Ep 12: Your City Deserves a Better Class of Designer
Are you gonna give it to 'em?
This is the question I must constantly ask myself as an artist and creator. In fact, perhaps all of us designers should ask ourselves this question more often. As we sometimes can struggle with how to improve our craft in an extremely fast-paced world, I think we have to keep in mind what goes into producing betterment for ourselves, our clients, our colleagues, and our cities.
Betterment for Ourselves
Know yourself. Know why you love to design. Know how paramount you are to society. We cannot be confined to little cubicles all day working on logos, banners and websites. It is implicitly critical that we travel the Earth and experience newness. That we go mobile. That we take new sensory journeys. Taste new foods. Learn new languages. An adventure in the world of design begins far before we ever combine pen(cil) with paper.
Future generations of the world will look back to the work we create, document and chronicle now. Our responsibility is to artistically collect and present the world of today and tomorrow like no one else can. Being an artist or a designer is the greatest job in the world. We can paint what only the mind can dream. We can build entire cities. We can make simple products out of complex ideas. Let's ensure that everything we're doing is meaningful and purposeful by knowing and frequently improving ourselves. Only then can we be of more substantial service to others.
Betterment for Our Clients
We have to inform the clients we serve of why they should be so trusting of us. Why our creative license holds merit. Why though we are sometimes interchangeable, we are rarely replaceable. I believe any great artist or designer deserves to charge whatever they feel is warranted to do the job like only they can do it. A great artist will go to bat for their client. Will work tirelessly to help grow their client's business. Will be completely critical at extracting what's in their client's mind and realizing it into a 3D environment.
Being better for our clients means creating monumental relationships and partnerships. It involves neither party treating the other like they're beneath them. Our clients should be more than paychecks. They should inspire us to be better artists and designers. They should help build us up. They should care about what's going on in our lives. Likewise, us designers should be more than artistic robots. We should inspire our clients to be better executives, leaders and businessmen. We should help build them up. We should care about what's going in their lives.
Betterment for Our Colleagues
Any designer that has mentored another aspiring designer will tell you the greatest reward is in watching them bloom. There's nothing quite like having someone come to you for guidance. How wonderful it is to share your knowledge, to learn more about yourself and to find yourself within the conversations you have with someone else. I don't want my pupils to be like me, I want them to be the best versions of themselves they can be.
We should never envy another designer. Instead, be motivated to go further in your own niche. And we should always be willing to share our triumphs, failures and knowledge with one another. After all, none of us can singularly handle every design project in the world and there's more work to be done than there are people that can do it incredibly well! A society with extraordinary craftsmen is a thriving, rich society. So let's be there for our colleagues, both young and old, the way we wished for mentors and guidance for us when we were coming up.
Betterment for Our Cities
We can impact the town and cities we occupy with the power of crystalizing the imagination. Murals. Malls. Museums. They're all around us. Let's get out and see more of them. Then, let's too leave our marks (us artists are so territorial). Sometimes, I'm guilty of forgetting about my immediate environment, while on the quest to have worldwide outreach. I live in a beautiful city with flourish pockets of town always on the crop-up. Working from different coffee shops throughout the city at least once a week ensures that I learn more about how to better serve it.
This is also about the importance of being more active in your local community. Participating in more events. Sponsoring movements that are in line with your beliefs. Joining Meet-Ups with likeminded folks to discuss hot topics. Knowing our cities in and out will expand our creative horizons for better problem-solving because we are out making new relationships, yielding new thought processes and ideas. While we design on paper, tablets and computers for a living, we must constantly design and refine our lifestyles, our habits and our relationships. Your city needs you.
By keeping these aspects of our lives of the utmost care and respect, I believe we can be finer artists and designers. Whether you're a first-class graduate or a world-class creative director, be of the class of the betterment - for yourselves, for your clients, for your colleagues, and for your city.