I realized last week that I’ve completely lost my design mojo. Totally. Completely. Gone. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise considering the events of the last six months, as well as the fact that I’m currently putting myself through a grueling series of classes specifically so I can stop being a designer once and for all – but it was. Despite everything that’s happened, I’ve always found graphic design, in and of itself, to be interesting, challenging, thought-provoking and fun. I’m not a brilliant designer, but I’m a very competent one, and I think I really excel in certain areas.
Which is why it felt so strange when I realized that twinge of excitement and challenge at the start of a new project had completely vanished. It occurred to me when I heard someone read a creative brief for a project that I’m not involved in. And for a split second I thought – wow that sounds like a really fun challenge! There are so many fun things you could do with that. And then in the next split second it dawned on me that the feeling I had just experienced was something that’s been pushed down, suppressed and ignored for longer than I can recall. I’ve learned that entertaining that feeling is a recipe for frustration and disappointment so I’ve shut it down – completely.
This makes me sad. Design is an area of my life that I’ve devoted over ten years to, and it’s something I want to be excited about again one day. Sadly, lately it feels like the only way to protect myself eight to five is to keep suppressing that excitement. It’s easier than the roller coaster of emotions I have to ride if I let myself get excited and subsequently get punished for having been excited. It’s not worth it.
Nonetheless, I think it’s important and fun to remember what it was like to be excited. So I thought I’d put together a little gallery of some of my favorite stuff from the past ten years. This isn’t all stuff that is spectacular design or that I’d necessarily put in a portfolio today, but it’s stuff that I had fun working on and that I look back on fondly.
Downtown Development Authority Newsletter
This was a design I did for my hometown’s DDA newsletter right after I graduated from college. The design isn’t amazing, but the unique block shapes on the cover (designed by a well-known architect from my town) were fun to illustrate and arrange on the cover. I also really like the white (er, blue) space.
Carrot Paint Tube
This is just a silly illustration I did for an article about a farmer’s market being transformed into an artist’s market. Get it – a carrot that’s also a tube of paint? Ha! Anyway, I also like that I busted out the water colors to create this.
AIGA Portfolio Review Poster
This was a design I created for a portfolio review day happening at my school when I was in college. My design wasn’t chosen, but I still like it and it’s way better than the one that did get picked. 😉
Ashley and Steve
This is the design I did for my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding. I did the invitation as well as a bunch of decorative items at the reception. It was a fabulous event!
Weber State University
This is a wayfinding system I did for Weber State University. Not only was this a beautiful location and my first chance to travel to Utah, but I had a lot of creative control in designing a comprehensive sign system for the campus. It was a lot of fun.
Mecklenburg County Greenways
This was a wayfinding program I worked on for a system of greenways in North Carolina near Charlotte. We got to take a bike ride along the greenways for our first client meeting! It was a really interesting and challenging project since they have miles of greenways that follow the irregular paths of rivers and streams. Coming up with a logical mile marking system and a way of consistently marking intersections was a unique challenge. The second image shows a system of recreation and amenity symbols I created for use in the signage.
Phew. That was fun. There are so many great things I’ve worked on over the years. I wish I could post them all, but all this opening of files and exporting for web is getting exhausting. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little peek into my design life. Take it all in because soon it will be gone forever! Unless you’re on my Christmas card list…then you might see my design handiwork once a year. Get excited!