Ten years ago, I had a very secure job in the advertising department of a major big name retailer where I was able to design and steer promotion. I was respected and I had a reputation as a good art director. I got to go into NYC on occasion for photo shoots (which was a bonus), but I was bored.
I didn’t want to be there forever like some other designers that I knew. A friend of mine named some of these old timers as “driftwood.” They sat in front of their computers like aliens, staring at their strange grey boxes in fear and incompetence, longing for their drafting tables and a t-square. I didn’t want to be an old timer. I didn’t want to become driftwood – out of touch and not viable anymore. So, I just woke up one morning and decided to quit and go freelance. I had nothing lined up, but the following Monday I found a gig. For the last ten years I have worked steadily for various clients as a freelancer. I have to say that I’ve enjoyed going to different places and learning something new at each turn. I think it’s made me more creative and more resourceful over the years.
Design has changed since that big advertising job. It’s not just about the graphics and communication. It’s about user interface and marketing surveys and what will bring you the most click-throughs. I’m not sure that I’m that interested anymore. It’s probably a bad thing to admit on some level since it would be easy enough to walk that path and make a paycheck, but I want something else – something more authentic. I’m on the hunt for the next thing. I just don’t know what that is yet.