"Let's go with version one." - Said no client ever
"Design is so simple.That's why it's so complicated."
~ Paul Rand
We're always taught that the creative field is extremely subjective. While some might think you’re the god of modern design, others might believe that you're worse than Kamal R Khan – exceedingly deluded about your position in the industry. That is exactly why if you ever ask a designer how he’s doing, the answer will typically always be that he has no idea where his life is headed.
As designers, we’re a grossly underrated community. Every time I watch a fashion show, someone ends up saying ‘Who’s wearing this stuff?’ And while I defensively respond that art is a form of expression and this is couture, so it doesn’t really need to be wearable, deep down even I’m thinking, ‘Yeah but if no one is wearing it, why are they even making it?’ Then my loyalty toward design kicks in and I curse myself for having the thought. But let’s face it, we’ve all at some point or the other, seen a design and thought, ‘WHAT IS THAT?’
This is because design is subjective. What looks good to you, may be crap to others. As creatives, we do tend to get away with a lot, thanks to two magical words in the English language - ‘artistic license’. But even artistic license can only get you to a certain point because once the client says ‘I’m not ‘feeling’ it’, no matter what your explanation is or how many hours you’ve spent trying to get it right, it’s going to change. Why? Because the design that you thought was the best work of your life, was probably the worst thing he’s ever seen. And once again, you’re back to feeling like KRK.
Like most other designers, I’ve received my fair share of rejection. Client briefs completely altered after the assignment is finished, deadlines pulled forward, legally binding copy added at the last minute that singlehandedly manages to throw off the entire balance of the design – I’ve been through it all. The problem is that since people think it’s done on a laptop, it’s not too hard to change. WRONG! You won’t stop an architect in the middle of designing your office to tell him that instead of the office, you now want a sports club. Then why do it with your graphic designer?
So why do we do it? Why do designers endure this kind of rejection and still continue to be a part of this field? Aren’t there other creatively satisfying jobs that will pay the bills?
Well, there might be, but honestly we do it for the thrill. We do it because what we create becomes a part of someone’s life. The logo we designed for that fashion brand is now in millions of homes, the website we developed for that company solves problems at the click of a button, the icons we created for that street sign help an illiterate person survive in the modern world. We have the ability to make life simple and that kind of power gives us a high that no drug ever can.
Oh and we also do it because well, what other profession allows you to sit at home in your boxers, munch on a bag of chips and watch the latest Game of Thrones episode while you work, eh?