Being a creative in today’s world means so much more than simply being an “artist.” When telling people that I am a graphic designer, I typically get one of two responses; I either hear “Oh, so you are going to do the whole starving artist thing, huh?” or I get “What in the world is Graphic Design?” The latter is typically the response from an older generation, one where computer arts and graphics were nonexistent when they were a part of the workforce.
In reality, “Graphic Design” is a very broad term. It is the umbrella to so many specialties, ranging from website design to print design, to the newly popular application design. As technology evolves, so does the field. There is always new and improved software to learn and inventive techniques to be memorized and stored for later use. This means that every last designer out there is in a perpetual state of learning.
In school, I specialized in print design. As I was searching for internships that would expand my horizons as a designer, I quickly realized your “specialty” most likely will not be what you spend your days doing. Luckily for me, print design can very easily be transformed to other platforms, such as the Internet. Being the graphic design intern here at Integrate, a public relations and social media agency, I get to put my skills to use, creating graphics that could potentially be used on multiple platforms, whether it will be for print or online for our many different clients.
A great example of this is the vector that I created for Lone Star Cab for Free Press Summerfest weekend. This vector does two things when presented to the public. It effectively gets a point across, AND advertises the business.
Another challenge as a designer is designing for a business that already has its own branding guide. This leaves you with a set of regulations to follow, so that anything you create for that business has the look and feel of every other design they have used. This can be a challenge, because you are left imitating designs that already exist. The Facebook cover photo I designed for Susan G. Komen Houston is a prime example of this. I used preexisting artwork created for the organization, and paired it with the copy provided to me, all while using a typeface that meets Susan G. Komen’s brand guidelines.
As a creative working in a PR agency, I have been trained to think outside the box. You can be taught the rules, the do’s and don’ts to designing, but you cannot be taught creativity. The goal for a designer is to create unique imagery, and not simply mimic what others have done before them. Nearly everything has been “done” before. What counts is how you make the design your own. My personal goal is to make things that are, while maybe not “unique,” designed to the best of my abilities.
Written by Caitlin Kaczmarek