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.
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:
- 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
- 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’.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
A new right-wing news channel in the UK is scoring plenty of press, not only for its deliberate “anti woke” agenda but also for its advertiser boycotts. The new channel is called GB News and has already garnered quite the following. Since its launch on Sunday, it’s already beating rivals BBC and Sky News in […]
Saatchi & Saatchi Australia has appointed Georgia Jones as general manager of its Melbourne office. Jones joins from Clemenger BBDO Melbourne where she was head of business management working with clients including Belong, BMW and NAB. She previously held client side roles in London, with a focus on business transformation, data-driven marketing and customer experience. […]
Schwartz Media is congratulating Maddison Connaughton on her three years as editor of The Saturday Paper. Connaughton has decided to finish up her editorship this month. “It’s been an honour to edit the paper,” Connaughton said. “The Saturday Paper is one of the brightest voices in Australian media and I have been happy to see […]
As domestic travel booms, AUSTRALIAN GEOGRAPHIC has partnered with Tourism Australia. Together, they have produced a special edition that reveals the nation’s best-kept secret locations across all states and territories. The collaboration highlights the hidden gems on our roads less travelled, expanding tourism into many places that will no doubt welcome a boost to local […]
On Thursday night’s MasterChef ep, the chefs were tasked with cooking with classic culinary staple two-minute-noodles. Instead of serving them with a handful of shredded cheese and plenty of watery, dubiously beef-y ‘soup’ (as is the B&T preferred method), the chefs had to use the noodles to make something new. To a bonafide two-minute-noodle lover, that […]
Lauren Small, managing director of Carat Sydney has announced the appointment of Oliver Carthy as head of digital. This is a new appointment for the Sydney office with Carthy leading Carat’s digital offering and building best in class digital skills and capability, together with driving adoption of dentsu’s proprietary technology and platforms. Prior to joining […]
Research from EdBbirdie using Spotify data has identified the most popular songs to study to. After analysing thousands of studying and homework playlists on Spotify, American singer Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘drivers license’ came out as top song to study to. It featured on 48 study playlists, while other top songs included ‘Ophelia’ by The Lumineers, ‘Falling’ […]
Former Oasis guitarist and chief songwriter Noel Gallagher has announced he wants to sell the copyright to the band’s back catalogue so the tunes “pop up in McDonald’s adverts for the rest of time” and he can take the royalties and go live on a super yacht. With a number of artists currently selling the […]
Nine has announced a record six major sponsors for the 2021 season of adrenaline charged Australian Ninja Warrior. Leading health insurer AIA Australia joins Nutri-Grain, ALDI, Energizer, KFC and Bendigo Bank. Season five of Australian Ninja Warrior premieres Sunday June 20 and will feature innovative, bespoke in-show branding that compliments both the editorial of the […]
Cannes Lions has published its entry numbers ahead of Cannes Lions Live, which will run from June 21-25. 29,074 pieces of work have been entered from 90 countries, with entries spanning two years after the awards were paused due to the global pandemic in 2020. Simon Cook, managing director, LIONS, said that this was a […]
Dayna Stewart is the Business Director – Digital Marketing, Media & Creative Services at The Nudge Group. Here, she discusses the challenges that come with building a successful marketing team when working remotely. Before COVID-19 changed the way businesses work, most marketing teams spent their days together in a meeting room collaborating on the next […]
The line-up for the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Festival has been announced as the legendary event returns live in Las Vegas in September. This year, the epic two-day lineup for the iHeartRadio Music Festival main stage will feature performances by Billie Eilish, Cheap Trick, Coldplay, Dua Lipa, Florida Georgia Line, Journey, Khalid, Lil Baby, Maroon 5, Nelly, […]
You could say that Helen Xue has experienced a rapid career trajectory, although that might be somewhat of an understatement. In the space of five years, she successfully progressed from an Intern at Atlassian to the Chief of Staff for Platform and Enterprise (which included a move from Sydney across the Pacific to San Francisco). […]
Shop! ANZ is calling on shopper and retail marketing professionals from all retail related disciplines to participate in the first ANZ Shopper and Retail Marketing Industry Survey in four years. This important research provides a guide of where the retail marketing industry in Australia and New Zealand has come from and what is anticipated to […]
In this guest post, Ania Kubiak (main photo), A/NZ country manager at Lucid, offers her tips on how to align your brand with customers’ fast-moving expectations… In today’s digital world, the speed at which consumers’ perspectives and opinions on political and social environments is changing faster than ever before. Consumers are inundated with new information […]
Cartology, the retail media business of Woolworths Group, has further expanded its team with Martin Wood (pictured below) been promoted to head of strategic partnerships and Matt Gower (main photo) has joined the business as senior manager of research and insights. Wood will lead a new team dedicated to servicing the retail media business’s largest […]
CondÉ Nast, the publisher of publications such as VOGUE, Vanity fair, Pitchfork and The New Yorker has agreed to raise the minimum wage for employees after a campaign by the New Yorker union. The union had previously organised a protest, which saw New Yorker staff demonstrating outside VOGUE editor-in-chief Anna Wintour’s home. Placards at the protest had […]
GoDaddy has announced it has been named as the official website builder partner of the Australian Olympic team for the Tokyo 2020 Games. GoDaddy has a history of supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners in Australia. Many Australian Olympic athletes are small business owners themselves, running businesses and side hustle to help support the pursuit […]
MDC Partners (NASDAQ: MDCA), the company that owns agencies including 72andSunny, Anomaly and Media Kitchen, has expanded its global footprint in a partnership with This Is Flow. The Australian based indie will become MDC’s affiliate media planning and buying agency across Australia and New Zealand and will help manage global clients and participate on global pitches etc. however This is Flow will still remain 100% independent.