Being a designer is one of the coolest jobs to have unless you are an ice cream taste tester, that is the coolest job ever.
Designers never go home at the end of the day, fall onto the couch and sigh, “That was the most boring day ever!” NO! We go home open our laptops and continue designing, because the job isn’t done until the client says so, or until you reached your deadline. We don’t mind because designers love what they do, we have patience, we are curious, and we are committed to our craft. In my opinion, there are four vital elements of being an awesome designer, LOVE, PATIENCE, CURIOSITY and COMMITMENT.
You need to love what you do; I don’t mean love like you love that top you bought the other day, I mean LOVE, like the feeling of getting into bed after fresh linen has been put on.
Loving what you do means that you will pull out all the stops for every single project that you do. If you don’t love a project, you need to learn to love it, like the taste of cauliflower. Without love, you will end up miserable and producing mediocre work. No one loves an average designer.
Have you ever tried to convince a child that the pants they chose are not the correct ones and that they need to change because it would be more appropriate? This explains what it is working with clients.
Now, don’t get me wrong some clients are heaven sent, 10% of clients are clear on what they want, and they completely trust you as a designer. These clients are the ones that make minimal changes and takes you out for lunch.
Patience needs to be applied mostly to other 90% of clients. The people who don’t know what they want, the ones who want PAPYRUS because it looks “VINTAGE”, or they want an existing company’ logo BUT different.
Patience needs to be applied mostly to the clients that want their interior space bright but with dark colours, soft but with concrete elements.As a designer, you just need to breathe, smile and pretend you are helping your granny install a printer on her new laptop. Having patience will help you stay sane and will make projects bearable.
Curiosity killed the cat, but you made sure the cat had a designer resting place. Asking questions and being curious is one of the vital elements of being an awesome designer. As young designers, we are all lifelong learners, which means that curiosity is engraved in the fibre of our being.We need to continuously be looking, asking questions and exploring. If Benjamin Franklin didn’t tie a key to a kite string and flew a kite in a thunderstorm, electricity might not be what we know it to be today. It is this element of exploration that fuels our creativity.
Get a monthly design magazine subscription, find a website that inspires you, not Pintrest, something with writing, something you can read and discuss. You are never too old to become and stay curious.
Have you ever left the house wearing something that is a little different to what you usually wear? For some reason, the colour yellow comes to mind. Commit to that outfit, stick to your guns and trust that choosing that yellow was the best decision you made. Being a designer has the same level of commitment. You need to trust the decisions you make, and that they are the correct ones and that those decisions are based on what the client wanted, if not it will be.
Trusting your eye will be the best tool and skill you will ever own, commitment to your choices will make you an excellent designer.Committing yourself to everything you do will build your LOVE for your job, grow your patience with your clients and fuel your curiosity to stay current.
Hein Liebenberg is a Graphic Designer and an all-round DIY fanatic, He is currently a full-time lecturer at Inscape’s Midrand campus where he lectures 1st,2nd and 3rd year Graphic Design. He enjoys twitter, anything that shines and architecture.