I don’t design for dollars. I run a business for profit, but that isn’t the same thing. Income is incidental; an effect, rather than the cause. I design from my heart. As a result, people are willing to pay. It’s a healthy exchange, and a wonderful way to carve out a living.
I design because I love it. It is only when I pause that odd things start happen, and the world outside adopts a different hue.
I am a designer because when I stroll the streets of my city, I cannot help but admire the storefronts and sandwich boards, newspaper stands and crumpled pieces of paper, bobbing down the boulevard. Everywhere I hang my gaze, I find typography to study, each bit leaving me to wonder whether I would have made different decisions.
I am a designer because I feel the pride of the trade, thickening my blood. When I come upon a sticker, slapped to the back of a bumper with type so small it can’t possibly be read without collision, I wonder about the designer’s method, and question his concern for the eyes of his audience.
While in a darkened theater, it is the opening credits I most anticipate; pacing, typography, layering, composition, and mood; music and image mingling together…every sequence like a semester of school.
While I hate watching the news on TV, I love the first few minutes. There is always a tremendous amount of information pressed inside a tight vice of time and space. There are head shots and logos, stock quotes and headlines, cityscapes and graphics. A million pixels swirling in different directions, yet all of them working together. It is beyond fascinating, and I cannot turn my gaze.
I first became involved with graphic design because I didn’t like what I encountered online. Too many people were trying build a booming businesses, yet I could see the reason for their failure by simply glancing at their site. Would you give your money to someone who believes blue looks best with orange vertical stripes? Sites like these left me certain I could do better, chased by a hunger to do so.
Of course there are great sites. The one-in-a-million URL that has 96 awards assembled in the footer; sites that are so good I cannot help but feel a wince of envy. I see those sites and wonder why I’m a graphic designer at all. These are the moments when I start to lose myself, and doubt my own abilities. I start reading and rereading ream after ream on graphic design, and familiarizing myself with the latest tutorials. It is important to keep my talent sharp, I know, if am to stand any chance at all.
I am a designer because I am not slick enough for politics. I am, however, unwilling to let things slide as I see them. Design is how an artist changes the world, even if only a single page at a time.
I am a designer because it means I am able to meet my constant observation with never ending wonder.