You remember that feeling you had on your first day of college, when you were walking through the gates of your faculty, on your way to be taught the first course in designing, thinking: "I cannot believe they will teach me something I already love so much! How amazing that people will end up PAYING me for doing something that I am passionate about!
Let's stop right there because as a graduate Graphic Designer and one who has been in the field for 4 years now, I can assure that this will be your final good thought
related to Graphic Design and Art in general.
If you have made the same mistake I did and thought that Graphic Design is the closest thing you'll be to a well paid artist, you are dead wrong and if you are reading this now before going to college, listen to this advise that I am giving you, because you will be met with a huge disappointment later in life.
From the moment you step into the field of design, you will meet, in your opinion, the most ignorant people alive. These people will take the form of Marketing Managers, Sales Managers, General Managers and and of course, the inevitable clients. As a designer, you don't know design.
From day one, your motivation will be shattered the moment you realize that your artistic eye and expertise as a graphic designer do not matter at all. 99.5% of the time, the powers that be at your company will have zero knowledge of what is "harmony in design", "rules of design" or anything you have spent the last four years being taught. They will only care about a beautiful
design, and believe me, "beautiful"
will vary from the Marketing Director's office to the Sales Director's.
They most likely graduated from Business School (if not inherited the company from their father) and surprisingly, they will have an opinion about your design even before it leaves your computer, sometimes even your own head.
Apparently what they forget to teach you at college is that you, as a designer who have studied, researched and worked till the break of dawn, have no clue what designing is. Only the people who get paid more than you do.
But there is one rule that all design firms share. If the design is approved, they will take the credit for it. If the design is rejected, you will take the blame for it. You are a 'design producing' machine.
Another obvious piece of information they will forget to teach you at college is that you are not a human being who needs to be in a healthy environment to be able to produce a good design.
You will notice in time that you are not better than the machine you are working and pretty much the same concept applies for YOU and your PC (Mac). Much like you click a button and expect the software to react in less than 2 seconds, your superiors will "click you" and be expecting you to produce a "really creative, never-before-seen design" within the hour.
Forget the "I need time", the "I need creativity" or the "Can I breath" shit that you used to pull on your teachers at college, because this won't work anymore. You are expected to give out your best on time, every time, given that your best meets what your superior think is aesthetically acceptable, not what YOU consider aesthetically acceptable. After all, you are here to design, not to give your opinion! The client knows more than you do
If your lucky star was shining bright and you were able to convince your directors that the design is client-worthy, fear not: the client will take over and reject the design because, he, as the owner of a fast food restaurant or a supermarket, knows which design sells and which doesn't. His expertise in the food industry automatically reflects on his designing skills and he will waste no time is giving you his opinion on the project that he hired you to do!
He will do whatever he can to change the design back to what he originally thought, even though you are most likely pulling your eyes out at the ugliness that is now being called "design", but you will be reassuring yourself by saying: "It's OK... as long as I am getting paid"And it is as this point that you realize your true purpose.
You are not
here to come up with the idea, design it and market it. You are here to apply other people's ideas.
You are here to apply your software skills, which you could have gained by taking a 4 months course at some institute. You are here to listen to your superiors, to your client, and sometimes, to the client's mother and after everyone gives his opinion, it will be passed back to you to "finish it off".
This will of course affect another dream you used to have, which is going freelancing.
Freelance is the escape word for every designer, which is a sort of a "I am my own boss" feeling that will again be lost from you when you realize that the client would rather pay you a little bit less than nothing. Good luck with convincing him that he should hire you and not the punk who will take the same job for 10% of the payment you're asking. Don't even think about using words like: "I know design", "I know what sells" or "It's my job
to know", because he will only be thinking of one thing: "I can get my design for much cheaper".
I will not even begin on the shit storm that comes out from freelancing, such as you running after your clients for the money they legally owe you, the back and forth corrections and adjustments or the unbelievable amount of ignorance you will meet.
Sadly, this is the field we are working in today. A job that was supposed to be personal and enjoyable is slowly turning into the most hated field out there, and one that is likely to die soon with all the "free templates" websites out there, which require only a little knowledge in how to press "download" to get any design you can think of.
To anyone who is reading this and still didn't get into the field, believe me, it's all the same everywhere. Even jumping from one company to another will not change the fact that people will always think they know more than you. No one will let you do the work you are hired to do.
You are no more than a mere tool, a middle man between their ideas and the software they don't know how to operate.
You have no opinion, you have no designing skills and you most definitely have no money to stop caring.