On Not Writing and Writing a Logo Design Book
It’s no secret I enjoy writing on my website as well as sharing all I know with various tips and resources.
There are a fair few articles tucked away within my blog–I like to think have some pretty cool and useful things to share: templates to download, logo process articles, free fonts and my own thoughts and ramblings–and it would be safe to assume enough to write a small book.
Given that I have only been seriously freelancing since around January 2010, it was quite a shock when in the early part of 2010 and within a four month period I was approached by three publishers to author a book on logo design.
imjustcreative [now refered to as ijc]–my website, portfolio, blog and shop front–has been up for about three years or so. The very early days comprised of a methodical plan to build the freelance me up; ideally using my skills gained in advertising and marketing to establish a reasonable reputation and platform from which to hook in clients.
Having a fair number of years of commercial experience behind me is no doubt useful when you are considering the switch to freelancing. When you make that switch it can often mean having to start all over: you are no-one, you have no portfolio and no reputation to speak of. You have to dig-in and get dirty.
To be approached by three publishers was a monumental boost to me; it clearly signalled that I had managed to succeed in some areas of the marketing of ijc. What really blew my mind however was being approached by two publishers within 24 hours of each other.
It’s all to easy to yourself to get over absorbed with the incredible intensity of feelings and thoughts that something like this imparts on you. It was staggering. I proceeded to follow up with the first two, but having two offers so close to each was incredibly confusing, really didn’t know which way to turn at this point. All I could do was talk with both publishers to find out the exactly what all this would entail and where it would leave me in terms of time and finances.
I had only just officially started freelancing, so building up a client base was paramount to me as well as servicing existing and newly scheduled clients. I certainly wasn’t able to rely on client work at this point neither did I have any savings to fall back on.
Writing a book is a huge undertaking, some people manage to keep working their full-time job as well as write a book in their spare time. I am not that person.
There was no way on earth I could manage to keep ijc running at the usual intensity as well as researching and writing a book. This was the onset of a thick blanket of fog riding over me.
What to do?
Having a book under your belt is no doubt a huge boon, it signals that you are an authority on a that subject and will propel you further out than you would otherwise be used to; not to mention just the overall good feeling of confidence and motivational boost having authored a book.
ijc was still being nurtured and I felt very cautious about doing anything that would disrupt the rhythm and flow I had so far managed to build up. I didn’t have the luxury of a solid client list, repeat clients or even a sense of believing in myself at this point.
So much to do and so much still to prove.
The harsh reality was that if I took a book on I would have to dial down ijc operations whilst focusing on the book for a period of 4–6 months. Firmly believing that taking a book on would lead to bad times; I still had conflicting thoughts about it.
I really didn’t know what to do.
Sleepless nights due to the continual round of thoughts of turning down such a amazing opportunity, it made my skin crawl and I felt boxed in. Logically it felt both wrong and right, emotionally it also felt both wrong and right. This was all so new to me, nothing had prepared me for having to make a seemingly no win decision.
The jealously factor reared it’s ugly head; if I turned it down then another designer would be asked and that royaly sucked. I wanted to write this book, I really did.
I thoroughly enjoy writing, it feels natural and I have no problem with finding stuff to write, it all seems to flow out without having to even think about it. When I sit down to write a post I usually only have a rough idea on the subject matter; 30mins later there will be a decent size post and I have no real idea how it all materialised.
ijc had to succeed, there was no room to doubt otherwise.
Over a period of weeks I continued talks with the publishers. The first decision was to decide which publisher to continue talking to. That choice allowed me to focus on the one publisher and we discussed options and ideas over a period of weeks.
At his point I started the book proposal process–even though you might be approached to write a book you otherwise previously had no intention of writing, you still have to sell their idea back to them–as I felt this would give me enough insight into what it would require from me on a emotional and physical level.
After three weeks of working on the proposal and keeping ijc ticking over, I was already super stressed. This was the insight I needed to make a more informed decision.
As hard as it was, I decided to pass up this amazing opportunity to author a book on logo design and focus on building up ijc.
This decision was not just based on being a super stressed Eric, the finances was a determining deal closer. As David Airey has talked about, a book like this is not going to make you a millionaire. Financial reward is negligible, what is more beneficial is having your name linked to a book and this ideally brings in more prestigious clients etc.
Knowing that I could not work both ijc and writing a book, I then had to look at how I would support myself for the duration of the book. The retainer on offer would have lasted just a few months after the mortgage, bills, tax were deducted. It certainly was no where near enough to live on for the duration and would absolutely mean I would also have to take on client work. This was not a situation I wanted to get into, ijc is more than a full-time job, no way I would be able to cope with a book as well.
Just to put stuff into perspective, I suffered a breakdown 5 years ago and my whole life was turned upside-down and inside-out. I had previously worked stupid hours usually for 6-7 days a week in a stressful environment.
With ijc, I absolutely had to manage my health. I knew that keeping ijc ticking over as well as writing a book would be a step to far, avoiding further health problems becomes mandatory at this point in my life. It has taken nearly five years to feel like I am starting to get back on track, I am in no rush to derail myself again through over-work.
To ensure I had made the right decision, I simply made a positive and negative list and the result reassured me that passing the book up was the best thing for me at this time. I was now content with the decision I had made.
Incidentally, the third book offer came through a few months later which meant I was able to make the necessary decision quickly. Being approached to write a book, even when you know you are probably one of many, still gives you motivational boost.
My plan at this time was to keep the idea of writing a book in mind for a time when I would be able to cope with the financial and emotional demands needed.
Now a year on and I am getting the book bug.
I still don’t fancy the idea of taking on such a huge commitment and that is mostly out of my control in terms of deadlines and such like. I have a nice life-style that has taken a lot of time and effort to evolve; in no rush to mess that up.
The answer: self publish and write a book on logo design that I can do in my own time whilst making the content and experience all mine. No publisher restraints, no unexpected deadline changes and no pressure or anxiety of feeling out-of-control.
This is my project for the year with a flexible dead-line of October to have the content all thrashed out.
I have a number of ideas for content and nothing has been hard-coded as yet. What I can say is that it will not be a gallery of logo designs, there are plenty of books dedicated to this cause.
I will however showcase a select range of logos from logo designers with applicable text outlining aspects of the logo design process, it’s important to me that any logo shown in the book is shown in context. One of the things that lets logo inspiration books down would be the lack of context therefore not providing the context some logo designs need to be fully appreciated.
The style of logo designs I will be seeking to showcase in the book will typically fall close to a style of design close to me.
Other chapters will include: typography in logo design, aspects of freelancing, project management of a logo project, financials, general logo design tips and check-lists, various how-to’s, client interaction, thoughts on how to promote and market your self etc. It will hopefully be quite rounded, covering or touching on most parts of a logo project.
I have not quite decided on the format of the book, limit it to digital format or actually print it much in the way iheartlogos have done. My preference would be to print it, I am not a big fan of reading books in ebook format, I much prefer holding and reading a traditional book. The route I will eventually go will depend on certain financial details, so both options are on the cards at this time.
It is very early days, but the plan has been set in motion and I am very much looking forward to the project.
To close, I am looking for your input. If you have any thoughts or suggestions about what a logo design book should contain then please do let me know. With any book, the idea is to write something that people will hopefuly want to read, so the more I can incoporate into based on general feedback, the better for everyone.
Please do leave your thoughts below or email me direct.
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