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Updated by Designers Books on Oct 11, 2019
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The Best Books for Freelance Designers

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The Designer's Guide to Freelancing

Ask any new freelance designer what their biggest worry is, and right after nuclear war they'll tell you it's finding clients, and it’s no small wonder. Taking financial responsibility for your life is a hell of a thing to do. With so much at stake who wouldn't be more than a little nervous.

The Designer’s Guide to Freelancing will help you find your feet before it's too late. The freelance life can be a great one, so get a head start.

Start Your Freelance Career

A transparent guide on everything you need to know about starting and growing your own freelance business. Learn how to name your business, price your freelance services, find your first clients, build a steady income, and much more. Included with every copy of the guide are essential resource documents that are a must have!

Download a free chapter sample

The Freelancer's Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams - On Your Terms: Sara Horowitz,...

"We live in a gig economy today and there's no better guide to making your way in that world than The Freelancer's Bible.

How To Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul

Designers are quick to tell us about their sources of inspiration, but they are much less willing to reveal such critical matters as how to find work, how much they charge, and what to do when a client rejects three weeks of work and refuses to pay the bill.

Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business

This book will teach all types of creatives illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, animators, and more how to build a successful business doing what they love.

Freelancing pros Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho explain everything from creating a standout portfolio to navigating the legal issues of starting a business.

Work for Money, Design for Love: Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Starting and Running a Successf...

How do I find new clients? How much should I charge for my design work? When should I say no to a client? How do I handle difficult clients? What should I be sure to include in my contracts?

Unlike other dry business books, this refreshing, straightforward guide from Logo Design Love author and international designer David Airey answers the questions all designers have when first starting out on their own. In fact, the book was inspired by the many questions David receives every day from the more than 600,000 designers who visit his three blogs (Logo Design Love, Identity Designed, and each month.

100 Habits of Successful Freelance Designers: Insider Secrets for Working Smart & Staying Creative: Steve Gordon Jr.:...

Steve Gordon Jr. has been a professional graphic designer for the better part of a decade. He's run the full range of the career path with experience from Fortune 1000 in-house design at internationally recognized Fortune 1000 companies, agency and studio work to now working as an independent designer and creative consultant.

Design/Portfolio: Self promotion at its best

Featuring a curated collection of approximately 300 exquisite designs, along with essays from designers in the field about the essence and importance of a good portfolio design, Design/Portfolio contains mini-workshops that dissect several featured projects and highlight the effectiveness of exceptional design treatments from around the world. Designers will discover the underlying details that make each design so special.


The Designer's Guide to Proposals

The Designer's Guide to Proposals

It took me years to realise that writing a convincing proposal is both achievable and repeatable. But my real "Aha" moment came after I realised I could sell a client before even getting to the proposal. The proposal became a link in the chain.

Download your free sample chapter and worksheet

Design Is a Job

In my Notable Books of 2011 list, I mentioned A Book Apart, a new publishing company focused on creating short, useful books on designing websites. The latest volume is by Mike Monteiro, the San Francisco-based designer-slash-Twitter personality, which actually goes far beyond the web-design realm, and serves as an excellent primer for running a design business, or, I'd argue, any type of creative business.

How to Create a Portfolio and Get Hired

Nonfiction, Graphic Design Suggested Retail Price: $29.95 From the Publisher. This book shows those embarking on an illustration or graphic design career how best to put together an effective, professional portfolio. It discusses what to include and how to organize and display the work, and also advises on presentation techniques and self-promotion.

A Book Apart, Sass for Web Designers

Sass for Web Designers has a new look and feel! Learn more about paperback design and format updates. Let's face it: CSS is hard. Our stylesheets are more complex than they used to be, and we're bending the spec to do as much as it can. Can Sass help?

The Design Method

"The book is dense, intelligent, and bravely opinionated. When designers are given nothing but frosting and pretty fluff, it is refreshing to see a book that challenges perceptions and informs us." -SEAN ADAMS, PARTNER, ADAMSMORIOKA "This book is for every designer on the planet.

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities

David Airey, a graphic designer from Northern Ireland, has been intrigued about brand identity since the 1990s, when he enrolled on his first graphic design course. Having honed his skills working in the UK and the United States, he then made a conscious choice to specialize in logo design.Self-employed since 2005, David has amassed an impressive global client list, including Yellow Pages (Canada), Giacom (England), and Berthier Associates (Japan).

Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines: Graphic Artist's Guild: 9780932102164:

For years, the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing and Ethical Guidelines has been the industry bible for graphic designers and illustrators. This book contains information, listings and pricing information based on surveys of working designers. It addresses legal rights and issues such as how copyright laws affect the income and work of graphic artists.

Meggs' History of Graphic Design, with Interactive Resource Center Access Card

Meggs’ History of Graphic Design reveals a saga of creative innovators, breakthrough technologies, and important developments responsible for paving the historic paths that define the graphic design experience. In addition to classic topics such as the invention of writing and alphabets, the origins of printing and typography, and postmodern design, this book presents new information on current trends and technologies sweeping the graphic design landscape—such as the web, multimedia, interactive design, and private presses, thus adding new layers of depth to an already rich resource.

Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines: Graphic Artist's Guild: 9780932102164:

Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines, 14th Edition is an indispensable resource for people who create graphic art and those who buy it.


Freelance, and Business, and Stuff: A Guide for Creatives

Freelance, and Business, and Stuff: A Guide for Creatives

*About the Book: *
How to start your own business, grow your client base, and promote yourself without selling out or starving. This no faff, no fluff guide is peppered with applicable advice (things we learned from starting our own business), unasked-for humor, and worksheets (homework, gasp!) to help you just get started already. Because raw talent and good ideas aren’t enough. And because you can do this. Really. By Amy Hood and Jen Hood, co-founders of Hoodzpah (a branding studio that has worked with 20th Century Fox, Airbnb, Facebook, Makers Mark and more), Odds & Sods (a goods line), and Connecting Things (a creative meetup). For reader reviews and to grab a copy:

*Reader Reviews: *

“Finished the #FABAS book by @hoodzpahdesign and I’m so glad I got my hands on one of these. If you haven’t read it and want to start monetizing your creative work, this should be one of your go-to’s!” – Jo Ung

“I can’t even explain how much more organized I feel right now. I’m going to make hella templates after I’m done with these worksheets in the book haha.” – Sanchez Design

“This book is literally the best thing I’ve bought this year 🙌🏻 I can’t recommend enough!!” – Sarah Jamieson

“I’ve already read most of the digital copy of this book and it’s FILLED with so much important information that’s easy to overlook when you’re starting your business. I’ve taken a slight break from taking design clients (but still creating work and developing my portfolio), that’s mostly because I’ve been dedicating most of my time to reading and learning as much as I possibly can about the boring (but very necessary) side of owning a business, haha. This book makes it a lot less boring! Super recommend!” – Samantha Perry

“Halfway through and it’s something I wish I had 5 years ago…pure gold.” – Scotty Russell, Perspective Collective