I had a thought tonight, somewhere in between designing a flyer, a website layout and then another flyer…a flyer I was designing for the third time. The first time, the client (a friend of mine who I’ve worked with for 3 years now) wanted a demo flyer for his event. The second time, I had to make it more ‘blingy’ or something because of the venue it was moving to. Now i must redesign it because the venue manager doesn’t like it and thinks its to similar to the other fliers I did for the club last week. And this is after we decided to have a general set format for fliers a few weeks back. You know brand consistency and all…

Today, I hate being a designer.

Thats what I said to Khanyi tonight in the middle of our word association game on BBM. She then proceeded to write this inspired from that sentence.

A few hours earlier, I had tweeted another thought ‘All of a sudden my entire life feels like an elaborate trap‘.

I’m trapped in design. I design all the time. All the freaking time. I wrapping up my architecture degree…I have to design buildings. Things can get pretty fucked up really quickly. Architecture for me is as much a test of my psychological state as it is a test of my actual design skill. I have to deal with resolving all my negative emotions surrounding school and my experience years ago while navigating the design process and engaging in the minefield that is architecture. Architecture is like designing on 6 different fronts simultaneously and still not knowing where the hell the design is going to end up. It is emotionally exhausting and it requires complete immersion.

I work as a freelance graphic designer. I used to love graphic design. I still do. However the kind of work I would like to create and explore is hardly the kind of work the clients want done. Everyday, I get emails, BBMs, smses. Everyone wants a piece of me. Everyone wants a piece of my gift. They want a flyer, or a logo, or a business card, or a website. Some people just want a pretty picture of themselves designed by yours truly. It’s nice to be wanted…it also sucks. The gift is a curse. Many times the client is ignorant, they just want something that looks cool to them. I have no energy to time to argue or educate. I sense the anger flash within me, I let it go, I smile, I make the change. I don’t care, I just want your money. This is my bread and butter, this is how I pay the bills. This is how I make sure there is something to eat and the lights stay on. Spending 80% of the time doing work I never want to lay claim to. Because I’m long over the rush, the validation, the 5mins of recognition of ‘oh what lovely work’. I just go through the motions to get to the money. This is how I live.

And everyday, I feel like I’m dragged deeper and deeper into the trap that is my life. I’m a puppet, I have to dance for the ones who hold the strings. Somedays its the lecturers, other days its the clients. I don’t hate the lecturers yet…most days I hate the clients. Because of the demands they make, because of how long it takes them to pay.

So to escape I hold on to the things that make me happy. The designers that inspire me, and the websites full of cool, awesome things. I hone my ideas and work on my personal projects (my book, my idea for street wear, my graphic experimentations) far away from the public eye. I indulge myself.

I write.

and keep threading these treacherous creative waters…hoping eventually I can get more of the gift and less of the curse.

Share This