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One of the funniest things in life—well, I'm sure there are
funnier things, but I am simple man-is watching a cat get ready for
a nap. He will choose a spot in the couch, bed or belly and start
kneading, turning and fussing, relentlessly, furiously and
determinedly readying the surface for as long as it takes—five,
ten, twenty minutes! it doesn't matter—in search for the ultimate
prize of a tranquil rest. Finally, peacefully, the cat sleeps, only
to be awakened and start the ritual again. And again.
Paying your dues is no different. It takes a lot of hard,
consistent and persistent work-kneading if you will (trampling or
pitty-patting in kitty terms) to reach a point where you feel
comfortable: the napping, rewarding part of this somewhat odd
metaphor. Whether it is mounting dozens of blackboards for a
presentation as an intern or cold-calling dozens of prospective
clients as a novice principal of a recently incorporated one-man
operation, dues may very well be the third sure thing in life
besides taxes and death.
No matter what state of your career you are in, there is always
a better place to be—that is, if you are even somewhat
ambitious—and it is not uncommon for that next place to require
some sacrifices and hardships and that sense of square-one all over
again, or as we have come to know it: paying your dues. I should
emphasize that I think dues are not solely a burden of young
designers or that they are limited to the first two, three or even
five years of a designer's career. At every stage, there are new
things to learn (from preparing files for print to preparing RFPs),
new people to respond to (from creative directors to clients) and
new challenges to face (from running out of adhesive spray before a
presentation to having to lay off an employee). Perhaps, even, if
at some point you feel you have paid your dues and that you have
earned the right to do as you wish you may, in fact and in all
possibility, not be challenging yourself enough.
Surely, if you are a Design Master with 30 years of experience
running a highly lucrative design business where your clients grant
you unquestioned creative freedom that allows you to spend long
evenings and full weekends at home with your loved ones then,
maybe, you have actually paid your dues. In which case consider
yourself lucky, few people pay their dues in such way that they
actually get a refund.
Whether it is mounting dozens of blackboards for a presentation
as an intern or cold-calling dozens of prospective clients as a
novice principal of a recently incorporated one-man operation, dues
may very well be the third sure thing in life besides taxes and
Graphic design is not harder or easier than other professions,
it is how you choose to engage with your career that will determine
how hard or easy it is and how costly your dues will be. You can be
assured that hard work is well compensated in this industry-or at
the very least, you will benefit from good karma-and that it is
worth every penny you put into it. You just have to stop thinking
of dues as something that you must survive early in your career,
rather, think of dues as constant challenges in your evolution as
an apt individual who has the amazing privilege of being in a
profession that is at its best times undeniably exciting and
challenging. Now, find yourself a warm, sunny spot, knead it,
soften it, ready it, make it yours. Relax, enjoy, sleep a little.
You have to get up soon and do it again. You'll need your rest.
A studio best-known for their interactive storytelling work envisions their ideal studio for 2015. Featuring introspective, team-based
and experimental/experiential workspaces, their hybrid studio has a lab at its core.
Section: Inspiration -
environmental design, experience design
With his distinct visual persona, derived from a unique confluence of primitive and folk arts, Paul Davis brought a fresh new American look to illustration in the 1960s. Since then, he has made change and surprise his trademark, contributing to an eclectic mix of graphic art. He has also served as the art director for Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival, as well as for Normal and Wigwag magazines. In 1989, he received an AIGA Medal.
Section: Inspiration -
illustration, AIGA Medal
painted billboard made of tweets
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