Who Do You Design For?

As summer rolls around and most of us art students are done with classes, how many will actually paint, draw, design and create art in our free time? (Assuming one has free time)

College, no matter what you’re studying, is time consuming. Little sleep, no time to work, little money, and due dates every week. I know after my first semester of art school, I didn’t even want to look at a paintbrush or my computer for the rest of the break, I was tired and burnt out from art, art, art everyday day. My eyes hurt from looking at a dark Photoshop screen for sixteen weeks straight. Trust me, I know I’m not alone in this feeling but I started to lose touch with what brought me here in the first place: my art.

Spaced Out (2022): Wanting to play around with some cool techniques I learned about in Illustrator and this is what came of it.

Designing For Others

I was tired because I had deadlines, commissions and projects, designing for the pleasure of others. Although my creative opinion led me in one direction, clients and professors had other visions for what they wanted me to do. As a designer, I want to make my clients happy, even if the revisions aren’t my personal creative choices. By no means am I saying critique and feedback is a bad thing, I’m just stating that designing for others and designing for yourself consist of two different workflows.

As an artist, you must be careful making a career out of it. Not in the whole, “There’s no money in art!” and, “What are you going to do with an art degree?” concerns that your judgey aunt will bring up every Thanksgiving. There is a sense of vulnerability comes with being an artist when you are a subject to critique in every aspect of your work. Art is personal, it’s a voice without words and many artists use their creative medium as an outlet to express themselves in one way or another.

Designing For Yourself

Although I’m taking online classes and working an internship this summer, there was a blissful two week period as the spring semester was ending and before the chaos resumed and I wanted to do something for myself. Creatively, I couldn’t remember the last time I just picked up a pencil and sketched, doodled in Procreate, or made a funny gif to send to my friends. With no prompts, no parameters and no opinions other than my own, I was designing for myself. I ended up with a fun summertime illustration in which I was able to use a continuous Instagram layout (something I’ve always wanted to format). 

The same way it’s important to drink water, get 8 hours of sleep at night or call your mom every once and a while, it’s important to design for yourself! Stay in touch with what got you here in the first place. Forget about, “keeping everything on a grid!” because by creating art you enjoy, “off the clock” will help you mentally and creatively throughout work, school and commissions. 

As my first blog post on Where Creativity Works, the idea of Designing for Yourself has been ever present in my mind as I reconnect with art and remember why I wanted to be a Graphic Designer and an artist in the first place.

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