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Design Industry

Mentor Mercenaries, Coaches, and the Next Designer Existential Crisis

Why are some designers so uncomfortable with being mere consultants?

In the latest iteration of trendy design side hustle, I’ve noticed more and more people are starting to sell their time as consultants. Except they won’t admit it. They’re giving back to the community via mentorship (by the hour). They’re sharing their leadership management experience as coaches (for a fee).

Have design thinking workshops gone out of style too? What will I do with my special Pantone Color of the Year stickies?

Whenever the industry wonders if the break-neck speed of technology has left the design portfolio (and the design agency) in the dust, I can empathize with yearning for other ways to leave one’s mark. It’s totally valid to want a sense of control over one’s work or find meaning in it.

What’s so wrong about naming it what it really is? Like everyone else who has been successfully doing it for years? Whereas calling oneself a mentor or leader does not necessarily make one so, a consultant is pretty straightforward. Maybe it’s too minimizing? Perhaps this is another “titles don’t matter [unless mine makes me sad]” thing.

Embrace the PowerPoint slide, designers! You know you want the ego boost from creating your own template! Plus, you’d get to make. That’s what you ultimately wish you were doing anyway, right? Making?

By Desiree Zamora Garcia

I like to eat, think, and take things apart.