Remember that reading program from when you were a kid where they bribed you into reading books using Pizza Hut pizza? I do. I was a pizzaholic, and would do anything to get that fifth frickin’ star sticker on my pin so I could have pizza for dinner. My brother and I would stagger our reading so we could sometimes go out for pizza twice a week. Well it still exists! I can’t wait to have my own kids so I can con into reading too!
On a completely different note, an Amazon box showed up on my porch yesterday. In it were three books. One of them I’ve been told I need to have since college, the next one looked like it would be useful as well, but the third one is the reason I made my order in the first place. Sound familiar? This is about how every book order I make goes. I don’t order books all that often, so you won’t ever see a “Currently Enjoying” list in my sidebar but I thought I’d give you a rundown of each book and why I bought them.
- Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines – During my senior year Graphic Design classes at UCF, Chuck Abraham would have made this book his textbook if he could have. Most of what that last year of classes was about was going freelance. He taught us everything we needed to know about doing contract work. This book (currently on it’s 11th edition) is a must have for anyone doing freelance graphic design work. I thought I really didn’t need it since I planned to find full-time work, but even with the full-time job, I’ve got more on-the-side freelance work than I can keep up with. This book has everything I could ever need to know from copyright issues to pricing guidelines, contractual issues to project planning. I don’t know why I didn’t buy it sooner.
Business and Legal Forms for Graphic Designers – I bought this book for the same reasons that I bought the first. Freelance work. I made my own home-brew contracts and invoices when I first started taking on extra work, but was starting to wonder how sound they were legally. Since I really can’t afford a lawyers time to check them over, I thought this would be a great initial checkpoint. I think this review was the clincher for the purchase:
Our small graphic design firm had been relying on the legal forms and contracts from this book for about one year. Finally, we decided that perhaps we ought to visit with a lawyer to make sure we were doing it right…$560.00 later for an initial consultation, we realized that this $29.95 book was the best business investment we’d ever made! The lawyer confirmed that the contracts that we had been using were airtight and were great (he had a few other pointers…but, none worth $560.00).
- The Zen of CSS Design – …and this one was my present, the one I WANTED, my PreCioUs! I’ve been a fan of Dave Shea’s CSS Zen Garden for some time now. I never have created a design for it, but it definitely opened my ideas to the possibilities of XHTML/CSS webdesign. I’m no standards Nazi, but if you have ever doubted that CSS layouts could stand up to (or knock the socks off of)traditional table-based webdesign you should check out the garden…and buy the book. It’s chock full of tips, tricks, and designs from the likes of Shaun Inman, D. Keith Robinson, Jon Hicks, Ryan Sims, Mike Davidson…and over a hundred other influential designers and developers. Because of the examples, and new perspective on website design Fresh Styles for Web Designers used to be my favorite book. I’m surprised to find that this book has that same independent designer feel, and is sure to become my new current favorite.