Fourteen amazing interviews with designers of all stripes, each one full of brilliant insights into how great careers are made in digital media.
Read tales of hard work, odd coincidences, fortuitous timing, personal networks—and dumb luck.
For anyone thinking about the trajectory of their design career in the midst of continual technological change, How They Got There is an eye-opening playbook full of valuable lessons.
On how Dribbble is like the rock band he always wanted.
On dropping out of college to co-found a company with startup veterans from Google.
On forging a career in infographics for editorial and digital products.
On building an enduring independent design studio by yourself.
On switching countries and careers on the way to building a company that was ultimately acquired by Facebook.
On building an enduring design studio from the remnants of the dot-com crash.
On the challenges and joys of an independent design practice.
On being a perpetual pioneer throughout multiple waves of digital change.
On finding new opportunities among multiple startups and big tech companies to satisfy restless curiosity.
On the through lines between fine art and building digital products.
On how a passion for architecture underscores designing products and building companies.
On how forming key relationships can inform career trajectories.
On the pros and cons of transitioning from independent practice to collaborative environments.
On the importance of finding the right groups, companies and even countries to nurture your career within.
Chair, MFA Interaction Design at The School of Visual Arts
What you get:
Khoi Vinh has never met a void he couldn't fill—brilliantly. In How They Got There, he rounds up some of the smartest designers of our time to share what most design schools forget to teach—namely, how to design your career.Jeffrey Zeldman
There is nothing better than learning by experience. The next best thing is learning from someone else’s experience. This book gives you the chance to do just that, 14 times over. Get learning.Michael Bierut
Through a series of insightful conversations with digital designers leading productive careers, Khoi reveals a series of themes that are invaluable for every creative career. How They Got There will help you on your own path; read it.Scott Belsky
How They Got There captures the beautiful confusion in the career arcs of many successful designers. This must-read reminds us that even giants are human.Kelly Sutton
Contrary to popular mythology, as these in-depth interviews show, digital designers are normal people. What makes them different is that they inhabit a world of speed-of-light change, and the constant challenge of the new.Adrian Shaughnessy
You can’t be successful without being crushed by a few failures along the way. Khoi’s new book explains not only how things work in real life, but also how success emerges.Vitaly Friedman
How They Got There is the story about the alchemical intersection of desire and happenstance in building a career in digital design. Young designers: read and take heart, your time is at hand whether you believe it or not.Jason Kottke
A rather fantastic digest of flops, miscues, and unexpected pivots that led to some pretty remarkable careers.Cameron Moll
This book has heart. Simply put, it embroiders together a collection of spirited human stories about the career journey. A sweet gift for those just beginning. A good read for those who love Design.Judy Wert
Combining art and commerce, dialogue and debate, education, inspiration and no shortage of perspiration, Khoi Vinh’s new book is essential reading for any young designer wondering about what the future holds—and how to get there.Jessica Helfand
Khoi goes beyond the glossy surface of ‘success stories’ and shows us how closely success and failure are related. Encouraging to read, especially for those of us who just winged it, like myself.Erik Spiekermann
There are plenty of interviews with designers found in books, websites, etc., but few are conducted by someone like Khoi, who has a tremendous amount of experience as a designer, employer, and entrepreneur.Greg Storey
The lives of designers are messy, unplanned, circuitous—Khoi’s interviews remove any doubt that even the best struggle to find their footing.Craig Mod
Khoi Vinh is a designer, writer, and entrepreneur. He is Principal Designer at Adobe, and co-creator of Kidpost. Previously, he was co-founder of Mixel, a groundbreaking mobile startup, and digital design director for The New York Times. He writes a widely read blog on design and technology at Subtraction.com.