The TED Talks video segment was very informative and entertaining. Stefan Sagmeister said, “Look at a designer’s biographical pictures – if they are laughing then they are happy in their field”. Stefan was really big on the happiness theme and I could not agree with him more. One must be happy or at least find satisfaction and pleasure in what you set out to make as your career. For Stefan, he found happiness in design – something as simple as a Sony Walkman when it came out, intrigued him – or even an art exhibit he attended.
Stefan believed that design can do 1 of 2 things – be disappointing where there is only a visualization of happiness; or actually evoke happiness. Now this kind of happiness is what means something – because it comes from within, and not just some mirage. Another thing that can be done to make sure happiness is achieved (at least by Sagmeister’s standards) is by creating a list. For example, he made a list of what he liked about his job. List making is very important because you can use it to draw inspiration. Among his other points in the video, something he said really stood out to me: “Trying to look good limits my life”. How many times have we done things just to fit in? To be and look normal? But normal isn’t always creative and a wow factor. Stefan didn’t get his fame by being normal – he thought outside of the box and stepped out of the box. Don’t try to please other people but instead do things that make you happy because you will lose your happiness and become resentful.
After watching that inspirational piece, we then delved deeper into the pros and cons of working at an Ad Agency and a Graphic Design firm. Ad agencies usually get RFPs from advertisers and then come up with pitches and new concepts to create fresh new campaigns. Sometimes they outsource designers to join the team until the project is completed. There are a lot of perks to working on the agency side – you get freebies etc. But the downside to this is you sometimes end up working straight thru weekends and have extremely long nights depending on the campaign. There is no overtime pay however, if the agency does end up landing the client, then a bonus is in it for you!
Graphic Design firms usually create products. They write proposals based on needs. At a design firm, there is a lot more flexibility to work on an array of projects and not just stuck on 1-2 major products at an ad agency. There also aren’t as many perks.
This class session was definitely motivational, inspiring, and a reality checker. Listening to Sagmeister really motivated me to push harder in my designs and explore my happiness more. I know that designing truly brings me happiness so I am in the right field, now it’s just for me to make my mark – and I will get there. I know have a lot to think about as to where I’d prefer working upon graduation although I am strongly leaning towards an ad agency environment.