Passion, Pantones and persnickity clients: Graphic Designers Surveyed reveals all

Graphic Designers Surveyed books
Graphic Designers Surveyed – published by Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright’s GraphicDesign& – is a quiet masterpiece of information design
(Image credit: press)

Graphic designers love looking at a chart and graphic designers love having an opinion. Bring these two facts together and you have this beautifully presented, self-generated industry survey, published by Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright’s small but perfectly formed press, GraphicDesign&.

Roberts, Wright and Jessie Price worked with information designer Stefanie Posavec and social scientist Nikandre Kopcke to sift through a mammoth 1,988 responses to their 2015 industry survey. The results are both stylish and informative, shot through with humour (‘have you been asked to make it bigger?’ – 89.7 per cent said yes) and irreverence (the favourite Pantone colours question also unleashed a torrent of sarcastic answers), while also uncovering far more insidious attitudes, from both within and without the industry.

The elephant in the bar chart is gender, and the questions lay bare some home truths about what is still an industry with a very masculine perception, despite being skewed fairly equally between the sexes. Women designers are marginally better educated than their male counterparts yet are still paid less and believe that it’s not what you do, but who you know, that can help your career. Even given the overwhelmingly left-leaning bias of the dataset, this is sadly unsurprising, and shows that even this most creative, passionate and progressive of industries still has some way to go.

The book also reveals transatlantic differences – American designers work longer hours, earn more money and are far less likely to be freelance than in the UK. There are also 90 pages of designers ruminating on the best and worst thing about their jobs, a substantial number of which cited ‘clients’ in the latter category. The practice of graphic design is paradoxical, combining long hours of self-absorption with a need to be aware of a constantly evolving visual culture. Graphic Designers Surveyed highlights the industry’s often conflicting desires. The book itself is a quiet masterpiece of information design, conveying these conflicts with clarity and elegance. Above all, it showcases the obvious passion that underpins every click of the mouse.

book with ’rainbow’ graphic of designers’ favourite Pantone colours

Compiling the results of a mammoth 2015 survey on the the design industry, the book is stylish and informative, shot through with humour and irreverence, while also uncovering far more insidious attitudes, from both within and without the industry. Pictured: a ’rainbow’ graphic of designers’ favourite Pantone colours

(Image credit: press)

Graphic Designers Surveyed book contents

The book delves deep into the the identities of the surveyed. Pictured: perhaps unsurprisngly, graphic designers tend to work longer hours and earn less than their partners

(Image credit: press)

Graphic Designers Surveyed book

Graphic Designers Surveyed highlights the industry’s often conflicting desires

(Image credit: press)

Graphic Designers Surveyed book

The spare, somewhat anachronistic design is both visually engaging and highly functional

(Image credit: press)

book content

Conveying its messages with clarity and elegance, above all the book showcases the obvious passion that underpins every click of a designer’s mouse

(Image credit: press)

INFORMATION

Graphic Designers Surveyed, £15, published by GraphicDesign&. For more information, visit the publisher’s website (opens in new tab)

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.