why do you do what you do?

was speaking with a friend the other day (non-designer) and the topic of “why you do what you do” came up.

im curious about what people see their job as-

  1. means to an end… $$
  2. fame
  3. fun
  4. other?

i for one, do it do it for the satisfaction of making things and going through the creative process. if i wanted to be rich, i’d certainly wouldn’t have chosen ID! (not that the $ is that bad).


trying to touch every design aspect i can… so i can affect all the fields…hard work…hardest part is getting people to see the opportunities in working with myself…

i just like the design and build and create things… just give me a project


  1. Specific Talent + Compulsion

#4. satisfaction. i think another reason is that there is less of a roadmap for this profession, so i can make this career what i want of it. pioneering your own course.


In the words of KRS1-One “Rap is something you do, Hip Hop is something you live”

I don’t feel like design is something I do. It just kind of happens… all the time. At this point I have a decent project load (2-3 new projects per season), I’m mentoring a team of 4 designers, putting together the design ethos for our division, doing seasonal design direction, working on on advanced design project, lecturing, traveling all the time, giving presentations on our collections both internally and to accounts, plus I have 2 pretty large freelance projects… not to mention the time I put into this place, my own site, and any other design writing… and I’m loving it. I feel like I have a little bit of room to do some more.

It’s not work if it is who you are. We are not accountants. On our worst day we still get to design stuff! We get paid to imagine things, to dream stuff up. You can’t beat it.

I feel like I’ve been doing this since I was 13. It is such a part of who I am, it’s like asking me why I breath or drink water. It sustains me financially, mentally, and metaphysically (not to take it there, but I find making things rewarding on that level).

well put!


I don’t think it was ever for the money - I could’ve made more money doing plenty of other things. I just like the idea that I can walk around and say to people “hey that thing you’re holding, I designed that” even if that means getting the otherwise harsh feedback of “this thing sucks. you suck” :cry:

I think the purist aspects of design tend to be better than the reality of design - but it’s still a more engaging and rewarding career than most.

Agree - if I was doing this for the money, I’d probably have pursued a design directors role in a big company by now, but it wouldn’t suit my lifestyle, (dog owning boat dweller on the move during the summer months) or fulfill my love of variety.

I love being a freelance designer, I love working for many different clients, I love the way I never know what I’m gonna be working on next or where I’ll be travelling to work (Bermuda was a highlight of this years business travel!)

I wouldn’t say I’m a purist, not all of our projects involve designing totally new product for the market, but I get as much satisfaction developing a high volume range of kids sneakers as I do developing a new product in innovative materials for a new brand.

That’s why I keep doing what I do, satisfied clients coming back and the relationships we have built up are the reward for us.

I can’t agree more. It’s definitely a lifestyle. There’s just no way you can be a designer 9 to 5 and then stop. It’s a 24/7 occupation.

Hypothetical question:
Would you still be a designer if the salary would suck? And I really mean suck, like comparable to that of a sanitation worker.

Edit: After a little Googling I found out sanitation workers get paid $ 30 - 50,000 yearly in some cities, but I think you get my point anyway.

I wanted a job where I could be creative, make decent money, work at a desk, but also have the freedom to escape (trend shopping!) when I feel the need.

I do it because I have this burning desire to create. I love paying attention to detail and watching others get excited about the small little things that make the product enjoyable.

And I can flip through magazines and claim it is for work. :slight_smile:

I dod whatI do for the love of design and because it is fun. why I do whatI do for the company I do it for…Well that I don’t have an answer for that!!! I wonder that myself every day.

Before — Talent

Currently — Experience

Future — the need to design

Most of my life has been spent helping develop people. I hope I helped.

Now, I hope I can do most of the things MD, and R talked about. I know I’ll find my way back into education on some level. Not all people teach because they can’t do.

I love creating! Whether that is drawings, models, sculpture, sandwiches, whatever, I love the process of making something from nothing.

Yes, I currently live your hypothetical. I would be lying if I said it doesn’t ever affect the morale once in a while and I am definitely working toward an “un-suck salary”. But right now, I feel fortunate to at least make ends meat living in the Bay Area. I think my work situation/environment is a bit different than most though, where the benefits go far beyond a paycheck.

Designing is life.

It’s all that I have done since my memory can recall storing meaningful information.
I have spent my life learning skills that allow me to produce the ideas that I have swirling around in my head and I continue today.

I love and I have always loved the process of having a thought, drawing it on paper (today on computers) and then learning the skills to build it.

For me designing never stops and never starts, it just is.

I became a clothing designer because at the age of seven my grandmother tought me how to make patterns and sew what I drew on paper. I loved sewing because in a quick time period I could think, draw, build and wear a creation of my own, I never looked back and I continue to do the same thing today thirty-seven years later.

I have built a company that I sold to a Major League Baseball team owner, I have traveled and hung out with entertainers and I am here at Core77 all because of design.

Design is and has always been my best friend that has never let me down.

I do what I do because what I do is who I am.

let see.


tinker some more.

draw some nonsence. tinker the nonsence. laugh at the outcome of the nonsence.

model a themed pirate waterpark from legos.


drink some with friends. a nightcap most likely.

tinker some more.

try to braze again. tinker. totally skrew up some-something i own

wii bowling break.


i sw

for the general being ‘a designer’ it has to be the sense of satisfaction of creating and solving problems
with the obvious i did that pointing out to friends adding a nice smugness factor
with regards to what area of design; my work experience at uni taught me that i was not interested in the wanky overpriced design for the privoledged few with its desparate desire for celebrity rather than to create, instead i have a greater desire to work on designs that can be accessed by the largest number of people

I read that twice…classic!

I cannot match Randall but

I design bathroom products and wondered how I came to specialise in this area until my mother informed me(very recently) that as a toddler I was fascinated by running water and would always stop at drains/streams etc. hmmm…

Hey Fish fingers,

Isn’t it funny how in retrospect we can see how the path we have chosen actually has chosen us. To me this is a blessing and a curse. I have forever asked people their opinion of something that I have thought up and created. (exposing myself)

For the most part people will usually say something negative to show they have (delusional) authority on the subject that they are clueless about.

Another one is how people will say you have a God given talent, I say I have the God given aptitude and drive to acquire the knowledge to be able to produce the ideas I have floating around in my head.

At this point in my life I am thankful for finding this site. I’m not an industrial designer by trade but I have found out surfing here I am one by nature.

Take Care and happy designing your next water related project.