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Design Is A Service, Unless It Isn’t

Postedon Jul 29, 2015in Design
Design is a Service

Illustration by Ryan Kholousi


I’m not just writing here. I’m also contributing to the B² Interactive blog on a regular basis. I’m passionate about design. In the future, I’d like to write more about why graphic design as a “day job” (I hate that term) is an excellent choice for an aspiring cartoonist. You learn deadlines, production, and conceptualization. You learn how to clearly and visually communicate.

Here is an excerpt from one my latest post, Design Is A Service, Unless It Isn’t:

Design is a service. It isn’t art.

I’ve seen plenty of reactions to this realization over the years. You can spot the designer going through this easily enough. They’re the ones fighting with the client’s business core. They throw budgets right out of the window. They make eyerolling into an event so aggressive that you can almost hear it.

I describe this period as “second adolescence, but this time with a credit card.” If they survive this period, they seem defeated. Going through the motions. Completely lost. Sometimes, though, they get excellent at their craft. And it’s these folks I want to write about. They have rediscovered art.

I look for designers who are into some artistic pursuit outside of graphic design. Something that they can have just for themselves. It can be painting, music, writing, or, in my case, cartooning. Whatever. It will inform their work. Encourage it. Ask them about it. Having an outside passion helps that transition in innumerable ways.

Read through the end. Especially if this is something you are grappling with in your design career. If you want some extra reading, check out The Gift (Amazon Affiliate Link) by Lewis Hyde. It helped redefine my self-worth as an artist and a designer. Or if you don’t have the time for that, check out Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro. It’s a quick and inspirational read. I very much enjoy his work.