Fewer resources, limited time, slashed budgets, rising costs. These
restrictions require we work faster/harder/smarter to deliver the same
results as before the economy collapsed in 2008 and ever since, while
it’s struggled to gain traction. Add to that the competition of “name
your price” logo operations and so many websites soliciting spec work,
and the idea of delivering successful work while still managing to pay
the bills can be daunting—and even a bit depressing.
But rather than have your vision skewed by the negatives, here’s
another way to look at things:
Restrictions have always been present. Even before the dot-com bubble
burst in March of 2000, when many of us sat on Aeron chairs at
Atelier-designed custom desks and enjoyed half-day Fridays with company
happy hours, we had constraints on our work.
These came in the form of creative briefs, fixed budgets, production
schedules, and competing bids: very much the same challenges we face
today. We made do with these constraints—and sometimes went as far as to
appreciate them. Limitations provided context and helped define the
deliverable. It was good to know that a project had an end date, and
whether or not we completed the project within this timeframe helped to
determine our success. The parameters were clear. We did our best.
Since 2008, I have heard many designers bemoan limited budgets,
clients who hire the owner’s cousin’s teenage daughter to build their
website, clients who opt for a pre-designed logo purchased anonymously
online, or timelines that are unrealistic (“I know it’s Thursday, but
can you have a 16-page brochure released to print on Monday?”). But
these are the same kinds of challenges we’ve faced as designers for as
long as there has been design. Even as close friends are laid off or
design firms close up shop, the same challenge applies: Make do with
what you have. There is no other option.
As a designer, a retail entrepreneur, and a board member for AIGA and
DesignInquiry, “making do” is what I do every day—and I know I’m not
alone. Designers everywhere are juggling multiple priorities. It’s easy
to feel overwhelmed. Yet at the same time these situations give us
great “war stories” and help us to demonstrate how, even in less than
ideal situations, we can rise to the challenge.
Failures are often not the result of limitations but the result of
our own will. “Making do” is making great design happen, whatever the
Branding, web design, teaching, food, retail, color, design strategy, pop culture, @AIGAPittsburgh, @AIGADesign, @DesignInquiry, @CMUDesign.Pittsburgh, PA · http://www.andrewtwigg.com
What happens when a working-in-home dad loses the work? Barringer spins a few old-WIHF tales from personal experience.
Section: Inspiration -
personal essay, Voice, career
Are you making good use of your time? Barringer offers advice on managing the arc of your career for success today and in the long run.
Section: Inspiration -
Voice, career, design thinking
Preserving the perspectives and experiences of those individuals that have defined AIGA since its inception in 1914 is only one side of the equation that defines succession planning.
AIGA is nearly 100 years old. They say you can’t teach an old dog new
tricks, which might be true. Fortunately, AIGA is a 22,000 person
strong organization, not an aging canine. We’re changing our membership
structure, and we couldn’t be happier about it.
Section: About AIGA -
AIGA chapters, membership
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