Working as a Graphic Designer is not as glorified as many make it out to be. Sure we sit behind our fancy computer setups, sketching ‘pretty pictures’ in our Moleskin notebooks and can do business from the comforts of our own homes, but it can also be one of the most stressful, involving and cutting edge jobs out there.
Graphic design is in an industry that technically and creatively evolves faster than any other profession in my opinion. Designers constantly have to learn new software, stay on top of trends, have our work critiqued and displayed on a ‘pedestal’, manage tight and strict deadlines, consistently stay creative…and when we have time, live our daily lives. We play many roles, wear different hats and face many challenges daily. There are many days when I throw my hands up in the air out of exhaustion and frustration, but in the end there is nothing I rather do with my life and career.
Below I asked a few graphic and web designers what they thought was the hardest and most challenging part of being a Graphic Designer:
- @studiorohan: As a designer you are constantly trying to improve. In this industry if you are standing still, you’re falling behind; you are constantly expanding your portfolio, your designs, your knowledge, your career and more.
- @sthursby: Managing expectations. Not only do we expect the best from ourselves, but our clients do as well (with good reason). Convincing those in power that a winning concept cannot necessarily be immediately conjured out of thin air is a challenge.
- @joelbeukelman: The reality that everyone has an opinion on what looks good/right. A patient would never tell the doctor how to fix their broken bone… nor would a customer tell a mechanic how to fix their oil leak, but a business owner will definitely tell their designer that emerald green and yellow would be the best colors for their corporate identity.
- @ClaraCharlotte: (a graphic design student) When I first started my studies I was convinced that perfectionism is the hardest part. And it’s hard to stop being one. A layout never screams “I’m done now, leave me alone!” Now I’m convinced that the hardest part is talking to non-designer folk about your work. Mostly getting the client to understand and appreciate your work.
- @kiryn: Whilst designing is the job, it’s all the complimenting work that keeps it flowing, staying focused on generating new client work and networking.
- @pxls2prnt: coming up with an intriguing concept. A concept that will capture the minds and emotions of those who view the work.
- @creativeworld: communicating your design and ideas to other people – at the end of the day if you can’t talk about and explain your design, it may never see the light of day. These days, great designers need to be great sales people too.
- @nikibrown: balance and time management. I’m two years out of school and still find it hard to manage that work-life-fun-freelance balance.
- @flyingorange: not letting my creativeness overtake the client’s objective.
- @thepurpledoor: continually pushing the envelope to keep my style fresh and evolving.
- @culinaryculture: Interpreting the things that people say for what they really mean. A good designer has to be intuitive and able to see through to the truth of what a client is looking for.
- Derek Land: trying to handle regular office stuff whilst also keeping up with design, coding, meetings, etc. of a project – in effect, running the office (secretary hat) and simultaneously trying to maintain high quality in my work (designer hat).
- Joann Sondy: On a day like today when I think I’m turning into a not-for-profit corporation it was hard to keep my cool. Unfortunately, this economic situation is causing some very deep and stressful emotions which make be behave badly… Thus this undesirable stress places undue stress on the creative process.
What’s the hardest part of your job as a Graphic Designer? What can we do to make it easier? Share your thoughts (and frustrations) in the comments below.