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Why Graphic Design

Kayla Phillips Graphic Designer.jpg

As I’ve been wanting to revive this little piece of cyberspace I’ve been asking others what they want to read about. Sharing why I became a graphic designer was suggested; it seems like a natural place to start (re-start?).

My parents love to tell a story about how my five year old self desperately desired a pink radio. (Still not sure why it’s so funny to them.) But my earliest memories of internal thoughts are of my concern for the right color and aesthetic. Raised by PBS staples like This Old House and Home Time, the idea of design was constantly in my head leading me to want to become an architect.

BUT then I found out you have to learn a lot of math and science. Not my jam.

Somewhere along the way I remember hearing about a career called “graphic design.” Maybe from the teen drama Felicity, who’s to say?

Fortunately, I homeschooled and was able to take a graphic design class at the local junior college while in high school.

I hated it.

There were all of these rules. Art should be a free expression. Feel what looks right. (Looking back, now I know how important structure is.)

So I decided to be an art teacher. Long story short, I came out of college with an English Ed. degree while the recession was in full swing. I ended up getting a job at a non-profit, creating much of their marketing tools and other collateral. All the while, designing friends’ wedding invitations on the side.

This period brought so much development because I was given the tools to learn on the job.

People began to start asking me to do more things like flyers and logos, leading me to quit my full-time office gig and give the freelance world whirl. It’s been good and hard ever since. It’s brought me the freedom and creativity that I crave. The challenges and the constant growth that ensues keeps me engaged.

Much of the time Imposter Syndrome inhibits me, not having a degree. I’ve tried going back to school for the piece of paper, but nothing feels more frustrating than spending money while not learning. Perhaps, it will be in the cards one day, but in the meantime other designers, art directors, Skillshare, YouTube, reading, and of course, just making more art have been my main mode of education.

There are many designers that have the technical skills, but lack intuition. Then there are others who have ingenuity, yet haven’t mastered the tools. It’s difficult to have both, but I seek to as I press on and pursue making good work.

I’d love to encourage you on your journey, whether that’s as a graphic designer or business owner. Let me know how I can do that in the comments.

Why I became a graphic designer