5 Books For Freelance Designers

You know those people you admire and aspire to be like? You follow their blogs, instagrams and twitter accounts to gleaning every bit of info you can from them hoping to tap into even a tiny piece of their talent and work ethic. In an effort to also build community and open the door to design to you that might be a few steps behind me on your own creative journeys I wanted to share some of the resources that I'm using right now. We don't have all the time in the world to research indefinitely and finding a list like this would have been very helpful early on. 

These books have been incredibly helpful. Some are for reading cover to cover, others are handy guides for those random questions that come up along the way. They're not listed in any particular order but if you're shopping for a designer friend items 4 & 5 would be my top choices.

1. The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier

This is a quick read and a great beginning overview of what branding is and how it ties to your business. It has short abbreviated overviews that will help if you're DIYing your brand identity or just getting started with your business. And there's a glossary of terms because those of us in branding can move a bit quick and drop words/terms that you might not know just yet. 

2. Start With Why by Simon Sinek

I have just barely started this book but from what I've heard it's been the key for a lot of designers I admire in cracking the code to their brand message. I'm excited to dive into this book and really figure out what my 'why' is to narrow down what I offer to my clients.

3. The Freelancer's Bible by Sara Horowitz

As freelancer's there never seems to be an end to the questions. Right? Questions like what do I do after I get a client? How do I calculate the right price for my services? What about health insurance? Then we google these questions and get sucked into a rabbit hole of blog posts by lots of people in different places with various career backgrounds. My searches tend to pull results for SAM's (stay at home moms), copy writers and family/craft bloggers. Us designers just don't seem to share a whole lot in the behind the scenes realm of design. That's where this book comes in. It's written by an expert of the freelancing world that leans towards designers, I think. Anyway, it's been quite helpful for those little questions so I can get answers that I can trust.

4. HTML & CSS by Jon Duckett

I am a graphic designer with most of my experience in print design. So when I started diving into the behind the scenes of my websites the code looked like a foreign language. And that's a topic I've never been too great at retaining. This book is perfect for learning just enough code to DIY a few things and get into some trouble ;). Also, as someone who is a visual learner and can't stand the site of ugly design, this book is nice to look at. Topics and bits of code are layed out in pleasant graphics to making the learning pretty. 

5. Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines

This book is amazing!! I've barely tapped into it's knowledge and it's already paid for itself. Quite literally. How? Because inside is all the nitty gritty info that we wish we could get the major designers to spill the beans about. For example theirs a section that breaks down the average (correct) pricing for various design services. And not the averages based on what everyone seems to be pricing but the prices that we should actually be charging. There's also line by line contract examples and notes on what should be included and why. 

What books have you found helpful as a freelancer or small business owner? I'm always on the hunt for more.

Looking for more tips on freelancing? Check out other posts from this series below.