This past summer, I attended the HOW Design Conference and, of course, raided the conference bookstore. Of all of the great books I picked up, Shel Perkins’ Talent is Not Enough: Business Secrets for Designers has single-handedly become the best reference book on my bookshelf. Over the past 9 months, I have found myself returning to this book again and again.
With Talent, Perkins has essentially created an all-in-one business primer for every stage of a design professionals’ career. From choosing a design school, to freelancing, to working within an agency or studio, and to running a business, Perkins outlines the issues particular to each path. Considering that most design school programs gloss over the logistics of running a business or even dealing with clients, this book should probably be on every graduating senior’s booklist.
Of particular (and timely) interest, is the chapter regarding income taxes, but that is just one of the many topics covered. Perkins goes into great detail on everything from finding a job, to legal/contractual issues, to setting billable rates, and to hiring employees—all while keeping a clearly written tone that makes for an easy read. This is by far one of the best additions I have made to my design library, and I find myself wishing that it had been available to me as a high school student considering my future career in design.