I grew up in the midwest where being in healthcare, engineering, law and business were the favored professions. I had it hammered into my head that in order to make a handsome living and be respected I’d have to choose between one of those. Art and music were just fun hobbies to do on the side, you’d probably starve otherwise.
It was just my luck that what I excelled most at was art. I enjoyed science and really tried to motivate myself that becoming a doctor was what I should do. Multiple low math and science grades later I realized maybe I need to lean into what I’m good at, art. I wanted to figure out how I could make a respectful living doing something I loved. Being that I was never going to be a fine artist with my work in the MOMA, I stumbled upon graphic design, which housed two of my favorite subjects; art and science. It was like my whole world fell into place and I was able to be a cool artistic person while exercising my inner geek. I do what I love and I intend to prove my midwestern relatives wrong through my journey of this career path.
A Career in design is competitive and also seems to be the first to get rid of when it comes to budget cuts. This is a problem and it needs to be fixed. I think it all needs to start with educating companies on what values designers can bring to business.
Here are my top 5 reasons why designers are valuable:
1. They bring a creative perspective to problem solving
Some of the most intelligent people I have ever met have been designers. These people are able to think abstractly in a way that leaves you thinking “where did you come from?” This ability is not easy for most, but it’s much needed in our ever changing world and these types of people can help solve more than just visual needs. Design minds are extremely broad and feed on solving problems and thinking deeply about things, they need to be exercised not just put behind a computer to pixel away.
2. Their talents elevate business
As much as I’d like to say looks do not matter, they always do when it comes to attracting attention and gaining business. You can have the most wonderful product in the world, but if you don’t have good branding and working website, you might as well look forward to a low revenue of sales as a business. Designers add value to your business by taking what’s great about your company/product and translating it into a visual story. This then attracts more attention and adds to a companies success.
3. They lighten the atmosphere
Most designers are a child inside of a grown ups body. Our minds have the tendency to want to make every aspect of our life an experience. You’ll notice if you ever go into the marketing department of a company how the atmosphere just changes suddenly, you’ll see a ping pong table or small basketball hoop and think “Do these people actually work?” As much as you may think no, playing is an integral part of creativity and it helps to step away and play to maintain productivity. The ideas need to come from somewhere and online inspiration is just not the same as playing.
4. They're detail oriented
There is not one single person who calls themselves a designer who is not OCD about something. Whether it be typography, color or even the details of a wireframe. The absolute best thing you can add to your team is someone who cares about the little details so you don’t have to. Although they may seem inconsequential to an outsider, it will show in a final product and be taken more seriously.
5. They're tech savvy
A good portion of people who become designers enjoy working on a computer. They embodied the intuitiveness to know what to do and how to use it. Even if they don’t use a program they are able to sit down and figure it out in a matter of minutes. In a fast paced tech world these types of people are needed in a company to teach and keep the company up to speed with everything thats coming out.
Like all things, change takes time. I hope in my lifetime (which could be 101 years from now) I get to see graphic design in the United States valued in a way where young creative mines are able to go into it and know at 18 years old that they can get a job and not have to struggle. It’s important those creative geniuses in the making do not shy away just because they are told something else through societal stereotypes. You never know who could be the next Steve Jobs!
My solution is creating positions at in-house companies where designers are put into a role to problem solve more in strategic sessions, a creative brain has so much potential to add to innovation it needs to be utilized. There's a need as our world keeps wanting to do the next best thing and young creatives could be the the next person to invent it. Let's not discourage that growth.