2.25.2014

RAW Tuesdays: Happy Designers


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Have you ever met a designer that was like, "I love being a designer. It's really fun and awesome and I couldn't be happier."? 

What? You have a designer friend that always tells you that? WELL THEY ARE STRAIGHT UP LYING. (unless they work for some prestigious design company or get paid like 70K +........)

There's this perception that comes with being a designer, where people who are not even remotely familiar with the design world, may perceive designers to be happier than the average Joe (or Joanne...). And really it comes with the understanding that most of us picked a creative route because it happened to be our passions. And yes, maybe filing papers from 9am to 5pm isn't exactly exciting, but most design jobs are not very exciting either. And even if we worked on something exciting, it doesn't exactly make us happy

Why is that? 

I don't know very many (good) designers that are actually satisfied with their own work. "My designs are amazing and I think I'm sooooo good at what I do...", is something you will rarely ever hear from a good (or even decent....) designer. We creatives tend to be the pickiest people and are never satisfied with our own creations, because we know it can ALWAYS be better. And I mean, if it can always be better, that means we can't really be satisfied. And if we can't be satisfied, well, it's difficult to be happy with what we do.

I'll sometimes be assigned on a design project and I'll sit and stare at the blank canvas on Photoshop, watching my arrow cursor in hopes that it will move and design itself. Sometimes ideas come pouring in nonstop, other (most) times, I get absolutely nothing. And even if I do get ideas galore, sometimes I can't sift through them all. It's like writer's block. And the moment I come up with a design, I'm left head tilted, eye twitching, wondering why this whole thing is so mother effing UGLY. 

"But if being a designer makes you that unhappy, why not try something else?" --is another common thing I'll hear from people I complain endlessly to. 

Well, my rational and honest answer is, I spent too much damn money and invested too much time into design school. Hell naw I ain't throwing that away. But really, it's not like design makes me "unhappy". It's just that it's hard to FIND that line of work that actually makes me happy. I say this often but, we are always designing for someone else. That is why it's so hard to be happy or satisfied with our line of work. If I had it my way, I'd run around the city and throw paint everywhere and hope the city of Los Angeles would be like, "damn that's artistic and awesome! Here's your $5,000 monthly check!" ---- but obviously there are 'realistic' expectations to finding design work. Even though graphic design is needed in almost every kind of business, think about the types of businesses are out there. It would be awesome to design for Lisa Frank or creative design companies, but those are always the rarities. Most companies that hire designers are corporate or do what I righteously like to call "boring ass work". So how do we find happiness in a field we're passionate about, but don't like the work? 

DESIGN FOR YOURSELF. 
Whenever I design for myself, I feel.........pretty happy. 

Do projects you know you'll like. Go look at things you love looking at. Be inspired. Be motivated. Go to Bloomingdale's and look at all those designer bags and shoes you know you'll never be able to afford unless you go on sugardaddy.com and find yourself a pimp. It sounds silly, but sometimes I will do that (I mean't looking at baller things, not the latter....) because designer brands inspire me. Shops inspire me. The brochures from Panera inspire me. There are always things we overlook because we get caught up in our daily lives. Find appreciation in the things you really like.

Watch youtube videos of your favorite makeup guru, gamer channel, or Asian youtube comedian (cuz they're all Asian to me, except like Jenna Marbles...) Constantly engage in the things you love whenever you have the time. But don't just mindlessly watch TV every night after work, 5 days a week. Because you're not really engaging in anything.

For example, I've been trying to learn new programs. In my 4-6yrs of designing, I have never touched Adobe Lightroom and am just now trying to learn the damn thing. So I've been watching youtube videos after work and trying to play around with it. I'm also trying to learn Premiere Pro, but........that may take some time.

I've made the "I have no time" excuse for a very long time. Then I finally decided to start this blog and keep it consistent and told myself I'd sacrifice a googly eyed, fluffy baby lamb if I gave up on this blog. So you know........that's why I'm blogging. 

In my opinion, designers do not choose their passion routes because they think it's going to make them happy. It's because they simply want to do something they know they are good at and/or love. It's the hope that we will be FULFILLED. Because making my world more aesthetically pleasing to my eyes, makes me feel like I made an impact, even if it's just on myself. And really, that's the best place to start.

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