Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Review: In Progress

Look at me, tearing through my L&D "To Read" book pile!

Title: In Progress
Author: Jessica Hische

What's it about?

Jessica Hische may not be a name you're familiar with if you're not in to hand lettering or typography, but given her popularity right now there's a good chance you've seen her work and just not known it. In this book she shares the techniques and processes she uses to create her typography designs.

What's so great about it?

We talk a lot about the idea of "show your work" in L&D and this book is entirely that. Hische outlines her approach to design, the tools she uses, the technical processes she goes through when creating a design, all in conversational language that doesn't require you to be a lettering or design expert to follow along. She also talks about client projects she's worked on, sharing early sketches and her thoughts about how she wanted to best address what the client was looking for.

So this is a great peek behind the scenes at one person's creative process, which is a big reason I enjoyed this so much. It's also a fantastic example of how you yourself can work out loud in a way anyone can follow along with. Even if design isn't your passion, this book gives you great models for how you can pick apart and share you own work openly with others.

What's going to frustrate me about it?

As much as behind the scenes looks at anyone's problem solving process can be helpful, this book focuses a lot on process, so you're going to need to have at least some interest in design, drawing, or typography to really enjoy it. Not in any of those categories? It might be still worth your time to borrow this from the library and just skip to the section where Hische talks about her client work, as there are some good nuggets there about how to solve client requests that anyone might find useful.

Also, are you looking for step-by-step tutorials that will show you how to how to do hand drawn lettering yourself? This isn't that book.

Anything else?

This is a great example of a book that's about a very narrow topic (in this case, lettering) that actually has much broader insights for people in other industries. I wish there were more books out there like this that explored people's work processes in such easy to understand ways.

Related to that, this book is also n excellent example of how to write content that's accessible to non-experts, but doesn't feel too basic for experts. It's impressive how Hische can take her own processes and explain them in ways that feel don't feel confusing to newbies but still have value to experts from her field as well. It's a tough balance to walk, and one we could stand to do more in L&D.

I'm too lazy to Google the book. Where can I buy it?

I've got you covered (Well, at least if you live in North America):


  1. Have to checking this book out, I wonder if it is on audible? Thanks for the share, looks like a great read.

  2. Is this book available for free?

    1. No it isn't, but if you're not up for buying it your local library may have a copy.

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