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In this series of blogs, I want to talk about what attracted me to become a graphic designer in the first place, my love for going freelance, and also offer some of my own design experiences in the hope that other designers and businesses get some value and insight.

In this second blog, I’d like to reflect on a few things that I’ve learnt as a creative in 2021. 

What are you passionate about?
With the outbreak of COVID causing the world to come a total standstill in 2020, and then eventually having some freedom back in June 2021, I think we all had a lot of time to think about what it is that we enjoy doing.

I realised that the time to do what I enjoyed was now, not wait and see how things go in another 6 months or a year, but dive in now and see what I can do as a self employed graphic designer – I thought if  I fail then so be it!

It can be a a hard question to answer, if you feel like you are stuck in a certain position. I have had some experience where paying the rent in a job its easier to stay in, because the money is decent, and I’ve also had a few bad interviews that weren’t worth the trouble and has made me question at time what is it that I enjoy doing 5 out of 7 days in the week.

Any job that you don’t feel like you fit into isn’t worth the pain of trying to make it work either – much like a relationship, once you get that gut feeling, you can’t cheat yourself into believing that you’re actually enjoying doing it.

Lifestyle and culture vs career vs job
There is always a debate about the long term fulfilment and challenge of having a career vs the short term aspect of just having a job that pays the bills. I feel that my passion as a designer is more than a career and a job, it’s a lifestyle and culture and not just a job or career in fact, it’s something that I could and want to do even if I was not making any money from it. 

This idea was influenced by one of my favourite DJ’s and music producers, that late, great Andrew Weatherall. You can check out the interview here.  

I’m thinking a lot more long term now, I can go off into lots of personal projects, as well as carrying on developing my freelance side – each one bringing its own focus and fulfilment. 

With the concept of design as lifestyle and culture, I made a lot of attempts first of all when I start freelancing to obsessively look for work and clients – which I think perhaps had the opposite effect to what I wanted and ultimately leads you to feel like you haven’t made any progression. 

I always find peace in step-ing back and analysing steps you’ve taken.

Never stop designing and playing
Design is something that I always want to develop, challenge, learn and always be passionate about just creating things sometimes.

I try and give myself 1 day in the week to just create a piece of content through experimentation that I’m proud of. 

I’ve realised the importance of creating personal work as well as commissioned, as they do work with each other to enable you to draw from techniques that could work from either.

As designer, we should always be “flexing our creative muscle”.

So to sum up:

  • Do what you’re passionate about right now.
  • Culture vs career vs job, which is best for you?
  • You should always enjoy being creative.