I have to say that Graphic Design isn’t a career. And in fact I didn’t choose Graphic Design, in a way it chose me and I just couldn’t not to reply to the call. So there you go, I disproved the heading.
Let’s look at why it isn’t a career. See, I strongly believe that career as a notion was invented as a carrot stick, to lure people pull long hours at the jobs they don’t love on the premise that one day they will be on top of it. What “it” is – none knows, as people who seemingly got it, seem to want something else and not remember why they wanted “it” in the first place.
To explain more, I want to introduce (or reiterate, depending whether you know it or not) – a concept of “ikigai”. Wikipedia explanation is as follows:
“Ikigai is a Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being”, it is very similar to the French phrase Raison d’être. Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. Such a search is regarded as being very important, since it is believed that discovery of one’s ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life.”
I think three parts of it: Graphic Design is what I love, am being paid for and good at – are self-explanatory. But the part that puzzled me is “What the world needs”. And after some soul-searching and reading I realise that yes – world does need beautiful designs. Why?
Why world needs beautiful Graphic Design
Before I started studying it, I didn’t realise that decisions of whether I pick up a product or download and use an app were meticulously planned by a team of User Experience and Branding experts months, years before I even heard of that product. And behind that – is constant drill into the consumer’s mind and figuring out ways to promote the necessary action – whether it’s download, buy, engage or do.
However I also read into the behavioural science and the way design and technology can be used to create harmful addictions. This article from The Atlantic dives into detail of that. As I see that technology and design can be both – for bad and for good, I realise that posters explaining how you can contribute to reducing climate change, a website that raises money for a refugee crisis, an app that helps elderly stay connected with wider community – all need good design. In fact, they need kick-ass designs, because rivals that create addictions and promote meaningless consumption are well ahead of the enterprises fighting for the good guy.
In addition, small businesses, their boundless appetite for risk and innovation inspire me. I understand this experience first hand and going into freelancing with such a specialty is something I could not not have done. If I could work with the business with a positive agenda to help them succeed with my work on their logo and branding – this will for sure make my day count.
So here we are. I’m not designing because of a promise of a big year-end bonus or promotion. I’m not doing it to earn attention from my boss. I do it, because this is something I love doing – day in and out, pulling late nights but throughout, filled with purpose and inspiration.