When I think about what graphic design means to me, two separate thoughts start in my mind. First, I think of graphic design as my job. It’s what I do Monday-Friday (and sometimes Saturday and Sunday!) It pays my bills and opens opportunities each day to meet new people, learn about new things and solve communication problems creatively. As my job, graphic design means to me working with people to help them mold messages that communicate to their audiences, encouraging them to think outside of the box and explore the opportunities to design pieces that are smart, intuitive and answer questions.
However, when I think of what graphic design means to me only in the context of my job, it leaves out some of the aspects that I love! To me personally, graphic design is my voice. It is the form of communication that I am most comfortable using to express what I’m thinking. Some people write books, or music, or give great speeches to express their voice. My tools are colors, images, shapes, type, paper, and media. I love listening to a problem and seeing pictures pop into my head. I love the journey of trying to create a design that makes me think differently and I love when my mind is racing with life’s daily challenges, I can sit down, start designing something and within a few minutes feel calm. Graphic design is how I communicate.
Second, with all of the aspects of design that I love, their are also aspects that I don’t love! There are days I feel I give an outstanding presentation and think, they are going to go for it, and then it doesn’t happen. In that moment I have to be prepared to find a compromise with everything I love and don’t want to compromise. I don’t love meeting a client who informs me they don’t want to pay a certain amount for a project because their daughter’s friend who knows Photoshop can do it for free. And I don’t love when I get a client’s mockup back and they have inserted it into PowerPoint and designed over it because they think it looks better.
So, in the end, what does graphic design mean to me? It’s like my marriage! I love it to pieces and can’t imagine my life without out, but it requires a lot of patience, communication, sometimes compromise and a ton of humor!