“Should I Be a Designer?”
I received an email from one of our readers a long time ago. For some reason, I started thinking about it again more recently. I thought I’d share bits of the conversation with you because I believe that it’s valuable to start a discussion on the topic.
To paraphrase, the reader asked if his passion and his interest in design was enough for him to choose it as his career. His main concern was that he might not be talented or skilled enough to do it, but that he’s so passionate about the field that maybe there was a way for him to compensate and be successful as a designer.
What I really found interesting about his question was the word "enough."
Is passion and interest enough to choose designing as a career?
Now, this wasn’t a question I wanted to answer. I felt that it was too big of a responsibility and I didn’t want to be the person that may sway his decision one way or the other. Such a big life-changing choice should come from within the person that has to make it.
I did find his concerns to be very relevant and poignant because, on the one hand, there’s a lot of talk in the creative industries about passion, artistry, creativity and talent.
On the other hand, many people often overlook the fact that this is also a business with well-defined goals and a purpose.
Therefore, we’re faced with that ever-looming question of "is it enough?" Is it enough to be passionate?
Another way of looking at it is that we all have different views as to what is enough to keep doing what we do. Some look at the creative industry and all they want to do is make money, which is very pragmatic and definitely possible. Others become creative professionals because they love ideas and creativity and they want to do it for the sake of their passion, regardless of financial incentives (or lack thereof).
In our team discussions here at Design Instruct, we’ve come to the conclusion that the reality with being a creative professional is that you have to approach your creative endeavors with passion in order to do good work.
But you must also know that, at the end of the day, designing or working in the creative field is still real work with its own demands and expectations.
I think the answer to whether one should pursue a career as a creative professional lies in one’s ability to think realistically about what it actually means to work as a creative professional.
We know that there are extremely talented individuals in the creative industry. There is no shortage of good ideas. We also know that passion and hard work play a big role in the success of many people.
However, we also know being paid to design and be creative is still real work with real bottom lines and real consequences.
At its core, the creative industry is about providing solutions. Creativity is the skill you possess. Passion is what pushes you to work harder, go the extra mile and innovate.
I feel that most creative professionals have gone through this same dilemma. On the one hand, we love being creative and it’s inspiring to see good work. The prospect of getting paid to do what you love is very enticing.
But, there is also that nagging doubt as to whether you’re good enough to deliver on the demands of the job; whether you can do it full time as a career.
So is passion enough? Does passion directly influence our ability to do the jobs required of us? Share your thoughts in the comments.