Why I Chose Graphic Design
~ 3 Minute 30 Sec. Read
Lately, I have been wanting to branch out into some new mediums for my art. I have this constant question in the back of my mind of every day – what is your passion? If you didn’t have any obligations right now, what would you be doing? And it is so hard to answer. I try and think about the things that I used to do as a kid. What was I wasting my time with? I created a timeline on my, About Me page. This shows the phases of art that I went through growing up:
6-8 years old: Doodles, drawing
8-10 years old: Creative writing (poems, short stories)
11-12 years old: Slideshow editing, scrapbooking
12-15 years old: Filming, video editing (YouTube)
15-18 years old: Photography (Yearbook), learning fundamentals of Adobe programs (Flash, Photoshop, etc.)
18-19 years old: Photo manipulation, writing journal entries
19-20 years old: Typography, layout, concept development, & all other skills I had the privilege of learning in my classes
Presently: All of the above
You know when you watch documentaries or interviews about your role models or someone who’s determination you admire? They usually ask questions like “Did you always know you wanted to do this?” or their parents will come on and say “Even as a child, ____ was always drawing.” The answers were always relative. It is like our passion is engraved in our brains from childhood. The man that grew up to be an architect started as a child always playing with building blocks; the woman that grew up to be a biologist had a portable ant farm and always researched and studied the little critters. So I look back on my childhood and think, bottom line what did I always enjoy?
The trouble is… there was never just one thing. I supposed I could say “create” but that is too broad of a term. My generation grew up with computers. They were, from what I assumed at that age, just starting to popularize. My elementary school had a computer lab and I remember the first time we got one at home. Immediately we were exposed to video games and those are what helped us learn them so well. Even in elementary, we would be playing the typing games where there would be a list of words and it would time you to type them without any mistakes. Also, every kid our age was inseparable from their GameBoy. This must be where my interest in technology came into play.
Doodling was always a big one too, especially during school. Most people would agree that there are excruciatingly boring moments throughout class where there is nothing left to do but doodle. Whether it be actually drawing things or even writing things out like song lyrics. This is what I was always doing. From elementary to high school, you would find me doodling. I still have some I drew from grade 4 that I will show below. Likewise, song lyrics were a big thing for me. I had an extremely slow computer in my high school years and would always be blasting my favourite music. This is when I would fill up entire pieces of paper with the words that I’m listening to while my projects render. With little additions here or there of characters or shapes to exemplify what was being said. I found these pages recently as well:
Very basic, right? This was always fun for me. It was playing with type and although the style may not be too different I would enunciate with size or weights. Little did I realize, this would help with typography. In my Film class in Grade 11 we were assigned a video project that had to define us without showing ourselves. I wish I still had the video but unfortunately I left it on the school computers. I remember a few clips I included were some objects I have collected, a street sign close by named “Robertson” for my last name, and then my little drawings. I included one of a butterfly morphed into an ice cream cone:
and this pumpkin king:
My teacher would watch the videos in class while the students were working. We always knew he was watching ours because you could instantly recognize the music placed in the background. When he got to mine he told me that I should be a Graphic Designer. I had heard the term before but never understood what it truly was. It was then that the career choice was implanted into my head. Later that term we had a presentation from students at the Art Institute trying to persuade us to attend after graduation. That also stuck in the back of my mind. A seed was planted and from then on, that’s what I was subconsciously working towards. I knew I loved digital media as those were what all my electives were and I would spend my lunch break in the computer lab working for the Yearbook team. I was heading the direction of Graphic Design before even having the knowledge of what it was.
I will admit there were uncertainties especially without being able to draw realistically or not having claimed my own style yet; but doubt only slows you down. You have to make as much as you can to filter out the bad. The more compositions you make, the better you get. Once I applied myself, there was no turning back. What better way to carry on than to keep practicing my design but also incorporate all of the other arts I love. Now I get to create layouts with the typography I practiced from my lyric doodles, images I edited with the software I have learned and articles that maybe I could have written. I think I can finally call these my passions. I think I will always continue writing, doodling, fiddling with the computer, and designing. Those are the activities I enjoyed as a child and they are still what I enjoy today. Long live creativity and never stop doing what you love. It will take time to be satisfied with what you make but that’s something we have enough of. All we have to do is take advantage of it.
So, think back. What did you always do as a child? If you’re struggling to find your career path, it just might lead you there.