I Hate Graphic Design

The title says it all, but I want to scream and shout to the hills: I HATE GRAPHIC DESIGN!!!

Which, like many passionate statements I make, is not entirely true. I like it intellectually…I like typography and the detail of each letter. I like creating balance from grouping images, lines, or text. I love looking at posters and CD covers and creative works that other brilliant minds have thought up.

But I hate the act of creating it, the searching a blank mind to desperately come up with a concept that matches the client’s hazy, and often erroneous, vision of what the message should be. I hate mimicking other’s work, but many times clients aren’t open to my own vision of their message, and instead want me to copy that billboard or advertisement they saw that one time. Graphic design, in this sense, is like constantly being censored, and we have to content ourselves with whatever personal flair we manage to slip in. I hate the client most of all, both the ones that are disorganized and clueless and those that are know-it-alls. I HATE the constant revisions and late nights and last minute changes. I hate graphic design because I am awful at it, but as soon as anyone finds out that you know how to use the Adobe software, they instantly are your best friend and ask you to do things for them. I hereby solemnly vow that unless it’s paid or for my own purposes, I will never do any graphic design work ever again.

The context for all of this is that my major in undergrad was graphic design, and I am currently doing work for my Tae Kwon Do school for free. I really wanted to help them out, because they are such awesome people and they give me so much, so I offered to do some postcards for them…but I guess I’ve found the limits to my generosity. I’ve been working on it in all my spare time for over a month, doing innumerable revisions. It seems I can never satisfy them. Is this selfish of me? Should I be more generous of my talents? They have been so kind to me, and say I am practically one of their family. But they also run a business. Am I letting them walk all over me? Should I have asked for money? At this point I’m just doing what I have to to get it done, I’m no longer protesting or trying to actually make them look “good”. I’m doing exactly what they tell me to do. Is this a loss of artistic integrity? All in all, this whole thing has made me a bit bitter, as you can tell from the tirade above. Hopefully I can finish it soon so the bitterness doesn’t color my view of their friendship.

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5 Responses

  1. This makes me very glad that doctors have built-in rules (like the kind that could make you lose your license) for using their skills to help friends or family members (not that you can’t look at your neighbor’s goiter or your kid’s foot, but you know what I mean.) And I think in general, unless it’s for a cause you absolutely love and are totally committed to, it’s good to limit your pro bono work to a few suggestions or a consultation. I hope you get it finished soon and that everything turns out okay!

  2. I hate it sometimes too. I always feel the pressure to create a masterpiece because I think none of my work is good enough. But when you actually make a masterpiece, that feeling is amazing!

  3. man i’m with you on that, being a designer is great and you can really get fulfillment in making your own pieces but sometimes when it comes to the client it’s absolutely ridiculous, I used to do unlimited revisions but I have since learned that doing so would end up driving me insane.

  4. Being a Graphic Designer is awful. Contrary to what most people assume, the field pays horribly (even for skilled designers). Unless you have your own design business, you won’t make much more than $12.50 per hour, which is the kind of salary that most retail monkeys make by stocking shelves at Target and Wal-Mart. And most designers aren’t even offered health benefits by the design companies that employ them. Thank God I no longer work in the design field. What worthless major. I’m still kicking myself for having a Graphic Design degree. Ugh. I’m now in lifelong debt because I wanted to have a “creative” career. If anyone reading this is majoring in Graphic Design, change your major NOW. In fact, you’d be better off dropping out of college altogether, because all employers care about is the amount of real-world job experience you have.

  5. Totally agree! Wanted to be in the creative field, been doing it for 15 years now and i’m constantly having to take on freelance work to suppliment my income to support my family, the jobs shite, constant pressure to meet unrealistic deadlines and come in ‘Under f**kin budget’. Account handers seem to be able to reel off bullshit like and get you as deep in it as they can! Can make more money cleaning the streets (with overtime!). I’m looking for alternative work, but what the hell can a graphic designer do, other than design!!!???!

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