“Talent is Not Enough: Business Secrets for Designers, Second Edition” Book Review

Book Review

“Talent is Not Enough: Business Secrets for Designers, Second Edition.” (New Riders, 2010)

by Shel Perkins


It takes more than talent to be a successful graphic designer, insists author Shel Perkins in this book that details the often forgotten side of the profession—the “internal, operational issues” that can turn artistic success into business success.

In a clear, surprisingly readable style, the author organizes topics in the order in which he figures they would arise in the course of a designer’s career. Each chapter builds on the previous one, but you can also dive in and read a chapter on its own as an excellent quick reference.

Beginners in the field as well as seasoned professionals—from independent design contractors to small and large design firms—all will find useful encyclopedic information presented in up-to-date detail. Mr. Perkins covers forms of business organization, contracts, legal issues, taxes, rates, project management, bookkeeping, and cash flow management as well as how to determine profit and loss and much more. Helpful charts and diagrams explain some of the more technical concepts. It’s not surprising that this book has been used as a text book in some college design programs. It’s like having an expert advisor sit down and explain it all to you. The only quibble I can find with the book in print form is its tiny typeface.

I highly recommend “Talent is Not Enough” to graphic designers at all stages of their careers. It’s an eye-opening, in-depth look at what it really takes to succeed in the business side of graphic design. I’m going to add this book to my personal library.

Reviewed by Karen Jewell-Kett.


Karen is is listed in the CDPUG Services Directory and also the Manager of the CDPUG Services Directory.


Spike Radway

About Spike Radway

Spike Radway is a CDPUG founder from when the organization was conceived back in 1987. His current and long-standing position is the Director of Programming. Spike is the owner of Team Spike Consulting, LLC, a Macintosh Consulting and Support business founded in 1991.

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