In the year and many months Obamacare was worked on, with all the hearings, all the testimony, all the speeches, all the effort to make concessions to Republicans, still not a one of those know-nothings supported it. Instead, they stalled and whined and attacked relentlessly. In the years since its passage, they have shouted “repeal” at every opportunity. They kept shouting all the way until they actually had the chance to repeal the law but instead, thankfully, Republicans were more interested in shouting rather than legislating.
... so many ideas that failed to materialize, designs that were sub-par, writing that didn’t make sense, campaigns that were not successful, suggestions that were stupid, concepts that were thrown away, projects that fell flat, final files that looked sloppy, graphics that weren’t shared by any one, posts that weren’t liked by any one, solutions that were wrong, epiphanies that didn’t resonate, and plenty of times where everything just felt off and wrong and stupid.
And yet, we keep going anyway.
Ask any committed practitioner in any creative profession and they will tell the same thing.
So there you go, I’m being redundant again.
These things seem odd to me when you experience them again for the first time in awhile:
- TV Commercials
- Catholic Mass
- Airport Security
- The band Rush
- Professional Wrestling
- Big Gulps
- Cable News
- Car Salesmen
- All snacks made by Hostess
In all of these, there is either an obvious or elusive alternative. Regardless, they’re just odd.
My answer: No.
Different question: Should designers also write?
My answer: Most definitely.
Design and writing are more intimately interconnected than design and code. (Do architects also build the house?) If you want to be able to say something with what you’re designing, you have to know what you’re saying before you even think about visuals, typography, color, or layout. A lot of times the process fuses all these things together precisely. If you can’t write, how is that fusion ever going to be precise enough?
Regardless, in the end, a designer must be able to think* goddamnit. Whether with design and code, design and writing, or design and more design. So whatever that thing is that you boldly strive for in the darkness and in the light, do that, and do it well.
* I’m not specifically talking about the ever-so-popular “Design Thinking Industrial Complex.” Not even close.
Awards for design work are weird. Recognition is nice. I like to brag about my skills. But awards don’t really mean anything. They cost money to enter and the ROI is really unclear. It’s close to zero, probably negative. Anyway, I digress.
Battling big decisions and how to proceed, that’s always difficult. Where do you want to go? Where do you need to go? Adding some distance can help.
Over the last few years, I’ve been able to take some very disconnected vacations. One time in particular, high above the Pacific, my mind wondered to all sorts of things. When it came to work, it was all about what to take on next. What collaborations to focus on. How to setup things to get certain types of clients. What personal projects would most challenge myself as well as bring the most enjoyment.
One potential endeavor I was battling in my mind, in the days before leaving on vacation, didn’t really come up. Maybe that’s because the distance proved I wasn’t all that into it, at a core level. Or maybe I was just shutting it out because I knew deep down it’s what I should do, despite it being the most disruptive and difficult.
Returning back into the flow of the working day-to-day, even though no exact answers presented themselves, the distance and the perspective it provided were valuable. What you hone in on at a distance should never be discounted. It could be the key to unlocking your path, where to go at the fork in the road, because it allows you to get out of your own way.
Outrage fatigue. Yeah, I get it. Because there’s so much to be fucking mad at in this current moment. I mean good goddamn.