Designing Like I Mean It

There's a question that's been on my mind quite a bit recently—what if every designer designed like me? What would the world be like if every designer worked with the same integrity, dedication and attention to detail as I do? Would it be a more beautiful and useful place, or would it be sloppier and less inspiring? The statement might sound trite, but it gives me pause when facing the temptation to just "bang the work out" as tight deadlines pile up one after another.

When I was fresh out of college I took a temporary job designing artwork in the screen-printing and embroidery department of sports shop. I was told by the owner that unless the customer paid to have original artwork created—which was never the case—that I was allowed a maximum of 15 minutes of design work per job. In the first few weeks at the job I naively attempted to comply with his mandate. I turned out 10–20 projects in a day. Since leaving the job, every once and a while I'll spot someone wearing something I designed while I was trying to stay under the 15 minute cap. It makes me wince. The designs reek of poorly chosen type and bad kerning. What I made in 15 minutes, is making the world an uglier place even four or five years later.

Making things for a living brings with it responsibility. The objects we create will last, often for much longer than we might anticipate, and people spend their lives looking at, using and living with them. Much of the reason that the general public is willing to put up with average, junky work, can be traced right back to us. Feed people enough shlock and they become accustomed to it. It can be easy to become frustrated by those who undervalue the importance of design, but every time a designer turns out mediocre, just good enough work it reinforces that undervaluation.

I don't want to perpetuate a cycle of mediocrity in the name of the next tight deadline. I want to make things that are excellent, even if they're small and might go unnoticed. I want to make things that I won't be ashamed of looking back on them five years from now. I want to make things that are beautiful and don't add to the clutter. I want to design, knowing that if everyone designed with my same work ethic the world wouldn't be worse for it.

1 comment:

Kelsin said...

And this is why people like us don't make good businessmen :)