It’s the dream of most designers to make good money at what they do, but in reality it’s often a labor of love. I was at a barbecue this weekend when a relative asked me “Why do you work in design when you could be making real money?” This led me to actually think about why I chose design for my livelihood and why so many of my friends chose the same path.
Why are so many people pulled toward design? What is it in our human nature that draws us to this particular flame like we’re moths without so much as a scrap of free will? These are the answers that I came up with.
We’re full of ideas. To revisit my flame metaphor, these ideas often burn so brightly inside of our heads that we have to get them out into the world just to extinguish the fire. As children our notebooks were covered in doodles. We’d try to draw versions of our favorite posters, trading cards and magazine spreads (I had more than one sketch of a certain famous photo of Scottie Pippen in my notebook). Even as adults we’re entranced by aesthetics and visual art. Every time we see something that inspires us we’re filled with an irresistible urge to create. As designers, we have a chance to make a living from our creativity and show our ideas to the entire world. We love experimenting with new visual designs and new technologies. We love the possibility of creating something from nothing, and it’s a goal of ours to bring something new into the world as often as we can. It’s an urge we can’t repress.
We Like Results
Speaking of goals, we enjoy the tangible results of the design process. A design represents an actual company, product, brand, person or idea. A logo is an identity. When we see an advertisement or a logo, we immediately think about how we could do better—and then we prove that we can. We love putting our ideas, projects and designs out into the world and watching how people react to them. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than getting feedback on a project I’ve worked on for weeks. We, as designers, love to see how our work affects the people around us– our peers, our audience and our potential clients. We love the notion that our ideas are changing the way other people look at design.
We Like To Work
This relates back to that creative urge that we feel, but it has to be said that we also love the actual work. We like the process, we thrive on the deadlines and we bask in the stress. When a project is hard fought all the way to completion we love it even more. We love the reality of design work, that every single project we take on will be completely different. Certain aspects of the work are tedious, but on the whole we avoid the monotony that plagues people in other fields. We bring our computers with us when we vacation so we can put in a little extra time. We’re never bored and our heads are always swimming with possibilities—every new project brings a new flood of ideas and the chance to produce them. We jump at the opportunity.
We Like Freedom
As creative people, we shun the idea of conforming to a typical job pattern. Sure, we might keep certain hours and we’re always beholden to the needs of our clients, but we also have our own unique methods for completing a project that are not subject to anyone else’s whims. It’s not that we’re aimless, wifty people—we just treasure the ability to do things our own way in order to achieve our own results. If we’re not freelancers, we cherish working for people who share our values and passions. We make our own decisions and explore our own thoughts. There’s even the possibility of working from home and choosing our own hours. We’re obsessed with both designing and living in our own version of the world.
Design, like any other field, is all about passion. I might have told my relative that “I’m passionate about design,” but would that have really answered her question? These are the actual reasons why I’m passionate about design. There are many more, to be sure, and other designers might answer differently. At the end of the day, as far as I’m concerned, my creativity, the results I achieve, my drive to work and the desire for freedom are the actual reasons why I’m irresistibly drawn toward design. It’s just part of my nature as a human being.
London 2004 – Sean O’Mara – Wikimedia Commons – Public Domain
Guest Author Bio
Adam Farwell is a writer, blogger and designer. His favorite topics include marketing, logo design, small business branding and discussing his various creative projects. Adam is a lifelong fan of visual art, sports, rock music and film.
Blog / Website: Blue Cotton