Design is a job

A brief book packed with knowledge about the business side of design

Written by Mike Monteiro

Mike Monteiro

Mike Monteiro is co-founder of <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" title="Mule Design">Mule Design</a>, an interactive design studio. He is one of the most honest designers out there. In 2011 he gave the talk below, called Fuck You, Pay Me, which may have inspired this book. He co-hosts <a href="" title="Let's Make Mistakes podcast" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Let's Make Mistakes</a>, a weekly podcast about design.

Also, Mike swears a lot.


About the book

The inspiration for this book probably came from the talk above. Designers don’t like the business side of design, but it has to be done. It’s hard not to make the mistakes everyone else has made before you. You could ask all your peers how they’ve handled and are handling the business side of things, or you could buy this book. Mike discusses getting, keeping and firing clients, hiring a lawyer, working with contracts, getting paid: pretty much all the essentials to running a successful design business are covered.


While he does that he swears, for he is Mike Monteiro.

Design Is A Job



The book has, like all books from A Book Apart, been designed and typeset by Jason Santa Maria, A Book Apart’s creative director. It’s typeset in Yoga by Xavier Dupre and Jason has recently refurbished the books.

Pages from Design Is A Job

A short review

In the summer of 2012 I started doing some freelance work on the side. I spoke to some people I knew who did freelance creative work, about the things you should keep in mind about the business side of things.

Then I stumbled upon this book by Mike Monteiro. It was published by A Book Apart, the publishing company of A List Apart, which is the best blog about the web you will find. The series A Book Apart is publishing is called ‘brief books for people who make websites’ and it is just that.


“The business side of design is a boring subject, but Mike Monteiro managed to keep it interesting.”


The books are small and well designed. The writers they’re publishing are all great at what they do, experts in their field of work. Because the books are so small, they’re packed with everything you need to know and nothing more. They never dwell on too long.

As is the case with Design Is A Job. The business side of design is a boring subject, but Mike Monteiro managed to keep it interesting at all times. He tells you about contracts, getting paid for your work, hiring a lawyer and handling clients. All things that seem easy and straight-forward, but are really the pitfalls of running your own business.

A must-read if you’re planning on making money with your design work and have to get that money from clients yourself.