Saturday, September 10, 2011

I am Not a Graphic Designer

I know what you're thinking:

"...but isn't that what's on your business card?"
"...isn't that what you went to school for?"

Yes. 40+ hours of my week are spent in front of the computer dealing with fonts, colors, patterns, and trying to squeeze 3 Word documents of text into a 4-panel brochure while still looking visually-appealing.

Desk at home

I don't just sit at my desk and make things look pretty. Many of those hours are spent researching, image-searching, problem-solving, and organizing data, images, and graphics into books, billboards, websites, and marketing components. Making things look nice is the perk of the job--it's the reason I pursued this stirring in my heart.

Recent project that just went live this week!

My experience traces back to highschool, when I started my own webdesign business for the sole purpose of paying for my expensive dance classes at a private studio. Then one day I realized I enjoyed designing the websites more than I enjoyed creating them. It was then that I realized that there was a career field that allowed you to design every day. It's funny because it has come full-circle and now I design interactive components at my current job.

Then it hit me--everything around me was designed by a graphic designer. The billboards I drove past each day, magazine pages, the back of the cereal boxes, and even the junk mail that arrived in my mailbox.

This is what I wanted to do. 

The more I got into design, the more I realized what I really loved about it. Hands down, illustration is my absolute favorite. This is my passion because it both excites and inspires me like nothing else in design does. My dream job would be illustrating books, products, packaging, and paper goods with kids in mind.

Jobs in the Field

Max Lucado's Let the Journey Begin book interior

A lot of people have asked what do you do at work? That's simple. I design. ...along with a million other things. My internship was at a book design firm where I was thrown into the mix of designing book covers and interiors and I loved it! Total creativity mixed with a wide variety of projects and cliental really worked well with me. Life is too short to live the same day twice.

Fall catalog for a clothing company

Interior spread

My next job was freelancing--which was great because I chose the hours and clients. However, with freelance it is often feast or famine and therefore I applied and landed a full-time gig at a design and communications company almost 2 years ago.

My desk at work

Marketing Guide that I designed this Spring

My degree is a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design + Advertising/Marketing with a minor in Bible and Theology, but that's not who I am. 

In this day and age, it is easy to let your career and your identity become intertwined. You aren't your career. Heck, if you're unemployed, that's not who you are--it is where you are in life. It's just a stop on your path--you'll get through it and move forward. However, you will always be you. Whether you have a job, or never work another day in your life--you'll always be exactly who you were supposed to be because you job doesn't form your identity--your personality does.

Jobs make up a huge part of our lives and they really can make or break us. It's hard to keep the perspective that our job title is not our name--especially when it is right under our name on our business cards.

That being said, I drive by billboards that I've designed, see my book covers at Barnes & Noble, and visit websites that I've coded, but at the end of the day, I am not a graphic designer.

I am Laura, and I like design.


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