I am in my 5th year in a PhD program, yet I am still not convinced that this is indeed, it. for. me. I always, always do this. I wont fully subscribe to anything. To be wholly engulfed by a singular ethos is to be blind. I am on my way to becoming a scientist. But I still sometimes choose to see the world in a typeface-loving, Adobe Illustrator-knowing, color-theory touting graphic designer way. This vision is my safety net. Well, the net is made of air and tiny rainbow-colored bubbles and illusory polka-dot guinea feathers. And it sure as hell won’t catch me if I fall.
I recently tried to design a logo and I remembered how difficult it is. Not only is it difficult to dream up the concept and execute the design, but its difficult to convey to your client that your visual idea is good. Everyone who can see has an opinion on design. Its the most subjective thing in the world. Every color reminds someone of something; grandma’s blanket, the couch from goodwill, toothpaste. And even the very same color is very literally perceived differently by different people. My client kept saying the blues I chose looked grey. They were not at all grey in my eyes. Also, sometimes people who do not identify with being “creative” have a hard time understanding all the work that goes into designing a logo. They think you can whip it up in a few hours. They are wrong.
My old boss, who designed “I heart NY”, had some very wise words for keeping clients in check, “You can’t have it fast, cheap and good, you can have two of those things, but never all three. If its fast and cheap, it wont be good, if its good and fast it wont be cheap, and if its cheap and good it wont be fast”. He is, most of all, a superb businessman-as-designer. One has to be an advocate for the art. And you have to find a vernacular to describe those intangibles that the designer captures. You have to tell an aesthetic story that makes clients feel good. Through that, you can teach them to see what you see.
These recent difficulties made me relieved that I am not a full time designer anymore. I can’t tell you what to see. I don’t want to tell you what to see. In fact, I don’t even want to tell you what I see, because my vision is certifiably littered with personal artifacts, secret references and illusions of illusions.