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The Business of the Designer

Years ago, when I first started out as a designer, I had no idea I was also making the decision to be a business person. That‘s why I got into the arts, right? To avoid business! Who wants to think about managing budgets when you could be making ART. Personnel management? Heck no. I‘m here for the ART. I started out helping friends on small projects, so there was no budget to manage, no people to track - until there were. Suddenly there were numbers everywhere and people hanging around waiting for me to manage them. Suddenly all of the spreadsheets and the cost tracking and negotiation skills I learned in that one undergraduate business class I was required to take - well, suddenly it seemed so important. Managing the work/life balance is certainly one huge part of our job as PDs, but managing the work itself, the people we liaison with, the people we manage, the budgets we design around, the collaborators, bosses and underlings - it‘s all part of the work, and not a small part. I think half of the good work I do is working to become a better collaborator, which is what management is all about. Just a few months ago, I found myself gazing longingly at a copy of Harvard Business Review with a cover article about negotiation. I was in the midst of renegotiating the budget I was working with on an ambitious project, and thought DANG. I wanted some tips, quips and reassurance that my strategies were going to work out. So in case you‘ve felt the same, here‘s a few links to some articles that get just below the surface of the murky worlds of business - but reading past that might help with some of that art.

Harvard Business Review “What Great Managers Do“

And a book, Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal

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