My name is Tudor, I work for Loopaa and I’m a designer. Or, if you prefer, a graphic artist.
A friend of mine once told me something that I will probably remember for the rest of my life: ”Being an artist is so much more than doing artsy things for people and getting paid. Being an artist means you were born with a superpower, something that few people have – the ability to escape from this world whenever you like and come back, just like that.”
Your mind, your heart, your intuition, somehow they give you the ability to time travel, freeze everything in place, change things by touching them, fly, see through anything or create a new world from scratch.
If it happens in your mind, then it has happened in at least one reality, therefore it is real.
How many people can do that? Do you realize how amazing that is and if you, reader, are an artist (even if you are inexperienced), do you realize how important it is that you realize it?
Although this is all very ethereal, just being an artist isn’t enough to succeed in life. But how should you proceed to connect with this power that lies within and mold it to the industry of today and at the same time be able to enjoy it and not feel like everybody is stepping on you? More seasoned designers will understand the frustration of having a vision of how a product should be and then having it picked at and modified by everyone who “thinks they know better”. Everybody has an opinion, of course, and a designer needs to respect the client’s wish, but how can you do that and keep your vision alive?
Don’t take it personally.
It is a difficult question to answer, it is like trying to describe to someone how to feel that inner balance when they ride a bike. You can’t. They attain it by practicing a lot. There will come a time when you won’t take anything personally anymore, you will understand that you are in control of the design, it is your vision and any external inputs are just pointers to get your vision to coincide with that of your client. You will have to steer the bike towards that direction but keeping the balance the way you feel is right for you. When you will take responsibility for your design you will understand that you have just unleashed a part of yourself into the world, you’ve added a unique touch to a piece of art that will live on, no matter how small or insignificant, it is something you created.Even if it is just a business card.Or a flyer. Those are things that will stand for you and will exist on their own like little creatures with no cognitive functions but with the ability to speak.
Don’t get lazy thinking you’re an expert.
You’ll never be an expert in design. Want to know why? Because the trends always change. But you can be an expert in feeling what a great design should look like. You’ll develop a super sense of merging your clients’ wish with your vision so that no matter how anyone picks at your design, you will always come up with something great because you will be in control. This is a slow process, so take your time and appreciate how you grow. Never think you’ve become this amazing star and that you can beat everyone’s design; that’ll make you look funny and it’ll mean that you haven’t learned anything. Being a great designer also means being able to wholeheartedly appreciate others and learn things from them.
If you’re serious about dedicating your life to this, then you are in for a ride that will take you all your life. Never stop or become concerned that you “don’t have what it takes” or “aren’t good enough”. Those are just barriers that you’ll bring down along the way.
One last piece of advice
Somehow it has always been this way but making a living just by being an artist can be a hard choice. If you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing then you won’t have a chance. You need a creed; find something you believe in and hook yourself to that, no matter what, don’t let go. I will close with my own personal creed – this is what keeps me afloat:
“Change the world, never stop trying, become amazing and passionate about who you are. Think differently. A simple mundane life isn’t for you, refuse it absolutely. Life doesn’t give you cookies, you bake them yourself. You can do so much more, stay crazy or become crazy if you aren’t already. If you find yourself in a proverbial dark pit where nothing seems to work, follow the creed. Become like this little kid that won’t let go of his/her toy. Mine! Mine! Mine! – your passion is yours and nobody can take that away from you, you can succeed even if you’re put against a wall – find someone you think is inspiring and strive absolutely to surpass him or her, then find someone else and do it again. Become a jack of all trades and push yourself so you’re never comfortable.”