I am a graphic designer. I am an artist. I make things.
I attended the AIGA Fresh Dialogue 27 session on Design Dualities and left the auditorium feeling inspired. Four very talented designers devoted to their careers are also painters, sculptors, illustrators, and makers. Mike Perry, Keetra Dean Dixon, Andrio Abero and Timothy Goodman shared their philosophy on the duality of artist and designer is what sets their work apart.We all get asked the question, "What do you do for a living?" If the question was asked to Mike Perry about a year ago, he would have answered"I am a graphic designer". Now he says, "I am a maker." Maybe not the best answer to tell someone, but I can agree with him. I am a graphic designer, a painter, an illustrator and many other things. In general, I make things that I am passionate about.A few important questions came up during the dialogue like, How can you make your work stand out in this competitive industry? or How do you continue to make fresh new work in your career?
Your work stands out when there is a twist, something unusual that has meaning. We all get inspired by things we have never seen before. One way to stay fresh is force yourself to stay on your toes. If you are working on a personal project, give yourself a tight deadline. Tim Goodman says "Spot illustration to graphic design is like freestyle to hip hop. You have to come up with an idea quickly and execute it successfully." A good example of this would be the illustrations you see in the New York Times. It's a challenge to stay fresh in your career especially when you have a certain style. You have to push through the boundaries of what is comfortable to attain a new discovery.
The night ended with one of my favorite analogies. Graphic Design is like playing sports. You use your brain muscles. You have to be fast and swift, coming up with concepts and executing them quickly. All of the 100's of charcoal drawings you create in figure drawing Freshman year are just your warm ups for the big game you play in the real world.