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‘Burn Your Portfolio’ by Michael Janda

Updated: Jun 8


A well used copy of 'Burn Your Portfolio' book.
Burn Your Portfolio

To be a successful Graphic Designer it is important to stay connected with the world around you, to keep up to date with the latest news and trends, and to always look to expand your knowledge.


In my continual search for that knowledge, I have an extensive library of books on Typography, Corporate Identity, Logo Design, Branding and many other topics to teach and to inspire. My favourite book of late is ‘Burn Your Portfolio’ by Michael Janda.


This book is an absolute ‘must read’ for anyone with a business in the design industry. The subtitle for the book is ‘Stuff they don’t teach you in design school, but should’ and this book is exactly that!


Michael Janda is the founder of the highly successful design agency, Riser and has worked with clients such as Disney, Google, NBC, Warner Bros, Sony, National Geographic, Fox…you get the gist. But if that is not enough to convince you, the six pages of testimonials in the front of the book should do it.


Before finding his success, Michael had very much the same start as most. Following university he started his career working in a printers, progressing to freelancing, then to hiring staff so, many of the lessons he teaches in this book are the lessons he had to learn along the way.

The book is split into 111 short chapters, each with its own lesson or piece of valuable advice from each stage of his journey. It is easy to read and full of humour - if you don’t believe me read chapter 24 titled ‘Polishing Turds’ and marvel at the sketch of the Acme Turd Polisher!

The first half of this book contains the kind of useful advice that any business owner would benefit whether in the design industry or not. The second half is design specific and home to the majority of my post-it-notes.


Drawing of the Acme Turd Polisher taken from Burn Your Portfolio book.
Acme Turd Polisher

‘Burn Your Portfolio’ is stacked full of valuable information whether you are a new freelancer to the industry or an established design agency – basically if you’re not working with Google you should be reading this book!


So…go on…pick up a copy. It will be the most valuable book in your business arsenal.

It is the best book I have read so far…and no I’m not making any commission!


Nome Jenkins – Founder of Retro Ghost Designs

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