Anthony Burrill’s new book is a pocket-sized manifesto to aid creative ruts

Work Hard & Be Nice to People is a distillation of the graphic designer’s ideas about “creativity, self belief and how to make meaningful work.”

13 August 2020


Just when you thought the heat of summer and the threat of another lockdown was enough to curtail any productivity you had left, to the rescue comes Anthony Burrill. Named after perhaps his most famous tagline Work Hard & Be Nice to People, the graphic designer is here to empower and support you with his new book, a handy pocket-sized motivational manual for any creative rut, big or small.

The book actually began life as a paperback version of his previous book Make It Now! but the very process of editing and condensing that content instigated so many new ideas, it became a completely refreshed edition.

“It was a great opportunity to revisit the original book and remake it with a fresh perspective,” Burrill tells It’s Nice That. “I began by examining the content and choosing the parts that I felt had the most to say. As I worked through the text it became clear that I needed to add new insights and nuggets of information. It started to feel like a new book, so we changed the title to reflect this. Now it feels like a mini-manifesto that invites you to dip in and use it as an aid to solving problems creatively. I talk a lot about self-development and lessons I’ve learnt through trial and error. The new book feels like a good distillation of my ideas about creativity, self belief and how to make meaningful work.”

One of the designer’s favourite spreads from the book says: “The Idea is the Work / The Idea Makes the Work,” which Burrill explains is about “searching for meaning in your work and how one simple idea can create the most amazing outcome.” As such, while working on the book, he says he printed out all the pages and pinned them on his studio wall, to remind himself of the ideas and the purpose. “It was like creating a whole new body of work that related to previous ideas I’d had, but took them to the next level. I was brutal with the way I edited the original text as it was my aim to only keep in what was truly meaningful.”

To the same end, Burrill entirely redesigned the page layouts, reducing the typography down to bold layouts, while still maintaining his signature hand-made feel using letterpress wood type for the main headlines and a collection of secondary typefaces for longer copy “to give the book a lively look and feel,” he says. “I wanted to make each spread feel unique and challenged myself not to repeat any compositions.”

Of course, this book launches in a very different context to its predecessor, to which Burrill humbly comments that he hopes it’ll be “a useful little book with advice that can be applied to real life. We need to hear positive messages that speak honestly about what it is to be creative and how that creativity can be applied to the new challenges we all face”.

GalleryAnthony Burrill: Work Hard & Be Nice To People. Photography by Kate Davis

In need of some creative inspiration?

Sign up to our all-new Midweek Mentor newsletter for top-notch advice, from our favourite creatives, on how to keep inspired and stay motivated.

Share Article

Further Info

About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

It's Nice That Newsletters

Fancy a bit of It's Nice That in your inbox? Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the creative world.