The Fall of the Designer: A Report From the Backwater

Like the Egg, I’m out on my own, by myself. I’ve started 2 companies in addition to my design consulting. I’ve spend most of my time trying to get these two start-ups (1 medical and 1 outdoor rec.) off the ground.

The truth is this: unless you work for a monster company, the product development cycle is slowly disappearing. The “process” is constantly being shortened to the point where a napkin sketch goes to China for production. I’m going to have to produce a lot of napkin sketches to equal the 4-5 stage billing cycles I’d like to invoice. I don’t feel that I can securely base my future on my design skills alone. You can be the greatest designer in the world but the rate is the rate.

Bottom line: if you can’t beat’em join’em. ID’ers need to start enterprising.
If you have a good idea, protect it, develop it and sell it. Thats what should be taught in design schools. In my opinion, its the only way to turn the tide in our favor.

Someone needs to start teaching industrial designers how to be business people. You can’t hide in a cubical forever.

As Frank Zappa once said: “Remember there’s a big difference between kneeling down and bending over.”

well, that was a great read…like reading my own life story.
I went to ‘school’ in the UK and like the author of this thread fell into the POP industry straight after college to pay the bills and get some professional experience.

I found, however, that I had quite the knack for it and now and again a project would come along that I quite enjoyed.

I moved to Toronto, Canada 5 years ago and after initially being excited about working here I got quite dispondent because of the lack of design understanding here compared to Europe. So after a couple of lame jobs and a 6 month contract at a branding agency I got together with a graphic design friend and started my own business.

It’s been going 8 months now and to be honest it’s the best damn thing I ever did. We are turning a tidy profit and we don’t have the hassle of working for an ignorant employer who’s idea of design is making a 6ft chocolate bar to advertise said chocolate bars in store…none of that.

We saw a niche in the local area for a tie in between the industrial design and graphic design sides of this industry and we tend to service the manufacturing industry…for now. Mainly because we had a lot of contacts already there and they already have the contacts with the brand names. Slowly, this is starting to change and as a very very small company we are getting our toes in the door with bigger clients.

Ultimately we want to be that ‘agency’ that has an emphasis on tying in 2D and 3D elements…it’s a 3D world people! Our customers really do appreciate our level of knowledge that encompasses all facets of their business.

What the real kicker is though, is that as a ‘design studio’ we don’t make money on manufacturing and because there is this tendancy for POP manufacturers to whore themselves out for any nibble of business companies tend not to want to pay for design work. The POP industry has screwed itself if you ask me…they go out of business left, right and centre because owners believe the only way to differentiate themselves from their competitors is on price…which is bollocks, they need to differentiate themselves by offering good design.


Anyway, I could go on all day about the woes of this industry…it was a good article, but my advice…you think you could do something better, educate an industry that has run out of ideas ?..f*cking do it and stop wasting your time making money for chumps who should be driving trucks :slight_smile:

Good read. I did not see the original post as a “suicide note” or just another “feel sorry for myself” post - it was a well articulated version of what so many of us face/have faced. Thank you!

Some comments:
•It never ceases to amaze me how every graduating class from school thinks that they are the first and only ones to have some supreme knowledge that will catapult them into a glamorous or responsibility filled position in an instant. I find this especially amusing because I somehow fell for that too! But I’m still trying to figure out how this happens/how we let ourselves believe this! I watched talented upper-class-men graduate before me, I saw experienced designers returning to their alma-mater for presentations and recruiting - yet, somehow, I unconciously assumed they all floated off into the ether and wouldn’t be around competing for the same positions, ahead of me in line for promotions, more knowledgeable/experienced than I on projects. No one told me to think this way, it is something that my silly, immature mind made up - and I see students creating and buying this fantasy year after year, to this day. Funny. Tragic.
•Speaking of funny, a couple gems I notiiced here: Egg saying “people don’t have the time” (to listen, help or provide guidance?) - yet somehow, he and others have plenty of time to read and create lengthy posts! Also hilarious, those who offer “starting your own thing” as a solution to doing what you really want and not having to work for a-holes! Perhaps when the economy is good and the stars align, this might be the case. But the rule (as opposed to the exception), is that people pay you for what THEY want you to do - whether you collect a salary for it or bill someone for it. Whether they are down the hall in marketing or engineering (co-workers) or across town in marketing or engineering (clients) or all over the world shopping in stores (consumers), you are getting paid for doing someone elses bidding. I don’t know of a single shop - even the world’s top consultancies - that haven’t been forced at one time or another to accept crap work from crap clients and deal with crap people to make ends. And for most shops, this is called “bread and butter” or simply “business as usual” or the “way of life”. There’s a lot of complaining about the hype of design school or career here - please, let’s not propogate any hype about “working for yourself” here.
•Shame on any admissions staff or faculty who sell a small-time, regional design school as an entre into big time, global postions - and shame on Sky Arrow and any other students who buy this illogical offering. No offense, but anyone who thinks that a school like MIAD (we’re talking Milwaukee, right?!) is the path to big name consultancies/brands in New York, San Francisco, or London is not capable of intelligent or critical thinking. Again, go with the rule, not the exception. If you want the job and the lifestyle and ID magazine accolades imagined in the original post, then start with a renowned college in or near one of those global design centers. As has been said about career choices already - “don’t settle”. The same wisdom goes for schools. There is a “top 5” or so -real or perceived, doesn’t matter- anything less is settling. If you choose school number 6 or 178 instead, then be prepared for a career of struggle and settling.
•Finally, anyone who has a combination of imagination, intelligence, sensitivity, and ambition will be constantly questioning, doubting, even frustrated with the current state of things. The $4 latte, the 6 figures, the big city and big clients will do little to rid you of your personality traits. Plenty of designers “living the dream” you describe go home every evening feeling beaten down, feeling unfulfilled, feeling like they are wasting their potential, dreaming of something better. I think only a small percentage of this feeling is specifically career related - it is simply in you. Need something beyond job therapy to fix that!

Good read. Most of your points have been echoed and counterpointed already by others, but I have one other thought that might be something to think about:

Before you take a job, take a look at how design is looked upon in your company: is it design-centered or design-as-an-added-value? All designers need to consider the role of design in the organization they work for-- if the company considers design as an “added value” to attract manufacturing projects-- this is not a design centric organization. Manufacturing is what pays their bills, and when it comes down to it, design is just a means to an ends. You’ll probably never get the respect/projects/fame you want in an organization such as this. Contrast this with a design consulting model, where clients are paying for your mind and abilities-- design is core to the business! This is not to start a consultant vs. corporate fight-- there are crappy firms and design-centric corporations, too-- but ALWAYS consider the role of design within the organization-- this can be key to your happiness within a company.

As an ID student still “cutting my teeth” in school I do have in mind nothing but the best, there must be some out there that achieve it. Any suggestions from them?

As an ID student still “cutting my teeth” in school I do have in mind nothing but the best, there must be some out there that achieve it. Any suggestions from them?

yes lots of them:

it can be done, don’t let this thread get you down! There are a lot of us NOT posting who are very content with their jobs, maybe not living a rockstar lifestyle, but working for great consultancies, getting several great products on the market every year, and feeling the fufillment of having great designs out there and appreciated by others. Shoot for the stars, and don’t forget to be thankful and grateful on the way, and when you arrive. I don’t mean to sound cliche or cheezy, but a great attitude to match your great skills will take you places.

your text is well laid out and frank, I believe that it also reflects many of us in that industry.

Well, I don’t have a clue what POP means, since I’m living and working in Greece. But for one I’m feeling the same way as you.

I too dreamt of becoming a top notch automotive designer/styler and so I went to the UK to study industrial design. At least our tutors were realistic with us and did not filled our brains with hot air. They all told us the difficulties of a career in design.

So here I am like yourself, in a factory in Attica (Athens, Greece) designing metal plates, sheet metal boxes and metal machining parts. Not the ultra-slick, smartly formed, super functional articles I had in my mind 6 years ago when I was begging my career… The most glamorous concept I ever did in the last 5 years in this job is a telecomms cable mount / holder only to be rejected by my supervisors due to the fact that altough it was feasible as a design and in productivity it was far too futuristic for our clients. Not to mention that I never had any briefing on aesthetics etc… in Greece we work based on tradition, thus design briefs, specs and all vital are simply the ommited parts. We’d go for a quick dip for the cash rather than offer a product of substancial wholistic value. Keep in mind that we are talking about a country that barely produces any industrial product at all, the highest production batch I ever saw on this plant was 5,000 pieces of a mechanical cable connector!!! In Greece most firms import products from abroad and sell’em domestically, no design, no development, just sales and marketing. What is really bugging is that the firms realise that they do need the services of an industrial designer just to make some tech drawings, so they simply hire cad operators instead for half the cost.

On a typical basis my everyday at work is 95% doing all things imaginable (logistics, product management, supplies etc) and 5% design… correction: 5% technical draughting. Simply because there’s no need for design, at least industrial design. The worst of it all is that everyday that passes it gets you more down. To make it simple for you, 5 years ago my concepts were cracking stuff and came in spontaneously. Nowadays, I spend huge amounts of time looking on that white piece of paper in front of me, struggling to get something useful out.

You’ve mentioned 3D skills. I do believe these are of top importance in the industry field today. To put it very simply, you can easily get a model out of your pc and take it to a CNC machine to produce it on the spot, thus eliminating development costs and errors to a minimum. That’s the most important thing for firms, to lower the developing costs and to make the most efficient production. Of course you can do nice renderings to impress people clients etc, but the core of 3D lies in computer controlled production, which is a global trend nowadays. Surely the ability to sketch and draw exceptionally gets you there, but definately it is not the most valuable ingredient of the cake. I would strongly suggest that if you’re to continue on this route you should re-evaluate 3D modelling. try to think that apart from work, you can also model something you really like! I see no excitement at all in modelling nuts and bolts and metal mountings, but, I love modelling road vehicles and aircrafts!

Regarding your future options, these are my thoughts: about engineering you’ll be embedded in environments and situations where cad systems and draughting is vital. So if you don’t like 3D modelling chances are that you’ll find tech draughting equally if not even more boring. I’m personally fed up with it and I can barely keep myself from falling asleep when doing a tech drawing of a part :smiley:

Career change: maybe, think about it yourself. What else would you like to do? This is the option I’m looking seriously on right now and just begun to collect info and looking at options and possibilities on becoming an airline commercial pilot (well at least I can dream of becoming one can’t I?).

Working abroad: Well, that’s one option I’ve spent all my endeavor during the last 3 years and after some 2000 applications I came up with nada! Not even a single interview! The pack of rejection letters is amazingly huge! It seems that Greek designers are a big no-no for design consultancies of the civilised world! Can’t blame them really, maybe they know something more than we do!

Alot of countries that have a poor manufacturing base bought into the theory that IDers will build manufacturing. A kind of field of dreams attitude to economic policy. What’s happened is that there are now loads of good IDers wandering around doing technical drafting at best, or filling a tourist’s martini at worst. It’s not just Greece either, but counries like Canada, the Netherlands, Britain. On the more international forums I’m on, I see the same story from around the world.

On an email forum, we recently had this same debate, have our schools sold ID students on an unrealistic dream?

Yesterday, I finally watched that West Wing debate episode. Alan Alda plays a Republican presidential canadite who says, “not everyone should go to university”. The audience sits stunned after such a comment, but he’s right. We’ve bought the idea that we could have 100% employment with everyone having a university degree and sitting in an office. It’s a wider problem than just ID.

At the risk of sounding like a total jag-

“The world needs ditch diggers too”

It true that we cannot have a self-sufficient society / economy without a traditional labor force. They may be considered low-end jobs by many of those with college degrees, but I think as IDers, we know all too well how critical they are.

I think that we are seeing a shift in our economy right now. We have had things so good for so long, that we have gotten fat and unwieldy. The time is ripe for up-and-coming nations such as China and India to really start coming into their own in world marketplace. We have gotten fat and bored while they are lean and hungry.

On a global scale, I think it’s a good thing that we have to endure this storm. By other nations coming to the forefront, global wealth can be more evenly distributed and I think that can be a very positive thing for everyone in the long run.

Just my opinion though.

My point exactly Guest!

I had a friend in Florida that was a welder with just a HS diploma. I think he took a technical course in welding during HS. Anyways, he started his own business with a rusty truck and a MIG welder right after HS. After a few years he had his own workshop, 2 brand new trucks, a handful of employees and was rolling in more money than I expect to make.

Since one of the reasons I got into ID was to work with my hands, I sometimes wonder if I made the right decision.

Proves that just being a good ID’er doesn’t mean you’ll be a good business man (or woman) and I don’t mean you specifically…I mean ID’ers in general. Your HS friend obviously found a niche for himself and probably worked damn hard to get where he is today…there are somethings that really can’t be taught in school.

I can only wish design entrepreneurship was actually “hyped” on Core but if you are a regular on these boards you’ll note that aside from myself and a handful of others, all talk is about getting that design dream job, certainly not striking out on one’s own. So much for “hype”. The vast majority of designers stuck at one time or another with contract work do so by necessity rathen than of their own will or planning. Freelancing in this field is often synonymous with unemployment, but most striking is what a small percentage of designers - trained as creatives - end up as full-time entrepreneurs when compared to other educational backgrounds.

It seems IDers specifically cannot parlay their creativity and project-managing skills into creating and running their personal business model. Interior and graphic designers are far more adventurous in this sense.

I never implied entrepreneurship is the answer to all the world’s ills. In fact, in most of my posts I make it a point to warn those contemplating it that it is not an easy escape route, nor in fact an escape from anything. When the market is depressed, it is so for everyone, when there’s work to go around, small and large firms both benefit.

But your argument that working as an employee for the engineers across the hall or trying hard to please your clients is one and the same is preposterous. In fact you sound like some of the lame professors I had back in school. You can read more in magazines like FastCompany or Inc why attempting to run your business is today no less risky than trying to build a livelihood out of begging a new job every few years, but these are a few items that differentiate the two:

  1. In a business that has reached cruise altitude, you can afford to CHOOSE your clients more often than you can choose your immediate supervisor in a “stable” job. Boss hates your guts, you’re out. Client relationship not working out - he’s bound by contract to pay for work already done and others are waiting to be served, so have a nice day. Big difference here: your eggs are never in one basket as in a job.

  2. A business allows its owners to build a name for themselves in industry, that name is worth money far beyond the dollar value of company assets. A job keeps you insulated and anonymous, and if you are a star designer you will stay a “hidden gem” within that environment. When the company no longer needs you or you decide it’s time to move on to bigger things, you are worth exactly a resume and a portfolio that you have to start marketing from scratch to people who have never heard of you all these years (“so what if you were good for someone else, prove me you will be good for me”). Back to exam time, so to speak. You’re back in a pile of resumes on someone’s desk, all for the “chance” to to get boxed into yet another captive environment you hope will be better. Moral here: most design jobs today are extremely poor investments of one’s time when it comes to changing that box for another. Plan to spend your entire working life in one good design job if you’re afraid of change. I know people here enjoy deriding Karim Rashid and others like him but from a business and design longevity perspective he succeeded far beyond what most designers dream of - hence the envy. In the end his name is worth (unfortunately) more than his designs per se. But it illustrates the point. This is a field where VISIBILITY is not a luxury but a must. Accountants and lawyers will always have clients waiting at their door with little marketing effort, but designers need to develop and advertise a personal work style and brand that speaks value to potential clients. When you’re a “jobber” for too long you build a resume only, not a personal image, for lack of opportunity.

  3. Building a business you can one day SELL is called building equity and, historically speaking, it has almost always paid off long term to own your own home than renting out. Retire from a string of jobs and, if you’re very lucky, you’ll be able to end your days on some form of pension plan that barely pays for food. Sell a successful business that comes with a reputation and a stable of clients and you can often retire close to being a millionaire or actually one. Equally good to remember is that, as a business owner, you retire when YOU want, not when someone else decides it’s time for you to go back to gardening full time. In a job you are being rented out, building a business is building your second home that with time takes on its own life and value as it grows. Of course you never see all this while being kept busy in a job (happily or not) - your company likes it this way. You only realize later in life that you actually worked just as hard making someonle else rich as you could have done for yourself.

  4. Job safety, classic oxymoron. Any job is safe for a specific duration only but not all jobs lead to other or even better jobs - there’s no such mechanism in a capitalist society that guarantees a progressively better position and higher income to anyone, much less so industrial designers. And you can fail in a job as you can fail starting a business. The major difference is what happens long term when either succeeds. “Making it” as an employee guarantees your keep at the trough but “making it” on your own means two very important things: much higher income, and control. The control comes from your total freedom of thought and action, usually severely curtailed in a job. What is the price of professional freedom for you?

  5. Whoever says you remain a slave to clients in a business has never run one and shouldn’t attempt to. A client “hires” your services because they believe you an expert in what you do, i.e. you know more than they do, or else why on earth would they pay you? This implies that in such transactions, especially when your business matures, both parties are on an equal footing. You do not accept clients that do not fit your business model for whatever reason, but those you decide to take on it is normal you will try to please. Satisfaction is always derived from a job well done and a return client. But, yes, you can and should choose clients carefully to ensure your success. Any business person will confirm you that you are not a “slave” to any customer, let alone the odd bad apples, unless you allow it. In a job you are never on an equal footing with your boss so you’re always strategically disadvantaged in that you have one client alone that keeps you fed. This is scary. And even if you start off with a great boss, he/she can leave or be promoted and replaced with the classic office nemesis everyone would like to see hit by a bus or something. But I digress.

Really, running a functional business is not all that different from a job except you tend to work more at times and don’t have the immediate perks like vacations or sick days paid. But the satisfaction of being continuously sought out more than makes up for this, as are the financial advantages mentioned above, as well as taxation issues and such.

No, it’s not for everyone, and that is true of any educational background one has, but it sure beats going every day to a job or boss you hate.

One last note. I enjoy taking the time to write to younger designers and have occasionally hired some to help me out. Because I’ve been in their place I know how confusing the ID working world can be and how tough it has become. It takes as much time to write an encouraging post as it takes to write the type of general putdown you did, which provided zero value to readers. I speak for an alternative that more designers need to consider because we are trained as agents of change and change is rarely implemented from comfortable positions that privilege short term benefits over long term problem solving. Of all people, designers should be starting more ventures of all kinds, not fewer. Creativity is something to live by in all facets of your life not just at a desk from 9 to 5. As individuals who enjoy improving things, impatient with the pace of change around us when solutions exist, you sometimes have to put your money where your mouth is and set an example. Any original business, however small, pushes the envelope further by inspiring the rest to take action.

Stop whining about how the public doesn’t “understand design”. The buying, paying public doesn’t give a damn about the PROCESS but only the RESULTS. Designers care about the process but barely control the results, so why expect all that public sympathy when you’re a cog in the system? Get out there while you’re young and make a difference, a physical dent in the status quo that people will see, feel and connect to. Have the courage to scream out your differences and leave your mark. Or stay quiet, enjoy your (obviously safe) paycheck and tell yourself this is all a bad dream that will go away without you moving a finger.

Congratulations to the Toronto fellows who striked out on their own (brilliant to weld 2D and 3D services, still niche, but push the model to its limits) and others who have shared personal success stories here.

The naysayers will always be a majority, and that’s actually good because their existence is largely what keeps us, the sh*t disturbers, more motivated than ever to prove them wrong.

That is inspiring, and when it all works out you are definitly the winner, but…

I have worked for a startup manufacturer who did not win. They found a cool technology (one of PopScience products of the year in the early 2000’s), found private funding, bought the license/patents for a couple million from a larger technology company, and set up shop in a tax shelter country. They developed / produced the first working products with this technology and started trying to sell it.

They were quite intelligent and worked very very hard, but didn’t know exactly what they were doing during development and nothing sold. It had defects and design flaws that prevented 99% of the anticipated sales. Bankrupcy occurred, millions of dollars in bills were defaulted. As a result, many good people working for the vendor companies lost jobs and others fortunes were impacted. Eventually there was a hostile takeover and the owners lost their company…

I guess they are all ok now, but they lost several years of their lives and much of their savings in their venture. They look like changed men, grey hair… weary eyes… I think it was the ride of their lives while it was going well, but I don’t know if I would have wanted the same to happen to me. Still, lots of companies are started all the time and people do well with them. Just don’t forget that not everybody wins.

After reading through this thread I have decided to post following some of the greatest advice I have ever read from one designer to another, thank you Egg.

I am not sure really how to start. I am a younger designer, relatively fresh out of design school. There has been one graduating class since mine. The school I attended is considered in the top 10 designs schools in the nation. My peers that surrounded me where full of ideas and energy for design, which fueled good projects from our circle of friends while in school. We all joked of the “Rock star Design Career” but all of us knew that would only come from hard work, and definitely not directly out of school, if that was really what you where seeking. As for the alumni that would review us at the end of each semester they made it really clear, that we needed to enjoy our creative freedom now, because once we went to work for someone we would end up sacrificing our own creative ideas for the “bottom line” and “The Man”.

Our teachers were honest with us as well, saying work for someone and make them rich or work for your self Struggle/Die/or Thrive. I do not see myself working to make some else rich the rest of my career. But for right now I am in a position that allows me creative freedom everyday designing products, sketching, rendering, drafting, working in CAD and building models. I do not work in a trendy urban environment; I do not make six figures, and have no $4 latte to sip on.

I have a cubical with a window in an industrial park, but I have creative freedom, a boss who was a peer in school and hired me my senior year, and president that is teaching me the business of manufacturing and distribution. I am in the learning curve; hopefully I will be able to take what I learn from here, and from Core and from school and venture out on my own one day and stake my claim in Design.

ID is a young field. People who enter art schools as graphic designer, illustrators, painters and architects learn what it is about and decided that is the field for them. Why? Because they know how to build or they like cars or shoes or furniture, some will become good designers working for the man, or themselves. Then there are the others, which lack the sensitivity to design a well-thought out beautiful objects, scary part they will get jobs too.

I became a designer because I love to create, the love the process of design. Every designer has an Ego whether it is in your face or quietly reserved we are proud of what we do. I have always believed “Design is what you make of it”.

BRAVO Egg, BRAVO!

truly inspiring words

and Pragonetti…
You certainly know what it’s all about…gain the experience, learn from your and other peoples mistakes and suddenly one day you will wake up and everything will fall into place…you will instinctively know when you are ready to move out on your own.
But always be true to yourself, know your limits, know your expectations and be realistic. It took us a while of working late nights outside our regular jobs to understand when it would be feasible to make it a full time gig.

And never ever ever let your client dictate the price…then you screw the rest of us up!

A few posts back, “Another Guest” mentioned the “Top 5” ID schools. Can someone please share this list with me?

Your post was definitely an interesting read - I actually enjoyed it.

Right now I myself work in an actual ID job, but I face alot of the problems that you do. I hate to tell you this, but alot of these problems are not limited only to POP companies. These problems are complicated further when you work in a foreign country as I do. Last two years for me have been rather painful from professional standpoint…and when difficulties in the regular life add to the pains then you end up not having fun.

I’m hoping that perhaps in the future all this experience will somehow help me get a good job, but for now I see the following options:

  • continue down the path, get the experience and maybe get an MBA sometime in the future and then try to become a department director or manager.

  • similar as above area but instead of becoming manager, start my own company.

  • continue working…but in my private time try to develop my own product/ideas and try to sell them. One good thing about working in Asia is that I got to know a few people who have connections with factories and maybe I can get them to produce these products in return for my own cut.

Well…those are the options I see for now…but for now I’ll be a sketch and cad monkey.

Sky Arrow, it’s been two years now. How’s it going?

I started reading this post and had to stop what i was doing to make it to the end. what a read!

firstly id like to thank all the people who took this opportunity to use aninimity to take a cheap shot and kick someone who was down. Congratulations. Those Id really like to thank are those that offered support and encouragement to someone who was unhappy with their career and looking for help. that is after all why you would make such a post…

I too have been in a similar postion and i wouldnt post my problems up here to take a verbal (written) kicking from some smug design hack.

Not everyone has that golden position - and it would serve others well to remember that. I admire this guy for taking the steps to record his return back to happiness and his learning of a new skill.

We are in an industry that is constantly evolving and it pays to stay on top of your /the game - please take note.

good luck with the future fella. be good to hear how it all plays out.

props from london. :exclamation:

Wow,

I actually forgot about this little rant that I threw on the boards so many moons ago, and just a moment ago when I popped onto Core, it was back on the hotlist! Nice.

Well for those who would like an update, here ya go:

After venting a lot of my professional (and personal) frustrations on the Core forums, I took stock of the situation and realized that it was really up to me to make something better happen. At the time, I had been very reluctant to dive into 3D modelling thinking it to be a waste of whatever talent I may (or may not have) possessed. However, I sucked it up and started in on learning all about the fabulous world of slick 3D renderings and exactly what it takes to produce them. After a few weeks and many, many questions emailed to the software support people, it all started to click. Before long I was rocking and rolling with the 3D render-monkey stuff. My portfolio started taking on a whole new level of sweetness and I actually found myself pretty happy with things. I just never knew being a render-monkey could be so satisfying…

Unfortunately for me, the company I was at dissolved my division and I was forced to look for new opportunities. I was upset and angry at the time (which for better or worse led me to post yet another rant on the forums that some of you may remember), but I landed right away at another company and pretty much picked right up where I left off except my renderings were getting even sharper and the projects coming in were definitely more interesting. My portfolio was looking nice! Very good right? Well, for reasons that just aren’t worth going into, that little gig only lasted for about six months and I was once again, out on the street.

As one can imagine, losing two jobs in the span of six months tends to make one do a bit of second guessing - “Maybe I’m just not cut out to be a designer” and “What is wrong with me?” etc. It leveled my professional self-esteem and so I decided to take a step back and get myself refocused.

I moved back to my hometown of Kansas City, got a clerical job with a title insurance company, and basically spent the last 13 months on a full-time design sabbatical. I’ve done the occasional freelance thing here and there and I certainly haven’t forgotten how to design a POP display, I just needed a break.

Now, having enjoyed my time off, I have actually started hitting the phones and the emails to get back into design. I’ve had time to reflect on things and I dare say I have a very different attitude than I did way back then. I am no longer looking to be a rock-star, I really don’t even care to dabble into other departments and to try and claw my way up the ladder. I just want to get paid to sit and bang out designs all day. Period.

I’m older, I’m wiser, I’m certainly more humble, and most importantly I’m ready to get back in the game. So wish me luck and if anybody knows of someone needing an experienced POP designer, please let me know.

I hope this update was worth waiting for (or at least worth the two minutes of your life that you spent reading it).