Paul Rand once gave me similar advice which has been misconstrued as my just “being about the money.” To be clear, Rand’s advice was simply pragmatic — the way that Carly lays it down.
Ah — thank you, Internet! I found a more complete version of what I said at that FC event.
I always go back to what Paul Rand, the famous graphic designer, told me in the ’90s when I worked on his last book—and I typed my name into his book because he wouldn’t pay me anything. He said, “Young man, I have something very important to tell you: Make lots of money.” I was a little perplexed because here’s the Yoda of design telling me to make money—what’s that about? You see, what he had learned is that everything he loved to do tended to not make any money, whereas there were things that he could do that would make money. So he would take the thing that made money to fund the thing that didn’t. For example, his famous book, A Designer’s Art, was a five-color printed book, which was very expensive to make at the time. The publisher refused to pay the extra printing costs so Rand paid them himself. I took that as a cue.
Someone asked me, “Why don’t you look for the overlap? Why don’t you figure out how to do both?” And I said, “Well, Paul Rand told me this is the easier way, so that’s how I think.” I don’t look for the overlap. I know some people do. I think it’s hard, probably harder than most people think. Is there an easy way? Did I miss it?
If you’re a creative type, you’re especially taught to fear money because it’s depicted as something dark and bad. Every movie, every storybook, the person with the money is usually the bad person. We never think of money as generative.
I work to make enough to get my basics covered, first. And if there’s anything extra to work with, then that’s what I can invest into other things. But the basics are key to take care of, first. —JM