How is it to be a graphic designer?

Blogging is a form of connecting people nowadays, or so I see it. My name is Mike Lenke and I’m a graphic designer, a profession that requires me to spend a great deal of my time behind a screen. If you’re a graphic designer too, you’ll understand it when I say that it is difficult to reach out to other professionals in the field for advice and assistance, as we are most of the time head over heels buried in our work and not very communicative, especially if we’re asked to open ourselves on other matters that are not our current projects.

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Graphic design is one of those jobs that you must choose out of passion and, even though you may go through moments when you want to smash your laptop against the wall while practicing it, you have to cling on to that passion to keep going.

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As a graphic designer, if you are not an organized person, your number one enemy will be deadlines – they will follow you like a plague from one project to another and you that you will never have free time to do anything else but working on your project and that you’ll probably take the shape of your computer chair and won’t be able to ever come back to your human form.

There’s no standard recipe that you can use to be successful and eliminate stress from your life when you start a career in this field. If there are a few tips I would give you after a couple of years in this domain, these are really simple:

  • Accept that your life from the moment you get hired will be a non-stop roller-coaster. You will be faced with deadlines continuously, some of them more relaxed, others excruciating.
  • Schedule a working volume day by day and include in it: possible moments when you don’t feel like working, technical issues, creativity blockages and oversleep issues. Realizing that you have chosen a career that requires you to work with multiple aspects of your personality: creativity, organization, dealing with stressful situations, accepting negative feedback or letting others participate in the way you do your work is the only way to still be alive at the end of a long day.
  • Stick to the schedule.
  • Don’t overthrow your personal life for your career. Of course, this is an advice you could give to anybody who is trying to build a reputation in any domain but, some fields have a higher potential of turning you into a work addict than others. Graphic designers don’t work on a 9 to 5 schedule. They mostly have individual projects and they make their own working program. This can be a positive thing, meaning that you don’t have somebody telling you when and how to work, but can have  a negative side, that of poor time organization which can lead to weeks in which you feel that you need to work constantly, without noticing any significant progress.
  • Don’t let yourself be disappointed if your ideas are not always of use. It’s true that graphic designers need to be creative in terms of technical methods they employ and they have a wide spectrum of choices when it comes to making a brand new design, but, sometimes, your clients will have strict norms and specific ideas on the wanted project which will minimize your contribution to the final result. If you have several projects like that, you may experience a sense of disappointment, thinking this job is nothing like you’ve imagined it to be. However, remember that, in time, it gets better and you’ll be able to say no to jobs that do not allow you to use your creativity or that you don’t feel you would like spending time working on.

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I can proudly say that I’m not (anymore) an addict to my profession and I have other passions as well, about which I’d like to open up on this blog. I love working out, not only for the sake of bodybuilding or losing weight, but for a variety of reasons and I also enjoy traveling. In addition to sharing my knowledge on graphic design, I would very much love to share with you my travel and workout experiences as well.