A Designer’s Guide To Surviving Being A Designer!

A Designer’s Guide To Surviving Being A Designer!
SHARE
THIS



In this guest post whiteGrey’s national experience design director,  (pictured below), offers his personal “designer survivor tips”… 

Sometimes I look back on my career and think “how the f*** did I get here”? I started my career a long time ago, before my first job, before I started college, when I used to pick up a pen and scribble pictures of golf ball packaging, Mavericks F-14 plane from top gun and soccer stadiums.

davy@2x

That for me was the start of my designer career, the work has changed a little, but my passion for it never waivers. However, I now see a lot of young designers being disheartened, particularly because of the commercial side of the business.

I completely understand that design can be discouraging, it can suck the life out of you when you hear “make the logo bigger” or “my cousin’s-son’s-daughter has Photoshop and has put together this wireframe for you”. I get it, that sucks. But it should, because being a designer sucks sometimes, it does hurt when you hear these things, though that is what makes you a designer. You’re empathetic, you ‘feel’ your work, you put your heart and soul into it, and when someone says stuff like that it’s hard not to be offended.

So here’s my guide to surviving design:

  1. Don’t take no crap from yourself!

If you don’t believe in something, or don’t think it’s the best you could do with what you’ve got, don’t put it out there. Bad work, breeds bad work — don’t put yourself in that position.

“The life of a designer is a life of fight. Fight against the ugliness. Just like a doctor fights against disease. For us, the visual disease is what we have around, and what we try to do is cure it somehow with design.” – Massimo Vignelli

  1. Know your why

Why did I want to become a designer? You don’t have to be right the first time you define your ‘why’, just having one will help give you focus and get you through the worst of briefs. Mine has been fairly simple for the last few years — ‘To do good sh*t and make people’s lives a little better’.

  1. Park the ego

Nothing is beneath you as a designer. No job too small or simple. You’re a craftsman/woman. If it’s small and simple, make it amazing. If it’s big and complex, make it amazing. This point was written for me, I can be guilty of a nose turn every now and again and I have to check myself. It’s easy to slip, but holding yourself accountable for your actions will make you a better person and designer.

  1. Don’t hide you

I’m Scottish, a little sensitive and a little fiery. I don’t mind showing it every now and again, and I don’t mind my team showing their true selves as well. It’s important to embrace your you, and show it. As long as you can again check yourself, be better next time and do good shit, you’ll be ok.

  1. Have a dream client or job

Mine is the PGA tour, or a big golf brand like a Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist or PXG. (Or doing the digital stuff for Top Gun 2)

I love golf, it’s the fourth love of my life after my wife and kids, design is fifth. So if the PGA or a brand came knocking if would be a no brainer. I know the only way I could do that is to do the very best work for them even to take notice. So I try on everything I do.

  1. Love what you do

Being a designer is the best job going. Dead-set. I can’t believe how lucky I am. I get to design day-in day-out (some cool stuff and some not so cool). It has shown me the world for FREE! I’ve met friends for life, who live throughout the world. I’ve met the craziest people in the craziest places, and it’s all because of design. Embrace the knot in your stomach when you get feedback from a client or director, and love making it even better.

“There is no such thing as a boring project. There are only boring executions.” – Irene Etzkorn

If you are a designer, LOVE IT. You are one of the lucky ones, if you don’t love it, the designers around you who do LOVE IT will leave you behind. Don’t waste your time doing something you don’t love.

I’m just waiting for the call from ‘Maverick’.

I get that the jobs aren’t always amazing, and some of them as so bad you want to scoop your eyes out, but look at your portfolio and you will realise that only a handful of projects ever make it in there, because they are special, they are incredible and they are rare events. But doing great or even amazing work on the stuff that isn’t in there ensure your name is top of the list when the amazing projects come up.

Being a designer is cool as f*ck, don’t waste it sweating the small stuff.

Latest News

Why Programmatic Needs To Become A Branding Machine
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Opinion
  • Technology

Why Programmatic Needs To Become A Branding Machine

In this opinion piece, Phil Murrell (pictured below), country manager for Australia and New Zealand at Sizmek, argues that programmatic ad spend needs to move up the branding funnel. When I started in digital advertising way back in 2004, we got our media insertion orders via the fax machine. We relied on that machine to […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Do Not Disconnect… Why The Telephone Is Still As Relevant For Advertisers As Ever
  • Opinion

Do Not Disconnect… Why The Telephone Is Still As Relevant For Advertisers As Ever

In this guest post, CEO of Delacon, Michael Center (pictured below), argues in favour of something we don’t hear too much a bout these days – the good old fashioned telephone… It’s 142 years since Alexander Graham Bell made his first call on 10 March 1876 to his assistant Thomas Watson, where he uttered the […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
An Apology To Salmat’s Karen Lewis
  • Media

An Apology To Salmat’s Karen Lewis

Whoops! B&T's stuffed up and this certainly comes with our sincerest apologies for any offence caused.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Adland Execs To Be Locked Up
  • Media

Adland Execs To Be Locked Up

Continuing adland's fascination with prison when it comes to charitable causes comes this latest trip to the slammer.

Australian Directors’ Guild Announces Mentorship Winners
  • Campaigns
  • Media

Australian Directors’ Guild Announces Mentorship Winners

Now in its second year, the Australian Directors’ Guild’s (ADG) Commercial & Content Directing Mentorship program announced its next round of eight mentoree recipients. The winners were announced at a special event held last night at FINCH, Sydney and attended by members of the screen and advertising industries. Acclaimed director, and ADG President, Samantha Lang, […]

Diversity Case Study Series: OMD
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Diversity Case Study Series: OMD

One need only look at the Cadbury Favourites chocolate selection to know it has nought to do with industry diversity.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Eyeota Deep Dives Into Australian Automotive Purchase Behaviour
  • Media

Eyeota Deep Dives Into Australian Automotive Purchase Behaviour

Eyeota, the global leader in audience data, has today released its latest results on automotive purchase intentions in Australia. The results provide a deep dive into what motivates the buyer and segments those into six different personas.

APN Outdoor Joins The AANA
  • Marketing
  • Media

APN Outdoor Joins The AANA

AANA's annual Christmas dinner and dance got a teensy bit more crowded following this announcement this morning.

QMS Introduces ‘The Lonsdale’ To Melbourne
  • Advertising
  • Media

QMS Introduces ‘The Lonsdale’ To Melbourne

Digital outdoor media company QMS Media has turned on a new premium landmark digital billboard situated in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. Delivering a commanding presence at the major intersection of Lonsdale and Russell Streets, ‘The Lonsdale’ offers extended dwell times to both vehicle and pedestrian traffic, impacting more than 2.2 million contacts per month. […]

Portrait of a woman looking through out the blinds. Office worker looking through window blinds
  • Opinion

The Lurking Brand Threats Facing CMOs

Treading on gardening rakes and possible alien abduction notable omissions from this CMO threats piece.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Women In Media Profile: Susannah George
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Susannah George

B&T is delighted to profile Urbanlist supremo Susannah George who, we understand, is not related to George Brandis.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ikon Lands Avis Budget Group Account
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Ikon Lands Avis Budget Group Account

B&T chooses and recommends Avis and John Karandonis shoes. Hang on, that was the end of Sale Of The Century.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Principals Appoints New Creative Director For Melbourne
  • Marketing

Principals Appoints New Creative Director For Melbourne

Branding design agency Principals has announced the appointment of Pip Ireland as its Melbourne creative director. Ireland, who has been freelancing with the agency for the past six months, has previously held roles at Designworks in New Zealand and Melbourne as well as Moon Communications in Sydney. Principals executive creative director Simon Wright said: “We’ve […]

Pureprofile Unveils Next-Level Audience Segmentation Offering With RDA Research
  • Media
  • Technology

Pureprofile Unveils Next-Level Audience Segmentation Offering With RDA Research

Global media and technology company Pureprofile has partnered with RDA Research to enable further audience segmentation across its audience profiles. RDA Research’s geoTribes is a unique classification system that rivals traditional geodemographic approaches by grouping consumers into fifteen ‘tribes’ based on their life stage and socio-economic status. Clients are then able to better understand consumer […]