2016 Debrief

It goes without saying that 2016 was a pretty shit year. Politically speaking. However, it's hard to not let that over shadow all the good things this year.

For me personally, it was my first year in the design industry, working for a studio that I've grown to love. And it wasn't too long ago that I was working at a dead end job, doing something that was a means to an end. I cherish every day at my job and I never take it for granted. Being skilled is something required yes, but respecting the job is another thing. It's easy to get stuck in your ways and get lazy; like pursuing the easiest and safest options with projects. I've found this to be true when collaborating with an external studio. It truly becomes apparent how much you care more than others. Some people only aim high enough to get them a paycheque and a comfortable life. They don't care about the detail or the finesse. Heck, even the entire execution can be swayed by someone just not really feeling it that day. A lot of what designers do, is based on trust. We're meant to be professionals, working at standards that are pushing the boundaries. Our opinions and directions matter, which makes me think job titles are becoming more blurred. Someone who is just referred to as a motion graphics designer, is also an art director, 3d artist, graphic designer, illustrator etc. There's an incredible amount of relatable skills that need to be utilised. This doesn't mean your job title should just include all of these things, it means you should have the option to do them; to pursue your strengths and to seek to improve your weakness'.

I read an article recently on the Drum website, that was talking about how younger designers are primarily digital designers and because of this, they don't understand the fundamental principles of design. This article was incredibly opinionated and was the words of someone who has clearly said many times, "it wasn't the same back in our day". Digital design is an incredible craft in it's own right. I hate people who think computers or programs, do all the work for you. I can guarantee you, thats bullshit. It's taken me years to learn how to produce the stuff I do now. Years of trial and error. No one can just sit and read a tutorial on photoshop and then fully know how to use it. And even if you do know your way around it, without the understanding of design, you'll never make anything good. I was told one time that my photos were really good, because my camera was really good. I never heard anything so ignorant. I think it goes without saying how dumb that sounds. If you give someone the best camera there is to go out and take photos, does that mean they should technically have the best photos? Or is it the person who has years of experience and understanding of what makes a photo great?

To give these digital platforms all the credit, is like saying your pencil is doing all the real work. Things are different now. We work with incredibly deep and powerful applications that allow us to create anything but thats it. Like how a car can take you anywhere you want. We are the ones controlling the output. Not only does it demand good digital craft it also requires art direction. I understand when people shy away from digital design, because it can be vast and daunting. Yes, there's the shit jobs like social ads, but there's also the amazing jobs like designing assets in Cinema 4D or creating editorial layouts for a motion graphic. I will always respect the more traditional approach to design, but I think digital design needs to start being more respected too. We're not a sea of ignorant youngsters; we're the progressive vehicle at the frontlines. It's the reason I'll use a paper cutting machine or laser cutter, as opposed to wasting my time with a scalpel knife. I could do it myself and feel some sort of achievement, or I can sell out and go for the better quality and more time efficient way. There's nothing wrong with this, it's just logical, especially in the industry. SO older generations can certainly learn a thing or two from the younger generation.

In 2016, I definitely want to do less personal projects and focus on client work more. The reason being is I noticed this strange rift between the two. I always lean on my personal work as the stuff I'm most proud of but in reality, it should be my client work. Which I think is becoming the case now, especially with my latest projects. It just goes to show when you shift all your attention and effort to these projects, it really shows. Selectively deciding which project you're going to care about, is bad practice; you should care for every single one of them. Which is why I'm going to be trying to do less work at home. I'll probably spend the time reading more and learning more about cinema 4d and practicing illustration more. There's ways of improving myself that don't always require hours of design time. Even just a simple book can give me inspiration.

So here's to 2017!!