Like many of my friends I consider myself incredibly lucky to be a designer. It’s a privilege. Sure there are bad days, stresses, late nights and early mornings propped up by coffee. But despite all that, I love my job.
Perhaps, because it doesn’t really feel like a job at all. To me being a designer is a way of life. It’s a fundamental part of who I am, something that will always be there, something I could never switch off.
I guess it all really began for me at university, where I was exposed to 'idea driven' design for the first time. Those first few weeks working on one day projects - quick sessions designed to crank our cognitive gears into motion - had a profound effect on me. I felt as though I’d been asleep and was suddenly awake - seeing real design thinking for the first time. Design was more interesting than I’d ever imagined.
Art studies up until that point - at school and college – had centered around technical drawing. Perspective, light and shade, form and colour and so on. At university I saw a tantalising glimpse of something bigger, a new way of thinking, I was hooked, and I would never look back.
I began looking for ideas everywhere, in everything. I would mentally probe through every film I’d ever seen, every book I’d ever read, every experience I’d ever had, looking for fuel to use for the next project. I’d collect anything even vaguely interesting: beer mats, key rings, flyers, bottle labels, just because, maybe they would come in handy?
I would flick through the university’s collection of old D&AD annuals with an almost childlike wonder, looking, learning, scribbling, absorbing. The world was suddenly a much more interesting place, and for the first time: I felt like a designer.
From then on I would see everything through this new designer's perspective. I noticed that bad design was everywhere. I would avoid shops because I didn’t like the logo. I became disproportionately appalled by unevenly spaced letters, or distorted typefaces, stretched images or poor copy. Often raving maniacally to quizzical looking friends. I knew I shouldn’t care, but I couldn’t help it. And deep down I understood that this is what is so special about design: designers do care.
It’s this passion and drive for new ideas, for clarity, for a better way of doing things that defines us as designers. We are emotionally invested in our work, our industry. We care deeply about what we do, and despite having to occasionally wade through the drudgeries of corporate life, we should never lose this passion.
This is what I love about my job, and if you find a job you love, you will never really work a day in your life.
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