Stay in your lane, bro?

At the end of the day, every day, I’m a graphic designer. Type, color, shape, graphics, layout, process. That’s where my expertise lies. That’s what I strive to get better at—to grow, to evolve, to master.

But one key feature of a graphic design career is the ability to work with an endless amount of other careers in other industries. I’m good at communication and I use that skill to help others communicate what they need to in the best way. I’m constantly exposed to disciplines outside of my purview. I’m able to get familiar enough with something and then tell its story even though I knew little (or nothing) about the thing before a working relationship was formed.

That’s my job. Within that, in order to get better, sometimes it’s helpful to push yourself in your own established framework. If that’s coding or animating, that totally fits. But not really for me. I’m more interested in writing. About design, sure. But also topics that fall outside of the world of design. Topics that aren’t in my lane. But with writing, I think that’s okay.

I’ve written a bunch about politics and have put together shorter essays about things that have happened to me. Coming across one of these stories and tying it back to me as a designer probably makes no sense. And I’m totally good with that. Ultimately, I’m trying to get better at writing. I feel a good way to do that is to not only write about what’s in my lane—colors, layouts, process—but whatever I might know a little something about.

Certainly weird things that have happened in my life. And politics, which aligns with the activism-focused aspects of my design practice. Still, it’s outside of my lane because I don’t work day-in, day-out as a political operative of any kind. Again, I’m a designer, I’m just interested in other things. Not as a career, but as something to try to distill in a way that communicates. I may fail at this, which is more than fine. I’ll just keep trying.