Design Life

8 Design and I

I hate design. There, I’ve said it.

To be precise, I detest working as a graphic or ui or ux designer. As a web designer, even more.

The work process is about 5% creativity, 50% routine pixel-pushery and 50% puffery. And yes, the bad maths is part and parcel, too.

Don’t get me wrong. I pay attention to design. I despise shoddy layouts. But at its core, good design is pretty simple to master. You follow about ten basic rules, pay attention to details, and don’t do stupid shit. It’s simple. And boring and repetitive.

But to be a great designer, takes a lot more. You have to be a very odd sort of talent that loves details more than anything. I don’t, I really don’t. When I run into the work of adapting text and visuals for different media, I vacillate, procrastinate, and violently put off the project as much as possible. I’ll never be a great designer.

I love creativity, art, stories, history, people, politics, writing, movies, books. The work of actual design? Please.

You thought this post was about design? Nope. Another shell-fish self-help piece.

See, I’ve recently gone freelance again. It’s not the first time, but I’ve got a bit more experience and I’m starting to comprehend that there is only one resource I control that determines if I stand or stumble: me.

I think and imagine and draw and write and create for a living, and when I like a project, I can work on it for twelve hours a day, six days a week. When I don’t like it, I can spend eight hours getting started on it, before panicking around 4 p.m. about where the day went. This situation is a pain in the ass and one reason why companies, even crappy ones, are so useful: motivation outsourcing.

That’s no help when I’m my own boss. What does help is taking note of what work drives me by itself, and what work forces me to be my own worst slave master.

Compared to the pain and self-punishment I go through every time I have to churn out seven variations of a logo; line-editing, proof reading, translation, copywriting, illustrating slides, painting walls, carrying bricks, and walking up and down a mountain for hours on a futile motivation manipulation mission are all wonderful, life-affirming experiences.

Ah. It’s clear.

Design. You were good to me. It’s not you. It’s me. I hate you. Farewell.

Or nearly. Just this last project.

Lords of Light help me.

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