When a client has come in to peer over my shoulder and watch me make a quit change to their art, they pause, seeming fascinated with whatever I’m doing, or waiting to see how I make the changes they asked for. Then they’ll say something like: “I could never do that,” or “Sitting at a computer all day would drive me crazy,” or “That is so cool!”
Hearing other people’s perspective is fascinating to me, whether a seemingly negative statement, or a compliment on my skill set. I absolutely love what I do, and it’s frankly funny to hear a client who may be a farmer or a owner of an accounting firm, or whoever they may be, come in and say they couldn’t do my job, because I absolutely can’t imagine doing anything else (including, probably, whatever they do for a living too)!
I love what I do! Plain & simple; and I’m going to share how I came to decide on this career field, and 8 reasons why I love it.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN...
As a kid, I discovered Microsoft Publisher, and I began to play in that for hours. I’d make cards, and posters, and calendars, for the sheer fun of doing it. I know, what a weird kid! ;)
I continued along in grade school, and finally took an art class my junior and senior years of high school. Because I loved the creative outlet and always took the assignments more seriously than most of my other classmates, my art teacher, Mr. Clinton, asked me what I wanted to do after high school. I told him I was going to college, of course, and he asked what I wanted to study there. I had no idea.
So when Mr. Clinton asked me, I hesitated and said I didn’t know, but I liked art and didn’t know what I could do with that. That’s where it all began.
He put together some materials for me to go through, including which schools taught medical illustration! You know the drawings of muscle tissues or the anatomy of your eyeball that you see in doctor’s offices? I had no idea that was an actual career path. Long story short, in those materials he gave me was a list of colleges that had art programs and I was suddenly opened to realistic career paths that could use my creativity. Why didn’t I realize that you could go to school for art, and learn more than just painting & drawing?
Of course, I ended up taking 1 semester of Interior Design courses at my university, and realized that wasn’t right. I love decorating, but not learning where load bearing walls are. So, I talked to my advisor and told her that I was struggling to figure out what I wanted to do. She asked if I liked to paint, or draw, or write, or… and I told her I used to love Publisher. Of all the things! She said she needed to put me in a class with computers. From then on, I was an art major, learning graphic design. Why do I love this field so much?
1. I get to use my creativity
I know that using my creativity is imperative to my general level of happiness, because I’ve had jobs through college that didn’t use it and I was absolutely miserable.
I worked in the university library for a couple semesters. I was also a receptionist in several medical offices, a kennel worker and then a kennel manager at an animal hospital. I knew I couldn’t do a job like that for 20-40 years and retire with no complaints. I just didn’t have it in me.
Creativity is an outlet. It comes naturally to me, and being creative frees up space in my brain that would otherwise get clogged with crap. Being creative makes me happy!
2. Helping others
Graphic Design is a skill set that, in this day & age, can (& should) be very valuable. Not everyone can do it well, but regardless of true skill, it’s used everywhere, from print designs on your McDonald’s cups & bags & wrappers, to a favorite app on your phone.
Yes, it’s a vast field, but it can be used purposefully to help other people too. There’s design for social justice, for nonprofits and organizations that do good for the world, for small business owners and entrepreneurs, the possibilities are endless!
I love providing small businesses and organizations with designs and branding materials that can help their businesses be successful and more professional.
You will never hear me complain about having to upgrade to the newest tech, except for (probably) the price involved. I’m a die-hard fan of Apple, because their computers are pretty standard in my line of work for many reasons.
Things I love & feel like I can’t live without (haha!): my Wacom Intuos tablet & stylus, Macbook Pro, iMac, iPad Mini, iPhone, external hard drive, my Adobe Creative software, Suitcase Fusion that organizes all my fonts, design apps, photo editing apps, productivity apps, apps that let me send an invoice from my phone or take a payment with a card no matter where I am, my scanner, laser printer, Kindle & Audible apps specifically, my iTunes app for upbeat & motivating music to design to, …
See a pattern here? They’re all some form of tech. :)
4. Art with immediate results + easy clean up!
When I’m designing, if I want to see what this part looks like in a different color, or with a different font, or I want to use a different photo, it can usually be changed quickly. That’s good for people who like immediate results. You can’t get the final product immediately, but through a series of immediate changes you can make to a design, you eventually end up with the final product. It’s a neat process (I think so, anyway)!
Make a mistake? Command+Z (Undo!). Undo the mistake? Command+Shift+Z (Redo). Duplicate a file? Save it with a different name. Copy one part of a design? Command+C (Copy), then Command+V (Paste). Want to take a break & come back to it later? Save the file and quit the program.
No paint to clean up, or allow to dry. No charcoal or ink on your hands from drawing, no glue to clean up from crafting. It’s all the best parts of “art-ing!”
5. It works well with my "OCD" tendencies
Graphic Design satisfies some of my OCD-like tendencies, and allows me to make good use of my attention to details. (I seriously doubt I’m actually diagnosable as a real-life Obsessive Compulsive Disorder case, so I say that lightly).
A crooked picture frame on the wall will bug me until I fix it. Several remotes on the coffee table haphazardly placed, will catch my attention. I'll eventually have to line them up neatly, though not necessarily perfectly. Silly things like that, which most people don’t notice (or maybe they do & it just doesn’t bother them), work to my advantage in this field.
My eye for detail allows me to catch small things other designer’s may miss. It also helps guide me in my design process (using the same formatting, style, fonts, or colors for one brand), which is key for maintaining consistency in a design.
6. It’s always changing, so I’m always learning
This field is a never-ending classroom, for designers who want to stay current in the field. New updates, technology and new software is released all the time, and because things are always changing, I’m always learning.
There are also always new trends to follow, if you want (or not). New schools of thought to keep up with, in regard to designing why we choose to do certain things. New ways to approach design, and new ways to design for new forms of marketing.
New, new, new, all the time. Nothing ever truly gets old, and I love that about this field.
7. Every design is a puzzle
Think of Graphic Design, like a form of problem solving. Being able to think about a problem and solve it in a creative way is satisfying! Graphic Design gives me the opportunity to take a set of someone’s problems, and turn them into something both useful and beautiful.
What do I mean by that? Let’s say your problem is that you don’t know how to make your business appearance match the level of professionalism you provide in your services. You may need a brand identity, business cards, letterhead or other business stationery, a sign for your building, or a website, but you don’t know what to put on any of those things! You may not even know how to go about thinking of what to put in your logo, or what iconography or colors to use that will speak to your target market. That’s where I come in, and for me, there’s really nothing else like it!
8. I can take the work anywhere
As long as I have a place to bring my tech to re-charge and hookup to internet to send and receive files or emails or have service to take phone calls, I can take my work anywhere. Literally!
Though most of us designers work in offices, in art departments, or cubicles in a large buildings, we could potentially be doing the work anywhere. Coffee shops seems to be a “thing,” though I don’t find that enjoyable, myself.
I could put a blanket in the shade under a tree in my front yard, play some music from iTunes on my phone, and design for 6 to 8 hours on my laptop battery if I wanted. I can design in my home office, seated on my couch, or from an office building (should I ever decide to buy or rent one for myself!). I could design from a cruise ship, or in another state while taking a road trip. I could even design in a car, if it didn’t make me carsick.
The freedom in that is, well, freeing!