Guest article by Jennifer Moline of PsPrint.
The depressing economy we’re in has me very interested in careers – mainly, why we choose to do what we do. A creative career is often seen as a dream job – one that allows you to get paid for doing what you love. I’ve often wondered, however, if a creative profession is worth the stress.
I believe people become graphic designers for the following reasons:
- While growing up they were always doodling on a notepad, eventually graduating to doodling on the computer.
- They’ve always been those ‘techie’ types – the ones who would experiment with new programs, codes, hacks and software – teaching themselves how to build computers and make cool stuff.
- They knew that in this technological era, a career involving computers was a smart route to take.
- They’re critics about advertising and think they can do better.
- While signing up for college classes, they noticed their crush was registering for an Intro to Graphic Design course.
So whatever the reason, now graphic designers are freelancing or working in-house at agencies, corporations, publishing houses and more. They create logos, lay out websites, design magazines, etc. But as any creative professional knows, graphic design isn’t necessarily glamorous like “Mad Men,” with Bloody Marys on hand at every meeting.
Designers have their own set of blockades:
- They have to answer to clients, who don’t always have the best taste or tact. (Tips on how to deal with that here.)
- They face constant deadlines, often overlapping ones.
- They inherit more work as downsizing continues.
- They’re expected to come up with original ideas every single day.
Is it any wonder people burn out? So why do we continue on this path? The work isn’t always creative. Sure, designing a magazine cover or an ad can be a fun and challenging project, but what about the interior of a newspaper or book – those columns and rows of text?
Here is why I think creative professionals – including designers, journalists, photographers, etc. – stick with it:
- We’re deadline-oriented and work best under pressure.
- Once an assignment is turned in, that’s usually the end of it – no revisiting.
- We’re egotistical and enjoy seeing our bylines and credits.
- There is nothing much more satisfying than finishing up a job we’re particularly proud of and to see it in print or online. Our success is tangible.
- We have a passion for good design.
What do you think – if you knew then what you do now, would you still choose your current career? Why do you do what you do? How did you get into this industry?