An Atomic Moo Book Review!
I am not a graphic designer. However; Chud (Atomic Moo co-creator and my twin brother) is. Over the years Chud has collected an larger library of art and design books that I have only recently started to read. Which is weird, because I usually only read fantasy or science fiction novels. Seriously, it is very sad that I can only read a book if it has space ships blowing up or naked red Martian princesses in ’em, but something changed! These last couple of months I’ve been reading his collection, and now I’ll be posting all my muddled thoughts about them. Here we go!
Having now read What They Didn’t Teach You In Design School by Phil Cleaver (published How Books 2014) brought me to yet another realization that I have made some huge mistakes in my life. I should have gone into a creative field when I was a young man. If not graphic design, then certainly illustration… or anything else than what I did do. While reading this niffty little hard back, I kept imagining my current self some how going back in time and giving a 1999 version of myself this book and a bunch of advice. In my time travel fantasy I would appear in a flash of light wearing a silver cape (I am from the future) and blind my 1999 self with the powerful light of my iPhone 6 (it’s still from the future!) and command the attention of an confused young man obsessed with Star Wars and candy bars by saying, “Listen up Pork Chop! You’re going to art school!” Then I would also hand him a copy of Cleaver’s book. Yeah, I could probably just as well hand 1999 Trog a bunch of winning lotto numbers, and a sports almanac, but then fantasy he/me wouldn’t learn anything.
Anyways… What I hope 1999 me would get out this book is a deeper understanding of what it is to be in a professional creative’s career. What They Didn’t Teach You In Design School is like the Junior Woodchuck Guide Book of design books. I discussed the book with twin bro/Graphic Designer: Chud, and how it compared to his own start in graphic design, and he confirms that it covers a lot of areas universities, and art schools, leave out. Stuff like dealing with clients and co-workers, applying for the first internship or job, what it is like to be a junior designer, dealing with printers! It also contains useful stories from industry professionals about how they solved a particular problem or a unique design experience. The very book itself is an amazing example of quality design. There’s a beautiful uniformity to each page that clearly delivers the information and keeps the eye on the page. Also includes inspiring quotes and the ability to keep it in a coat pocket! Soon to, or recent, design grads should consider Cleavers book a necessary piece of armor in their battle for a satisfying career, because it lays down in clear terms a firm foundation of insightful knowledge absent at the university level. Hell, schools should just give graduating students this book along with their graphic design badges. Do graphic designers get badges? If not, they probably should. Badges just make jobs better.
Now at this point in my time travel fantasy, my future self is about to leave. It is 1999, and why the hell would anyone want to stay there, but past me is gonna have some questions:
“How awesome is the news Star Wars (Phantom Menace)?”
“It’s bad, kid. About as bad as Grandma dying, your girl friend breaking up with you, and finding out you were adopted all in the same hour. Heart breaking, really. Then Disney buys it.”
“And do they make it better?”
“No. Then it becomes like a corporation takes your dead grandma, puts her in a mini-skirt, and whores her out to morons drunk on PC culture. Then sometime later they chop her up, and force you to eat her.” (Which as I write this is the best way I’ve ever described Disney Star Wars. Disney Star Wars: Your dead hooker grandma chopped up and force fed back to you.)
“oh. Well, who’s the president?”
I rub my temples before answering, “Ehhhhh… Let’s not go there, but when it rains it pours.”
“Do I ever end getting married? Who’s my wife?”
“…Alyssa Milano,” I lie. Then I disappear back to the future.
If you read this review (I apologize) and you’re interested in getting your own copy of What They Didn’t Teach You In Design School, then go get a copy at Barnes & Nobles or order a copy online here!. Also, available on Nook!