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How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer

Narrated by: Nicole Vilencia
Length: 6 hrs and 58 mins
Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Arts
4 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Editor reviews

President of the design division of Sterling Brands and the American Institute of Graphic Arts, contributing editor at Print Magazine, and noted writer, Debbie Millman wrangles 19 of the best designing minds into one probing and insightful book. How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer is drawn from interviews with luminaries and is based around the essential questions, "How do you think? How do you connect to others? What are your special skills?" Pleasingly performed by Nicole Vilencia, Millman’s audiobook includes interviews with sages such as Stefan Sagmeister, Milton Glaser, and Paula Scher.

Summary

Revealing, intimate interviews with 19 giants of graphic design

Take a peek inside the heads of some of the world's greatest living graphic designers. How do they think, how do they connect to others, what special skills do they have? In honest and revealing interviews, nineteen designers, including Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Beirut, David Carson, and Milton Glaser, share their approaches, processes, opinions, and thoughts about their work with noted brand designer Debbie Millman. The internet radio talk host of Design Matters, Millman persuades the greatest graphic designers of our time to speak frankly and openly about their work. How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer offers a rare opportunity to observe and understand the giants of the industry.

  • Designers include Milton Glaser, Stefan Sagmeister, Chip Kidd, many more
  • Probing questions from a top interviewer and branding executive
  • Unique, compelling insights and inspirations
©2007 Debbie Millman (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"A delightful opportunity to eavesdrop on some of the most curious and creative minds of our time." (Malcolm Gladwell, author, The Tipping Point and Blink)
"A journey to discover the motivations, ambitions and frustrations of successful designers working hard in a volatile profession." ( Communication Arts)
"Anyone who struggles daily to create great work will be inspired and encouraged by these intimate glimpses into remarkable minds." (Joyce Rutter Kaye, Editor-in-Chief, Print magazine)

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    5 out of 5 stars

Ignore the title and listen to the most important book on Graphic Design ever written!

Do yourself a favor and ignore the title! As is said in the introduction, it’s not a ‘how to manual’ or some kind ‘process’, it’s actually some great interviews with graphic designers like Stefan Sagmeister, Peter Saville & Paula Scher (to name but three), who give beautifully honest interviews that will make you realize that even the best are insecure / sometimes deliver work they’re unhappy with; which was a huge relief to read!

It also has to be said that Nicole Vilencia’s performance brings life to the book like none I’ve heard before it. The way she channels the designers is masterful & establishes the baseline I will hold all other listens to in the future!

For those who’ve ever had self doubt about themselves or their designs, this is the book you need to put those worries aside and focus on doing what you love!

1 person found this helpful

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Good interviews spoiled by a bad narration style.

I've followed Debbie Millman for a lot of years throughout my career and her insights are extremely valuable. But considering this book is about interviews between Debbie and different designers, wouldn't it have made more sense for Debbie to be speaking herself on this book? When there is only one narrator in an interview like performance. It makes it hard to follow and differentiate who is saying what. Although the narrator was clear speaking, by only having herself there, it created too much confusion to give these interviews justice.

If you have the choice of buying a physical book or downloading the audio book. Avoid the audiobook at all costs.

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Great insights

Great insights into the minds of great designers.Deep, meaningful conversations. Fun and educational at the same time.

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Motivational Insight

Now on my third, consecutive study of this insightful gaze into the minds of the 21st Century's commercial, artisan masters.

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  • Gregory Holder
  • 18-02-16

Pretentious

Good nuggets but some of the designers are so pretentious. The reader accentuates this by trying to make the interviewees sound smarter than they are.

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  • Joseph R. Compton
  • 14-05-15

Not what I expected but

This wasn't quite what I expected based on the title but I did find it enjoyable, listening to the interviews of the various designers how they got their starts and their individual perspectives. I rated this 3 stars because I was expecting something after those to kind of summarize for the reader/listener to be able to apply the learnings from these interviews to their own personal approach.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Mommie
  • 01-08-14

Because it is an interview, it is hard to follow!

If you could sum up How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer in three words, what would they be?

It is written in an interview style, so the going back and forth is very difficult to follow if there is not a change in voice. There should have been one voice of the female interviewer and a different voice for a female interviewee voice and/or a male interviewee voice.

That aside, it was very insightful and interesting.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Aika
  • 26-06-19

Reminded me why I love design.

Such an easy listen. Loved it! Who would think listening to the greats talk about design and how they process design problems would be such a thrill. Packed with gems for design and life. Thank you Debbie M. and Nicole V.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tony E.
  • 28-04-15

Inside the Mind of Genius

What did you love best about How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer?

As someone who is currently taking graphic design in school, there are many aspects of the interviews that I can relate with. With some of the stories, I see that I am going in the right direction. I also see there is much I have left to learn. The interviews are absolutely fascinating.

What did you like best about this story?

To hear graphic designers in their own words is very engaging.

Which scene was your favorite?

I don't know if there is a favorite scene - these are interviews. I did like the interview with Oberman and Siegler a lot.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I didn't really laugh or cry although there are moments of silent chuckles that we always have in real life. I was fascinated though with every word.

Any additional comments?

Be forewarned: This is not a how to book on what to do in order to think like those who have been successful in the graphic design world. This is a book of interviews that reveals how they think.
The only think that would make this audiobook better would be a pdf with pictures of sample work from each artist. I have seen another book do this with an audiobook and it would be good. Of course, this is my first foray into the history of graphic design so these names would probably be more familiar with those in the field. I plan on listening to this book again in front of a computer so I can look at the artist's work while listening and get an appreciation of what they have done and maybe a little insight into the why.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Buddy G
  • 16-04-15

Good advice from the usual suspects.

Graphic design discussion and criticism seems to flow from the same old crowd. While the advice isn't bad, it's redundant.

My problem with most graphic design "greats" are their speaking in illusions. They high high brow but say little.

While not a bad read, it's not a great one.

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  • Kate
  • 06-12-13

facinating glimpse into great minds

Any additional comments?

The title feels misleading (she clears that up in the first chapter) but is more a glimpse into the minds of 20 well-known names in the world of design... Milton Glaser, Peter Saville, Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Bierut, Neville Brody to name a few.

Inspiring and interesting.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chris Sukovich
  • 15-04-20

A Long Podcast...

Debbie Millman is one of the greatest interviewers, especially in the field of graphic design. This book is formatted as a series of interviews with high-profile designers, similar to how her podcast Design Matters works. Unfortunately, this is not narrated by Debbie and it is really confusing to hear one person read for both interviewer and interviewee (especially while butchering the names of well-known designers). This one would be better on paperback.

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  • Lindsay Reynolds
  • 12-01-17

Disappointed in the audio performance.

This book is a classic for graphic designers and a great one to own in physical form. The audio version of this was disappointing. Sometimes it was difficult to differentiate between Millman's dialogue and the interviewees. It could have used more contrast between the two participants. I don't understand the decision to use only one narrator, who has no real differentiating tones between everyone. All the different interviewees answers start to blend together. I also had to play this entire thing on 1.25 speed because she read. So. Slowly.

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  • Curious Feathers
  • 20-05-16

Good advice but disappointing

Overall this book had some great advice to share with listeners. However, the narrative was highly redundant thus leading to a cumbersome dialog. This copy would have done better if the text was shorter for the interview narrative carried throughout the text.