Help Mr. Wizard, I Don’t Want to be a Graphic Designer Anymore

I had a designer friend email me the other day. She vented about a recent client. I read another designer’s blog where he let off a little steam about one of his clients. If you’ve been in the business for any length of time you’re bound to have your share of frustrations. But design can’t exist without clients. It’s all about the client and their target audience. Nevertheless, there are those times when you just wonder why you wanted to be a designer.

Graphic design challengesI’ve joked many times in my career that I sometimes have felt like Tooter Turtle calling out to Mr. Wizard. “Help…help me Mr. Wizard I don’t want to be a Graphic Designer anymore.” Every episode starts when Tooter tells Mr. Wizard he wants to be something like a Spaceman, Fireman, or a Football star. Imagine if Tooter asked Mr. Wizard to be a Graphic Designer.  Mr. Wizard would tell Tooter to be careful. Just like always the misguided Turtle would then magically be sent off to be a great designer. He’d arrive expecting to find a visual communications utopia, a place where you could instantly create art that was ultra creative–Award winning! Tooter’s designs would always communicate the client’s message, increasing sales instantaneously. He would always be the hero. I know now that this place does not exist, but Tooter has yet to experience design with out a solid foundation based on a process. He sets out on his journey, disregarding the creative process, only to find outside variables standing in the way. The design world eats him alive. Tooter soon would cry out for Mr. Wizard to save him from peril. Mr. wizard would say “Twizzle Twazzle Twozzle Two me Time for this one to come home.”

Funny thing, while writing this blog entry I realized that almost every episode of Tooter Turtle could easily mimic life at times as a designer. Example, watch Quarterback Hack and image the opposing team is every obstacle you’ve ever encountered. By the end of the cartoon you may find yourself mumbling for the aid of Mr. Wizard…LOL

Hard to imagine being rescued from budget restraints, approaching deadlines, weak copy platforms and unrealistic expectations. (Hopefully our need to be rescued is never the result of a bad design.) Tooter’s mistake is usually simple; he disregards the effort it takes to be successful at any endeavor. Talent alone doesn’t always carry you. You could have the perfect design solution, be the greatest designer the world has ever seen, standing at the gates of design utopia, and then suddenly pulled back to reality. Design doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We will always have too many variables to contend with to ever be the perfect designer for every client, for every project. So I may jest about crying out to be rescued by Mr. Wizard. Nevertheless, I always heed Mr. Wizard the Lizard’s advice, “Be just vhat you is, not vhat you is not. Folks vhat do zis are ze happiest lot.” I am what I is, that I’m a creative guy, working in an industry I love, doing what I love to do.

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