I’m a designer. It’s taken me a while to get to the point where I’m willing to say that as I’ve always felt a bit under-qualified. It’s kind of like calling yourself a writer and only taking two English classes in college (which I do) or referring to yourself as a mountain biker and never riding anywhere outside of Texas (which I also do). But the thing with being is a designer is you can be as much of one or as little of one as you want too. The Language get’s funny here so bear with me… It’s a matter of how much you’re willing to put into it, how much you’re willing to push. The harder you push the more you earn that title. You can’t sit back and be the vacuous vehicle for putting a client’s/co-workere’s vision directly onto paper. It’s a disservice to both parties. You also can’t take their money and do exactly what your vision/the voices in your head demand, because that would be utter foolish chaos.
Like the Ninja, you must be quick, yet balanced.
There’s a reason I’m shpeiling on in a very non-linear fashion, with extended simile (a sign of a weak writer, I know) about this. Today I got a letter telling me I won a design award. Two of them actually. I’m not someone who wins things as a general rule, although this year seems to be the exception. I’ve certainly never won a design award before, so I’m having my existence validated a bit. Normally, I’m usually very content with a behind-the-scenes-general-praise. The ultimate backstage guy. The fans enjoyed the show because the sound guy did his job, but he/she expects little or no recognition for such a thing (unless they’re a chump). He does his job to plug someone else, to make them look good. To make sure their ideas get heard.
I think that’s what I do in a way. I take some one else’s thoughts and ideas and try to find the best possible delivery vehicle for them. It’s a big realization for me, and I think it’s why I feel ok about accepting a title that I didn’t train or study for. It’s just something I do. I think I get to keep the title as long as I keep pushing. I see and read about so many people falling/racing/stumbling into standards-compliant designs, that never seem to change. Everybody has three columns. Everybody has shiny buttons. Everybody has Apple-Tabs. We have to keep pushing, those who’ve been honored with this title and this odd profession.
For a society to be viable new ideas must be sought out. And a new idea, a new design, a new concept is so very rare and precious. The designers, the architects, the creatives, have a duty to strike a new chord in somebody’s head, to ply visual music that no one has ever heard before. We may not create that new idea, but we might push somebody else along. So I guess we’re backstage, but we’re still pushing the show.
We’re giving the ideas a mic to shout into. We are the Backstage-Idea-Ninja. We are happy to be here.