As a designer I find I enjoy spontaneity and surprise. There’s always a certain thrill I get when I find the right tweak that just makes a difficult project “sing”. Or discovering the insight that clears away all the mental fog and gives you a clear pathway. All the moments when you’re nearly pulling your hair out in frustration are quickly forgotten when you reach that design nirvana stage where everything just beautifully falls into place. I’ve read interviews with successful writers where they shock people by saying that they “hate writing”, but absolutely love “having written”. Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I think I might, well, not exactly “hate” designing, but I do love “having designed”.
My design style is very much influenced by the truckloads of Marvel and DC superhero comic books I read as a child (and, I confess, occasionally still look at even as an adult). Bright colors, simple but bold designs and an emphasis on clear, concise and easy to discern compositions – all are found in the very best issues of The Amazing Spider-Man or Batman. These lessons, though never actually recognized as such at the time, began to seep into my impressionable mind at an early age and, all these years later, are now finally escaping into my own design work, like the Athena bursting from the skull of Zeus.
Besides a passion for the world of four-color literature, I feel my work also reflects, hopefully, an awareness of the social justice movement. I believe an appreciation of diversity and a respect for the importance of representation are important for everyone, but especially for designers trying to reflect the “real world” in their work. I try to marry these beliefs with a lifelong passion for learning and an appreciation for educators from all walks of life. I believe one of the most important things for a person to nurture is a desire to never stop learning, and to avoid the stagnation of certitude.
Sticking to my ethical “guns” while (hopefully) working in the design field, is something I’ve been thinking about more and more as I approach (hopefully) graduation. As a “gun-for-hire”, to continue the firearm metaphor, I suspect my wants and desires, as a person and as a designer, will probably have to be set aside, though not forgotten, in favor of those of my client. As a student who hasn’t had much experience dealing with these issues, I’ve often wondered how I would deal with a difficult client or assignment. I doubt I could ever really work with a client whose ethics completely conflicted with my own, and I suppose that this might limit my choice of future employers.