As a designer working in the wild, itâ€™s important maintain a dialogue with your peers, whether thatâ€™s done through email, by phone, in person at cafÃ©s or other establishments, or even through classroom or convention interactions.
AIGA F*in Design Lecture Series
One good way to keep up this kind of conversation is by attending the events organizations such as AIGA put on, or by interacting with your peers via social networking sites such as MeetUp.org. I recently attended one of a series of lectures produced by my local chapter of the AIGA â€“ the F*in Design Lecture Series — which featured Michael Osborne, of M.O.D., speaking to the notion of Faith in our profession.
If fear is temporarily forgetting that everything is really okay, and failure is the first step to succeeding, then faith is the force that powers us through the great unknown.
Starting off the evening with a duo singing two gospel songs dedicated to the memory Mr. Tharp — Heâ€™s Got the Whole World in His Hands and His Eye is on the Sparrow â€“ Osborne spoke about the importance of designers having faith in themselves, punctuating it with an anecdote and photos of his own leap into the unknown life studio owner. Some eleven years ago, Mr. Osborne told a crowd of over 100 people sitting in the fume-filled back room at Watermark Press, he signed a 10-year lease for the space M.O.D. currently occupies in San Francisco. This action of blind progress, something Osborne emphasized heâ€™d never have done if he really knew what it meant, led the designer and his studio team to create some great projects for national and international clients. His faith in himself led to the belief that he could do it.
Faith = Belief =
As a teacher and student at the Academy of Art University, Osborne found himself doing other projects he wouldnâ€™t have come across on his own. A Calligraphy class allowed him to rediscover his Cherokee background and develop a typeface for the Cherokee language, first written down in the 1800s. Another class presented the opportunity to develop an iconographic marketing message for GAIA, the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance, which was screened onto t-shirts and presented to one of their Youth HIV Prevention Education Programs in Malawi, Africa.
Faith = Belief = Trust = Love
2002 Love Stamp
2003 Love Stamp
Just as many artists and designers collect things, Osborne got into the habit of collecting heart shapes. This turned into a series of innovative Valentineâ€™s Day cards to his clients, a departure from the common holiday shwag most shops send out as promotional material. One of these cards landed on the desk of someone in the United States Postal Service, causing a sensation, and leading Osborneâ€™s being asked to design the 2001 and 2002 Love Stamps.
Faith = Love
Hearing Michael Osborne talk about his craft and present some of his work was truly inspirational. One of the things he said, and Iâ€™m paraphrasing, was that â€œdesigners are one of the rare kinds of professionals who have a true love for their work. They get exciting about their projects getting printed, even more so when there are no mistakes. How many other professional gloat to their wives that a brochure was printed and the colors came out right!â€ Aside from a deeper respect and understanding of Mr. Osborne, I came away from the lecture with a better belief in myself as a designer and a stronger trust in my abilities to effectively turn a project around.
Events like this one are available to most designers in their home cities. Organizations like AIGA make it easy and affordable to meet other like-minded artists in the field, to learn from them and grow.
This F*in Design Lecture series continues in San Francisco at Watermark Press at the end of each of the next three months. If youâ€™re in town, you should consider coming stopping in, and if I see you there, Iâ€™ll be glad to say Hello!
A Little About the Lecture Series
There are some things we just donâ€™t talk about. In fact, there are a lot of things. We do a lot of looking (mostly at work weâ€™ve already seen), revel in our own greatness, and then go out for cocktails. Well, the cocktails are staying, but business as usual is out the window. AIGA SF invites you to join us for our F*in Design lecture series â€” three intimate, candid talks about the professional F-words we all struggle with, but seldom truly address: Faith, Fear and Foolishness.