The online design community has its fair share of articles, comics and websites about the downsides of design work. Forums and comments are rife with stories about being “forced” to create poor work; dealing with irrational clients; breakdowns in communication and more stress-inducing cons of being a design professional. These negatives can’t be denied – every designer has had a poor work experience at some point, I’d imagine, myself included – but what about the flipside? What are the best parts of being a designer?
As creative professionals, we get paid to be creative. Some of us get to illustrate; some of us design websites; some of us lay out print pieces, and so on. If you work for a small design firm (or if you are a freelancer), you likely have a constant influx of new projects to work on – and thus new things to create. This beats the heck out of getting paid to clean bathrooms, or hawk shady merchandise, etc. At its core, getting paid to be creative is pretty sweet.
Design – especially of the web or tech variety – is constantly evolving. New devices bring new problems for us to solve; designers have to constantly be on top of what’s happening in the industry. This means new challenges, new techniques to learn, and an ever-growing skill set. Design is an exciting field, thanks to its never-ending march towards progression.
Whether we like it or not, we live in a world where visuals are at and around every corner (piled on top of one another, all clamouring for a fleeting moment of our attention). This moves past the street corner and into our online lives as well. As designers – whether print, web, identity, or else – we all have a role in shaping the visual side of our lives. Sometimes this role is huge and sometimes this role is small, but it’s a role – and one we should be proud of.
If we’re lucky, designers will have an opportunity – or make an opportunity – to design for change. With this, I mean doing creative work that aims to make a positive impact on the world. Maybe this involves environmentalism, or humanitarian work. It could be as big as strategizing, creating and launching an international campaign; it could be as small as volunteering to redesign the website for your local animal shelter. Regardless, the opportunity for us to design for change is out there, and that’s a good part of being a designer of any ilk.
Somewhat cheesy subtitle? Yes. Truth? Definitely. One of, if not the, absolute best things about working in the design field is helping bring a client’s vision to life. Paper Leaf works with many small businesses and start-ups; the path taken from meeting with the client, learning about their business, helping strategize & set goals through to design roughs/mockups to completed deliverable is very rewarding. There are few things better in work life than seeing a client light up when you knock their visual identity and all related collateral out of the park. Helping clients realize their dreams is an amazing part of being a designer.
It’s easy to dwell on the negatives of something; I mean, we’ve all shared horror stories with friends over a pint. However, I do think it’s important to make an effort to recognize the positives too – an area too often overlooked. What I’ve written here are just a few of the more large-scope, positive sides of being a designer that came to mind as I was thinking about this post. What about you? What do you love about your job?