Whether you are a seasoned design pro or relatively fresh out of design school, we’ve all asked ourselves the same questions at one time or another: How should I price my work? How do I get better clients, etc.? After all, there’s no instruction manual for graphic designers. Actually, that’s not true. There is a manual, and it’s not only “brutally honest,” it’s beautifully made, too.
Written by designer-turned-consultant Emily Cohen and designed by Once-Future Office, “Brutally Honest: No-Bullshit Business Strategies to Evolve Your Creative Business” instantly grabs your attention with its cover, making it look like no other business book out there.
First, it’s printed on finger-pleasing 120 lb. Mohawk Superfine Cover Ultrawhite with Matte Scuff-resistant film lamination. Its color palette is Black and White, with only a narrow vertical stripe of color – an eye-catching rainbow gradient – on the edge. Rubbing an eager finger over the title reveals that some words are raised using the Scodix digital enhancement process. [PRO members: Discover how this all works – and how you can put it to work for you – in this exclusive PRO Guide to Scodix!]
The remarkable job Brilliant Graphics did in the production of this cover didn’t stop there. It also includes two 4-2/3” short folds – one at the front and one at the back. Rather than the usual hustle you’d expect to find on the front flap, the design team featured Emily’s “Creative Business Manifesto” in White on a color gradient background. This includes simple tips like “Round off your prices,” all in a place where you can easily find and revisit them.
“Brutally Honest” is also ready for some brutally intense use thanks to its Smyth-sewn binding – an excellent choice for books that are meant to be opened and closed again and again, while also laying open flat for easy consultation. In this case, the signatures were bound together using Smyth sewing and then PUR bound into the cover. [PRO members: For more on the pros and cons of this type of binding, don’t forget to check out our PRO Guide to Smyth Binding.]
Now we get to the meat of this book, and again it’s clear that its designers know their audience – other designers. While there’s ample text in its 276 pages (including eye-opening case studies), it’s not all jammed together like your typical armchair MBA tome. They’re not afraid to devote a whole page to a single sentence if that sentence is deemed important – a direct response, no doubt, to all those clients who view white space as a waste of paper.
Not that there’s much actual white space here, exactly. Offset printed 12 color (CMYK + 8 PMS colors), nearly every page consists of a color-gradient background with 2 or 3 contrasting colors added for text. The 80 lb. Mohawk Superfine Ultrawhite Eggshell Text paper on which these pages are printed goes a long way toward making the design feel as slick as it looks.
I think at this point I have a confession to make. This book may be one of the most challenging pieces I’ve ever featured here. That’s because every time I want to focus on a printing or design detail, a nugget of information inside catches my eye and I find myself nodding my head in agreement. It’s the same feeling I experienced when its author, Emily Cohen, presented our webinar “‘Brutally Honest’ Secrets to Getting Paid What You’re Worth.” [PRO members – you guessed it – watch the replay right here!]
(Note: While “Brutally Honest” is hard to find in print these days, you can order the ebook here.)
As I said earlier, Smyth-sewn binding was a great choice for a book meant to be consulted over and over again. But there are so many different binding options to bring your next book, catalog or brochure to life. Discover the 12 most popular ones – along with their pros, cons and relative pricing – in our free Binding Cheat Sheet. Download yours now!