A Design Feast publication
Navigating the ups and downs of the circus called work
Buy the book now
Holiday Discount thru January 5, 2015

“I wish this book existed when I first started working.
Nate Burgos and Stephanie Di Biase created an incredibly helpful handbook
for today’s creative worker. Written with heart, humanity, and humor,
BROKEN is a must-read for every creative team member,
plus project, client, human resources, and business development people too!
I have a list, as long as my arm, of people I want to recommend it to!”

Eleanor Mayrhofer

“BROKEN is an insightful and practical guide
to navigating the brutal dissonance of the professional world.
Delivered with wit, beauty, and plainspoken clarity,
this book is invaluable for anyone involved in the creative process.”

Photograph courtesy of Ryan Evans
“A useful book, BROKEN is full of common-sense advice
for surviving the workplace as a worker or a boss.
The authors take a birds-eye view, as well as a personal view,
in offering thoughts that are just basic, good life lessons!”

BROKEN gives you ways to cope, engage,
and survive the demands of the “modern workplace”

Cover design of BROKEN
This book applies to you, the hard worker.
Written to empower you to face the challenges of toxic work environments, chaotic projects, poor communication, and other barriers to getting things done.
Because work doesn’t need to be a four-letter word.
Holiday Discount thru January 5, 2015
Seven chapters Sample bit of what you’ll find in each one

Before going into a tirade about difficult clients, we want to
state for the record: Not all clients are bad. In fact, most
clients are great. They can be inspiring, trusting, and truly
fun partners. Many relationships with our respective clients
over the years have evolved into valuable lasting friendships.
And when it comes to work, they will always know their
business better than you do. Always. So you need them not just for money, but also to solve their business needs and problems—you cannot do your job without them.

Here are a few types of client behavior that can be categorized as “bad”: The Virgin, The Committee, The Apathetic Teenager…

Communication You must be willing to hear both the good and the bad when it comes to your work. Feedback is great—when it’s really aimed at helping you and your work become better. When used to disguise insults, feedback can be ugly. Handing out personal insults disguised as feedback, sometimes resulting from a bruised ego, threatens a workplace becoming a culture of feedback. Equally troubling is the infamous praise sandwich. A superficial compliment, followed by a piece of criticism, followed by another superficial compliment. It’s hard to get critical feedback. Hiding it helps no one…

You may work for a company that claims to demonstrate an “open workspace” until you notice that the cube walls are taller than you and the floor looks like a labyrinth. Or the workspace is physically open but the people interact as if they’re surrounded by walls.

When companies advertise that they have an “award-winning
company culture,” it sounds flat. Because it’s easy to post and


Every industry fights the battle against jargon and
meaningless words. The people within an industry have
a weird zombie or Stepford-wife-like acceptance of these
words. We believe that deep down, we all rationally know
these words have no intrinsic meaning, yet we all irrationally
accept these words and phrases used in the context of our
jobs. We accept their use, we use them ourselves, and we
subconsciously add new ones to our mouths all the time. These
absurd words and phrases even leak into our personal lives.

Take, for example, “best practices.” It’s a cloaked term because the majority of the time, those so-called best practices are never identified. It just flows into the next scripted and savvy-sounding phrase. Like “best practices,” every time “tipping-point” is heard would result in a nice pot of change…


Creative directors, account planners, strategists, and everyone else—no one is bad because of their title. These positions grew out of a need to get the work done as the type of work we do changes.

But as more roles get segmented and new roles get added, companies, whatever the size, can become bloated with people that don’t care about doing good work and only care about looking like they’re doing good work…


If your job at a creative agency or business consultancy
involves producing work, your schedule and how you spend
your days is out of your control most days. Your time is often
booked with endless meetings, constant reviews, and if you
find yourself working somewhere that has adopted a twisted
form of “agile,” then you are screwed, really screwed.

If it is your job to create the project schedules, you are
pressured by leadership and clients to move faster
(“to accelerate”—ewww), meet “profit margins,” do more
with less people, and so on. That is, you’re being asked
to walk on water.…


You would never try to hammer a nail with a pencil. Yet a common source of frustration at many companies is that they are using the wrong tool for the job. Or using the same tool to do two very different things as a cost-cutting measure. You need a hammer to hammer and a pencil to write, but the two are not interchangeable.

Just because a tool works for one purpose, doesn’t necessarily
mean the tool can be hacked to work for another purpose.
Yet for whatever reason, large companies—beholden to large “legacy” systems (legacy of which is getting in the way of
work)—can’t seem to figure this out…

Fortified with stories
Each chapter is further informed by actual stories. Some are positive. Others are not. All speak to the rewarding and manic reality of working.
Nate Burgos is a designer for the Fortune 5,000,000 who strives to do thoughtful work. He runs Design Feast—his long-term project dedicated to creative culture—which writer Alissa Walker described as “a resource that’s hard to put down once you’ve dug in.”
He also wrote and self-published Scratch your niche: Fun and fulfillment in Web-based projects.
Stephanie Di Biase is a designer who runs design studio Ways & Means. Never shy of business problems, she delivers an aromatic blend of user-experience street smarts and creative bling for her clients. She loves designing things that people actually want or need. Most of which have been digital in nature.
Photograph courtesy of Stephanie Di Biase
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Navigating the ups and downs of the circus called work
Lovingly crafted:
140 pages of energetic and clear prose with wonderfully drawn illustrations
plus attributed sources
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The complete digital set.
“Thoughtful, funny and profane, BROKEN is written by the people, for the people…
Nate Burgos and Stephanie Di Biase are ultimately concerned with the
well-being of creators, whether they work in a large office, small studio, or for themselves.”
Rena Tom
Photograph by Victoria Smith
Rena Tom is the founder of Makeshift Society, a coworking space and clubhouse in San Francisco, with a new location in Brooklyn. She believes in camaraderie and creativity as essentials to make a great workplace and to do great work. Her support of independent professionals has been featured in publications like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Real Simple.
Featured also in the book: 46 pieces of original artwork
by Lucy Engelman of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Illustration "Number of hours…” for BROKEN
Illustration "B.S. Meter" for BROKEN
Illustration "Strategy" for BROKEN
Lisa Hazen runs Chicago-based Lisa Hazen Design & Editorial, having done work for clients such as best-selling author Sara Paretsky and Oscar-winning musicians The Swell Season.
BROKEN proudly uses Harriet designed by OK Type in Chicago, and Recovery designed by Dunwich Type Founders in New York City.
Holiday Discount thru January 5, 2015
Help spread the word!
Tell your like-minded co-workers, colleagues, friends, and family members.
Learn more about the book from these wonderful features

Interview by Joanne Molina of The Curated Object

“Cultural Quandaries: Why Organizational Culture Matters”
by Doug White of The Creative Group

“Work sucks, but this could make it better”
by Jennifer Maerz of The Bold Italic

Showcased by Eight Hour Day

Interview by Lisa Hazen of BookPromotion.com

Showcased by Dave Cuzner of Grain Edit

Get in touch
Email Nate Burgos with questions, comments, and for buying BROKEN in bulk.
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Navigating the ups and downs of the circus called work
A Design Feast publication
Visit Design Feast blog Design Feaster to learn how this book was made
and more lovingly made Design Feast publications.
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Made with Angst, Words, Pixels, Love, in the awesome City of Chicago