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Chad Beckerman - Associate Art Director, Book Publishing
Posted: 08/28/2006

Chad Beckerman

What do you do:
Associate Art Director, Book Publishing

Where do you work:
Harry N. Abrams Inc, New York City, New York

When did you realize your interest in art direction:
It took me a little while to find out what I was good at. One of the things I found easy is being able to work with people. I discovered that when I
was a TA (Teaching Assistant) at RISD, settingup class or helping with
painting. I enjoyed that and thought maybe I should go into teaching
and that aspect really helps with being an Art Director. Helping bring out
the best in people’s work.

Why work in this field:
I think the whole reason I went into the art field is that I knew I
like to make things, to be part of something physical. At the end
of a project you get to hold onto something you helped make, that is
so rewarding. I think that's something that is sort of archaic now a
days but it's kind of great. This might sound odd but the first thing
I do when I get a new book in from the printer is I smell it. There is
nothing quite like smelling the fruits of your labor. The fresh ink can
give you a headache. But it’s a great feeling.

How would you advise others:
I didn't have a direct design background, meaning I wasn't in the
graphic design department at RISD. What I did at RISD was take a lot of
classes outside of my major. I think that helped me a lot. I took
photography, design, and animation classes. I got a feel of a variety
of things which I think helps a lot in art direction because you are
dealing with a variety of things. That includes technical knowledge
about computers and how things work. That's huge. You’re only as good
as your knowledge of your tools. Somebody once told me that, whether
you are a carpenter or designer. If you know your tools your work will
be better for it. I had the knowledge of working with design programs
but it wasn't until I started working in publishing that I figured out
how to be able to use them for publishing's day to day work. Which is okay.