Today I was fortunate enough to stop by Funsize, a local design agency in Austin, and record an episode of their Hustle Podcast with their Head of Design, Anthony Armendariz. It was a solid, authentic conversation, in which we talked about one of my posts on here, but as good conversation goes, it ended up being about much more than that. I’m glad that these things exist. They keep the community going.
There was a point in our conversation where I talked about the idea that many of us today seem to want to grasp that piece of work that will define our careers, and let us leave our mark. We use examples that made design history but don’t fully reflect on how accidental they were. The result is that we go about our lives and careers, forgetting what’s in front of us, waiting for an accident to happen.
I used to hate on designers with side projects. They usually felt like a way for people to land a bigger role somewhere else. Too busy chasing their own happy accident, while we were stuck in the trenches with their work.
Recently, though, I’ve had a change of heart. I’ve gotten to know people whose side projects are their true vocations. They pursue theirs fully aware that it won’t give them much leverage in their career.
I’ve also since realized, like many, that the design industry is going through a major period of finding itself. So much of this job isn’t about making, and it can take a while, especially when one is starting out, or sold on a grand vision, to re-calibrate expectations.
Not that I think that a job should be the source of a person’s fulfillment, but there’s a big space between a person who just wants to do something a little different to someone who feels stagnant and needs an external force to keep their creativity alive.
Now whenever I see someone sharing their zines, posters, or melted Barbie head photography on Twitter, I make sure to check it out and share it with people I know.