I love me my design magazines. Some of you who aren't trying to aspire in the design profession may have heard of some of them: Print and Communication Arts come to mind as ones I see on the racks at places like Powell's and Art Media.
My favorites are two others that I am happy–nay, thrilled–to skip a meal if I have to to get the subscription money for. One is STEPinsidedesign (usually referred to as just STEP) and the other is HOW Magazine. Both are sumptuous magazines, both well-designed, and both usually inspirational.
As might be suggested by the publication names, they are not merely about design and the design world but also about design from the inside out (as a matter of fact, that's STEP's self-defined remit–and was thier tagline back when they were called Step By Step Design, a name that was changed because it sounds a little too much like a how-to book). Each month they challenge with what designers are doing, how they are doing it, and suggestions about how one could do it themselves.
Design happens on all levels...even those of the cash-starved job seeker.
This month's HOW is a themed issue, the Self-Promotion Design Annual. Self-Promo, it should be self-evident, is an important ingredient in the quest going from non-employed design professional to employed (this is an overt attempt to not portray freelancers (though I prefer the term independent) designers as 'unemployed', because that is a legitimate career path as well). It involves a whole lot of things, from production of promotional material to strategies for publicity to strategies for keeping one's attitude up over what may become months of trying to no obvious result.
So far, I've seen a lot of ups and downs, and come close to the prize only to have it evaporate seemingly like mist on the air.
This month's issue has a lot to offer in the way of insipriation: page after page of competition entries (it is a design annual, after all), and while, of course, not everyone can be the winner, all of these are quite remarkably stellar. A lot of ideas and inspiration there. There's sage advice from contributing writers about pitching oneself, writing proposals, and the most exciting one to me was the article by Jeff Domke.
Jeff's article, titled "How to Land Your Dream Job", is a step-by-step map to what to pay attention to and develop that got him to where he wanted to be–employed in a design firm. After graduating from design school, it took him 14 months to land that job...and he won an award in HOW's 2005 Self-Promotion Design Awards. He has a lot suggestions that even a modest talent as myself can use, and a positive attitude that shows through in his writing.
A good day for me is always when my copy of HOW or STEP arrives in the mail, you see.
Oh, and BTW, HOW publishing produces a range of excellent design books, a few of which are on my shelf right now, including a certain tome by a respected and well known local logo designer. You should check it out.
And get yourself a magazine subscription, if you can. Links to STEP and HOW can be found back up this article.
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