields of Design, Fashion, Architecture, Advertising and more)

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Too often a design or architecture degree is seen as a means to an end (a job in an established practice). But imagine for one moment that there are no employers, no firms to send your resumé to, no interviews to be had—what would you do? How would you forge your own path after graduation? The current economic climate has seen many graduates chasing a finite number of posit Too often a design or architecture degree is seen as a means to an end (a job in an established practice). But imagine for one moment that there are no employers, no firms to send your resumé to, no interviews to be had—what would you do? How would you forge your own path after graduation? The current economic climate has seen many graduates chasing a finite number of positions. The most ingenious and driven designers have found weird and wonderful ways of making opportunities for themselves, often by applying their skills across the creative disciplines of art, design, architecture, and interiors. Knowing what you want from your design career and being able to adapt your strategy to suit is basic and vital—just like in the wild, designers need to evolve. The book celebrates the various strategies that students and graduates are taking to gain exposure, while also including interviews and inspirational advice from those who are now enjoying success as a result of their creative approach to employment.


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Too often a design or architecture degree is seen as a means to an end (a job in an established practice). But imagine for one moment that there are no employers, no firms to send your resumé to, no interviews to be had—what would you do? How would you forge your own path after graduation? The current economic climate has seen many graduates chasing a finite number of posit Too often a design or architecture degree is seen as a means to an end (a job in an established practice). But imagine for one moment that there are no employers, no firms to send your resumé to, no interviews to be had—what would you do? How would you forge your own path after graduation? The current economic climate has seen many graduates chasing a finite number of positions. The most ingenious and driven designers have found weird and wonderful ways of making opportunities for themselves, often by applying their skills across the creative disciplines of art, design, architecture, and interiors. Knowing what you want from your design career and being able to adapt your strategy to suit is basic and vital—just like in the wild, designers need to evolve. The book celebrates the various strategies that students and graduates are taking to gain exposure, while also including interviews and inspirational advice from those who are now enjoying success as a result of their creative approach to employment.

30 review for Don't Get a Job… Make a Job: How to Make it as a Creative Gradute (in the fields of Design, Fashion, Architecture, Advertising and more)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sojourner

    Wasn't as helpful as I wanted it to be.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bibliografik

    Don’t Get a Job…Make a Job is a collection of designers’ experiences of working for themselves immediately, or almost immediately after graduating or dropping out of college. Curated by Gem Barton, this book is structured to provide a multitude of different types of advice to aspiring design entrepreneurs. Sections are broken down into different categories of advice such as propaganda (self-promotion), going mobile (working outside of a studio), specialism vs. diversity (jack of all trades or ma Don’t Get a Job…Make a Job is a collection of designers’ experiences of working for themselves immediately, or almost immediately after graduating or dropping out of college. Curated by Gem Barton, this book is structured to provide a multitude of different types of advice to aspiring design entrepreneurs. Sections are broken down into different categories of advice such as propaganda (self-promotion), going mobile (working outside of a studio), specialism vs. diversity (jack of all trades or master of one), tough calls (making decisions), going it alone vs. teaming up (collaboration), and gusto (that extra oomph that’ll get you noticed and make you memorable). The content of this book is meant to be innovative and groundbreaking to show readers how the working world is being challenged and changed as new designers begin to work for themselves in order to achieve the job they want that does not exist. Although none of these tactics are to be stolen or copied, they are here to show readers the scope of how innovative one can be. When I first picked up this book a year ago while I was a senior in undergrad, I thought this book was going to change my life. I read it as soon as I could, and I fell in love with it. The book is not too long so it was a fast read, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the advice that was presented. The book is designed well with its three column grid, tight typographic hierarchy, and solid layout, making it an aesthetically enjoyable read. And, there’s a reasonable range of advice and number of designer profiles. But, as I reread this book post-graduation and while I’m beginning to freelance, I’ve come to realize that the advice is nothing new. It’s all stuff I’ve heard before, and reading this book only serves as a refresher. The advice in this book includes things like, “Put yourself out there, don’t run before you can walk, exploit your interests, and create positive change”. This is advice that I’ve heard throughout my education and from reading other books like, How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul, I Used to Be a Design Student, and Know Your Onions. Another flaw with this book is it primarily focuses on designers who lost their jobs during the recession of 2008 and in the economic downturn of 2012. Although it shows the reality of needing to be creative during tough economic times when jobs are sparse, it loses the notion of creating the job you want. The designers featured weren’t creating a job that has never existed in their fields before, but rather, they were creating jobs that existed, but not at that moment because jobs were scarce. Then it follows some different creative ways in which these designers made those jobs, like offering free architecture consulting on the street, or creating a mobile architecture studio in an ice-cream truck, or turning an architect’s resume and CV into a foldout poster. The book featured different tactics and not new, innovative careers that disrupted any markets. That leads to another issue with this book: half of the designers featured are architects (or define at least one of their careers as architecture). It’s understood that architects probably had one of the toughest outcomes during the recession, but that doesn’t mean that other creatives in other design fields didn’t have it rough as well. If there were to be a large focus on architects in this book, then that should have been stated in the description from the get-go, or the book could have solely focused on that field. It’s frustrating because there are only one or two examples of other fields such as graphic design, illustration, editorial, fashion design, and makers/industrial/furniture. It’s just not an accurate depiction of the design world. It was also a little difficult because almost every design profile wasn’t labelled as being a part of one design field, but rather, a part of a motley of them. Oddly enough, this was the best part of this book. It solidified and nailed the concept that one of the best ways to break free from the traditional realm of design work is the need of taking on different roles instead of being specialized in just one thing. Graphic designers should also be interactive designers and industrial designers. Architects should know how to build furniture and how to lay out a book. Fashion designers should also be consultants and pattern designers. There were no limits to what these designers could and should do in order to differentiate themselves from their competition. The book then ends with a manifesto about how design schools should educate their students and prepare them for the industry they are about to enter by consistently reevaluating the assigned projects, partnering with industry sponsors and real brands, and teaching critiquing etiquette. The manifesto also mentions that business courses are not necessary for designers to break out into entrepreneurs after graduation, because like the designers mentioned in the book, they didn’t need business classes to become successful entrepreneurs. Which is odd because designers should learn some type of basic business practice while still in school. Whether it be marketing, management, investing, etc. this knowledge expands their field. Whether or not students use that business experience to craft their own business does not matter because they can use that information in any job they pursue after graduation. The manifesto also ends with stating that schools should not focus on trying to emphasize the importance of striving for innovation because that is the best way to eliminate all prospects of students creating innovating things. I wholeheartedly agree with this point. As a student who went to one of these schools that promote the importance of innovation, I can say that when innovation is promoted more than usability and contextuality, then the project loses its value and significance. This is because the target audience is put second to the project, which inevitably, creates a project that is useless. I will rarely ever advise to never buy or read a book, because every book is valuable to someone, and just because I don’t enjoy a book does not mean someone else will. That being said, I do think Don’t Get a Job…Make a Job is a good book, especially for someone who is still in school and wants to read a primer on some good advice on working for oneself post-graduation. But, if you’ve graduated and are already working for yourself, or if you are enrolled in a program where you are proactive, then I think the information in this book will be redundant. I think the better option would be to go towards a book that is more catered to your field of design that can offer more accurate information about freelancing. Simply because freelancing, creating a studio, and building a reputation work differently according to each field of design. Although the principles may be the same, the tactics sure aren’t. Like I mentioned previously, the first time I read this book, I loved it. And I loved it up to the point where I reread it, so you never know, this might be the book that is perfect for you.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    3.5/5 Found myself inspired throughout! “Time is something that, if wasted, you can never win back, so I increasingly try to spend it wisely, productively, and happily.” “You have to know yourself really well in order to understand what is best for your well-being or desired state of mind” “As long as you are honest with yourself and believe in what you’re doing then you can find your career path” “You can’t count on money to encourage you to get up in the morning”

  4. 5 out of 5

    Moses

    A somewhat incohesive collection of interviews and viewpoints from studios and initiatives that operate within the mindset of "do your own thing." The writing and formatting of the book was unable to demonstrate the valuable lessons and perspective that's should be gleaned from these creative practitioners.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Vitória

    My expectations for this book were to learn and question possible paths to take in order to build a career in the creative field. As a recent graduate in graphic design, I hoped for an overview of the market of design and art in general, but the book mostly focused on the architecture field. Nevertheless, the professionals or "case studies" in the book were inspiring, providing valuable tips for an autonomous professional life in the arts. Still, many of them stated similar things, such as the i My expectations for this book were to learn and question possible paths to take in order to build a career in the creative field. As a recent graduate in graphic design, I hoped for an overview of the market of design and art in general, but the book mostly focused on the architecture field. Nevertheless, the professionals or "case studies" in the book were inspiring, providing valuable tips for an autonomous professional life in the arts. Still, many of them stated similar things, such as the importance of "doing what you love" or "being true to yourself". Although these clichés are partly vague and come from commonplace advice, they appear to be universal truths to creative people. Statements in this fashion are suited for people working in touch with their creativity. Some subjects could have been approached more deeply, such as the practicalities of the "hows" instead of so many personal anecdotes that are strictly personal and subjective. Altogether, the book is fairly insightful, eyeopening and stimulating for students and graduates. It describes a wide variety of experiences and the immense number of possibilities to create a fulfilling, multi-faceted career in the creative world. It demonstrates the important factors to take into consideration when making life-changing decisions, at the same time motivating the reader to reflect upon what is best for them, rather than to repeat successful steps of others. The author mentions that the book is not a "how to", but still I missed a bit more direction in some sections of the text. My final rating for Don't Get a Job… Make a Job: How to Make it as a Creative Graduate would lie in between 3.0 - 3.5 for the fact that it was at times too focused on extraneous information, at the same time that it was a smooth reading with interesting stories and ideas.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susie

    I picked up this little book in a quirky design store back in Dublin. It highlights case studies from around the world; along with photos of key projects and interviews with creative professionals. There were case studies that spoke to me more than others; in general I found that the book focused on architecture graduates more so then design, however there was still a similar take-away in terms of advice and inspiration. I would love to find a similar book that more prominently highlights graphi I picked up this little book in a quirky design store back in Dublin. It highlights case studies from around the world; along with photos of key projects and interviews with creative professionals. There were case studies that spoke to me more than others; in general I found that the book focused on architecture graduates more so then design, however there was still a similar take-away in terms of advice and inspiration. I would love to find a similar book that more prominently highlights graphic designers in the creative field.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Octavio

    El libro tiene varios ejemplo de emprendimiento, surgidos, como no, de la necesidad no estar donde nos quieren de no encontrar lo que uno busca de no tener lo que no se encuentra, necesidades pues que son madres dela creatividad. Casi todo los ejemplos en un escenario anglosajón (Estados unidos y Reino unido principalmente) pero que no es ajeno al escenario global de caracterización del trabajo y más aún del trabajo creativo. Para tomar los ejemplos y estrategias que funcionen en latitudes sudam El libro tiene varios ejemplo de emprendimiento, surgidos, como no, de la necesidad no estar donde nos quieren de no encontrar lo que uno busca de no tener lo que no se encuentra, necesidades pues que son madres dela creatividad. Casi todo los ejemplos en un escenario anglosajón (Estados unidos y Reino unido principalmente) pero que no es ajeno al escenario global de caracterización del trabajo y más aún del trabajo creativo. Para tomar los ejemplos y estrategias que funcionen en latitudes sudamericanas y desechar el resto.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Teo

    I still think it was great to have this book found after I quitted my corporate architect job after 5 years(2 months ago) to pursue my own agenda. So stories in this book really connect to me well, especially most of them came from architecture background including the writer herself. It is a book collected well articulated individual creative who decided to get out from the norm and be the master of their destiny.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Turbanlady

    Para emprendedores. Sin dudas. Son entrevistas de diferentes rubros, diferentes paises, diferentes maneras de comenzar - o hacer una salida progresiva de una corporación - hacia la vida freelancer o independiente. Fácil lectura, y muy inspirador ver tantas emprendimientos tomar curso por cuenta propia si tan sólo se organiza un buen plan a seguir y se tiene mucho empuje. En ningún momento dice que es fácil! Just in case you were wondering..

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nat

    I was hoping the jobs that people took would be a little more diverse. This book focuses almost completely on people with design, art and architecture degrees. A lot of the advice can be abstracted to other creative professions, but I would have liked to see more diversity in the people interviewed.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Frances Grant

    An inspiring handbook for an aspiring creative. However, a distinct under representation of successful female creatives. A narrative of success spun around young men with females only highlighted within collective organisations. Disappointing considering over 60% of creative students identify as female.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Martina Vrzalova

    A sweet little book with stories of creatives that have created an interesting job for themselves. It also offers advice and tips from the interviewed creatives.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Hardy

    good insights and strategies for designers trying to make it in the world of business and art/design.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    3.5*

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nis

    Really great advice for anyone trying to carve out a career. Its focused on the creative industry but a lot of the tips can be applied to anyone in any field, especially freelancers.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Angel Segura

    Really short interviews

  17. 4 out of 5

    Frida Borgstedt

    I think this book was inspiring to read and gave a lot of good advices. Not maybe so much on what to do, but more on how to think when heading into your future design career. I'm glad I read this book, though it really encourage to work harder and prepare you for what could be ahead of you. Although the only thing I didn't like is that again most of the examples of the people that succeeded were all men. I wished the author could worked a little harder on finding some success women as well. Or i I think this book was inspiring to read and gave a lot of good advices. Not maybe so much on what to do, but more on how to think when heading into your future design career. I'm glad I read this book, though it really encourage to work harder and prepare you for what could be ahead of you. Although the only thing I didn't like is that again most of the examples of the people that succeeded were all men. I wished the author could worked a little harder on finding some success women as well. Or is this just showcasing how bad the reality is?

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Baird

    An interesting collection of essays from successful creatives, showing you how they made their success. I'm currently re-reading this and bookmarking a lot as it is quite inspirational and though there is no one way to get the job you want, there are common paths and mindsets. Short and to the point, really enjoyed this collection of essays.

  19. 4 out of 5

    James

    The way the book is broken down the test cases work; however having sets of pages in large print and other in fine print and other colors makes this book hard to read through and pay attention to as it visually makes it hard to read the copy at several points in the book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rae

    This book solves lots of questions I had when I first left design school. Everything seems possible yet everything seems scary. I am very grateful to find some good advice on how to move forward.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bruno

  23. 4 out of 5

    Taam

  24. 4 out of 5

    Seth

  25. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paul Alex Osuch

  27. 5 out of 5

    Flyingbroom

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie Fischer

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hanju Lee

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