Saturday, June 8, 2013

On Design

Last night I had a conversation with some non-design (I only specify so you have a better understanding of the situation) friends regarding freelance design. They couldn't understand why I thought to filter jobs and clients - one in particular that sparked the whole conversation. This was their standpoint:

"You're just starting out. It's good experience. Just do it. You don't need extra money? Well, if you don't want the money, I'll take it."

While this was a valid argument, I still felt myself disagreeing with their stand. Maybe the me from four years ago would've felt this way, but now that I'm older, have done a few jobs on my own, and have much more experience under my belt, I see things a bit differently. This was my reply:

"Every client you take on is a representation of yourself and your company. If you associate yourself with shoddy people or take on every job that comes your way just for "experience" and a few extra dollars, what does that say about you?"

Frankly, I don't want the "experience" of having to work with people who are going to give me headaches and are difficult to work with. The kind of people that make you wonder why a designer is even necessary because they just want it their way regardless of what you can bring to the table. Besides, I've had that experience and I want nothing more to do with it.

And I don't do graphic design because I'm in the business of making money. Trust me, if that were the case I'd have an entirely different career. I do it because I'm excited about it. I am enamored by the idea of helping a cause, a company, a person that I am passionate about. When I truly have love for whatever I am working on, I do my best work and money doesn't matter. It's only fun when you surround yourself with people who you care about. That goes for all aspects of life, not just design.

I just started a business with a co-worker and fellow designer on a whim. I guess we should have discussed values, objectives, priorities and how we wanted to run the thing before agreeing to get together. I'll take it though. I'll learn from it, and I'll grow from it, and I'll be better because of it. While freelancing solo is great, I know I can benefit from learning how to work in a partnership where arguments are one-on-one, where majority can't rule and where compromise is key. That's my standpoint - for now.