Monday, October 6, 2008


I love this essay by Petrula Vrontikis, a Graphic Design teacher, who answers the question: Will graphic design be a satisfying career?

"I’ve been teaching graphic design for many years now. Sure, we talk about messaging, composition and process—but there’s a question that looms heavy. Surprisingly, it’s rarely asked: Will graphic design be a satisfying career?

What can I say to those who ask? There’s a glass half full response and a glass half empty response.

When the glass is half full, I see that most of us really love what we do. We become fast learners and are quite resilient. Our field changes frequently, especially in terms of technology. We keep up because we fear that our work will become stale or our skills outdated. Our civilian (non-designer) friends think we have it made: we get to be creative for a living.

Our civilian friends don’t realize that the tough part is being creative for a living. Creativity doesn’t always happen on demand. When the glass is half empty, I see that many of us are tormented by procrastination and resent the “business” part of our creativity. We question everything and are rarely sure that we are doing our best work.

Most graphic designers create artifacts for a living. When we reflect back, we see a trail of books, catalogues, brochures, posters and logos. Is that all that represents our endless hours of toil? Has graphic design been our life?

Some of us just crave recognition—validation that what we have done is important. We designers reward each other with more artifacts: certificates, books, plaques and Lucite circles, squares and triangles. Again, is that all that represents our endless hours of toil?

The answer is varied; and the experience, like design itself, can’t be limited to one perspective."

Petrula goes on to ask her colleagues to share experiences of their own design experiences. To read those go here.

Well said. Do you agree? ••••

1 comment:

KT said...

This really resonates with me. I have been working as a designer for 10 years now, as a freelancer for 4, and I do love what I do. But I need to find validation, creative outlet, and fulfillment from other sources as well. It's still just a job. I don't see myself as an artist, I simply can't create purely for self-expression of inner vision. I think being a fine artist would be so much harder on the emotions and sense of self.