My goal as a designer is not to be famous, nor is it to change the world. If what I enjoy doing helps me get there then great, but that is definitely not my motivation or end goal. It's a lot simpler than that. I just enjoy creating things. Useful and beautiful things that people can enjoy and appreciate. Whether that is for a large or small audience it doesn't really matter. So give me a corner to design projects that I care about and I’m happy.
There are plenty of rant articles out there about design, what job titles mean, visual design vs real design and myriad of other things. And I’ve had my fair share of rants. So instead I wanted to write about something different. Something simple and to the soul. I decided to focus on the joys of being a designer. These are not meant to be universal truths but just a personal account of why I love what I do. And the moments that make it all worthwhile.
1. Uncertainty and creating something from nothing
When I start a project everything is a blank canvas. There are a few parameters that I use to guide my journey but I never know where I’ll end up. It’s different for every project. But that process of discovery is nerve wrecking and exciting at the same time. For some projects it’ll take heaps of iterations and you start to doubt yourself and wonder if you’ll ever reach the solution. But sure enough somewhere along the way that moment where you realise this is it!! I’ve got it happens. It’s like magic. You have created something you are genuinely proud of and can put forward to your client and users. I love the idea that we are creators and that is very fulfilling.
2. When clients love and appreciate the work
I give a shit about what I do. So when clients feel the same way and are passionate about the work that we are both doing. It makes me happy. I’ve been doing this for a while, so I don’t mind iterations as it’s all part of the process. But when you finally nail it and the client is super stoked it’s a great feeling. And when you’ve finished after all the testing, put it live and people are loving your work. You’ve hit a home run.
3. Winning a job that I care about
The reality is you can’t win all jobs that you tender for. Even the ones that reach out to you. But getting that client that you’ve always wanted to work with is a real joy. Doesn’t even have to be a big client. Maybe it’s just an industry you wanted to do work for. Or maybe it’s for some gangster rapper sized money. When they right variables come into play and you win that project. I crank up the tunes and do a little dance to celebrate and savour the moment. You’re on top of the world at that point.
4. Learning something new
I always say that learning is one of the greatest joys. And I don’t mean text book learning. But more the process of learning something new by actually “doing”. Learning a new program, or moving into a different facet of design. The bulk of my work is digital projects, but that encompasses a lot of different things. Maybe it’s editing a video or launching a new course with everything that’s attached to it. It feels good to be a rookie again and starting from the bottom. Everything is fresh, new and exciting.
5. Teaching what you know
I’ve learnt so much from the people who have come before me. And to pass on my knowledge to others, and have it resonate is a real joy. Whether that is a specific design technique or some theory behind the work that we do. It’s fun to nerd out on certain details that the rest of the world doesn’t notice. Then you past that knowledge on to others that totally get what you are talking about. Watch them take what you taught them and move it to far beyond places that even you couldn’t have imagined. And you were the little push that helped sprout these amazing talents.
6. Teamwork and camaraderie
There’s something about working with a bunch of likeminded people. No one is there just to phone it in. But really pushing to do something great. I remember some of those late nights slugging away and ordering pizza as we try to deliver these projects as a whole team. Or winning huge project pitches. Sharing these great moments with a team is definitely a highlight. Working with fellow designers, developers, project managers and everybody in between. It’s this sense of teamwork that I love and definitely miss now that I’m a freelancer. The high fives and the sense of teamwork and collaboration is definitely one of the joys of being a designer.
I would love to know what makes you get up in the morning and excited about what you do?