While we designers talk about new logos, bad kerning, bad business practices, etc., we seldom talk about being a decent and active human being. We tend to celebrate the abrasive celebrity designer that bucks the system and the over-worked people that neglect their family and friends. The design profession also needs to look at what is healthy for the average designer.
The first part of this post speaks of greed and consumsion. After meeting so many designers that are over-consumers it was great to hear some reason from the Stefan’s (Stefan Bucher and Stefan Sagmeister). These two fellows are proof that you can be a nice person and an amazing designer.
I recently went to go hear west coast Stefan (Mr. Bucher) speak at Concordia University and he said some great things that we all need to hear. At one point in his talk he made a quick little recommendation about the new sin of today … DEBT. He talked about staying out of debt so we can remain free to be creative. How can we be creative if we have no choice but to take any and every freelance project that comes our way? We need to be free to make decisions that aren’t completely based on our wallet.
My encounter with east coast Stefan (Mr. Sagmeister) was through his new book. I recommend that any and every designer should get the book, or at least look at Sagmeister’s recent work. It is a great reminder to be a good person (to yourself and others). One phrase in Sagmeister’s book is that “Money doesn’t make me happy”. I’m assuming that with all his success, he knows that from experience. We can all go through life without re-evaluating our priorities. Don’t hesitate to make some course corrections and make some changes in your life.
This is the part where I speak to the perpetual workers out there. Those of us that always find some way to fill our time with design, even if we do leave at 5:00 from our day jobs. While doing design outstide of work is a good thing, it is also good to remember that there are more important things than perfect kerning, becoming a famous designer and getting into CA. Just remember that friends, your spouse, family, sleeping, adventure, church, road trips, hikes and reading are going to be more fulfilling and help you grow as a person.
Over the last eight years of working as a professional designer, I’ve also had the weird fortune of working normal hours at every job I have held. I can probably count my late, late nights working on actual agency work on two hands. I have to admit that a couple of my agency jobs weren’t rock star jobs and some of the work probably wasn’t up to the standards of the work-horse 80/week agencies. But . . . I did have a life, learned things outside of the agency walls and I’m not completely burned out on design. I now have a job where I work 40hrs/week and get to work on amazing projects with amazing people. These jobs do exist. I see my friends near and far (especially those in larger cities) being overworked and disastisfied. For some reason our profession finds it acceptable to sacrifice so much for fame and small fortunes. It is time we as designers, art directors and especially creative directors stand up and start managing a better office. If we don’t stand up for ourselves and our fellow designers, then no one will.
So as we at Be A Design Group say good bye, just keep in mind that although design is very important, we as designers are much more so.