What Is It Like to Be a Designer? by Shay Ho
Shay Ho started 'What is it like to be a designer?' about a year ago when she had her first full-time job in Sydney and realised her expectations for the job weren’t exactly how they are in reality, not just about design itself but about workflow, the environment, etc.
Skills - I thought I should explain something about this one. Within a few short years, I've learned a big thing about being a designer. It's not just design and using softwares, it's about communication with your work, with colleagues, and your audience/clients. Administration tasks are important too. Being a designer should be about being tidy with your work, to find references in the future, and to help others in the workflow in the long run.
I saw a lot of ‘Things that they didn’t teach your in design schools' articles going around but the small things aren’t being paid attention enough. Some would say being a designer is a lifestyle, not a job, and in my opinion, it’s true. I hope this project could give an insight of how it actually is, for other students or grads so they know what to expect and for future clients and others so people hopefully will stop thinking design is an easy job and stop taking it for granted.
Money - There is a misconception about being a designer and money. A lot of people chose this path because they thought it was a fashionable career, because it's creative and it will earn you more money than other paths. This is true but I never chose this path because of money. You have to live it, breathe it to have a job in this industry and the money you earn will probably go to where you need to release the stress, to buy subscription, to buy books, and promote yourself, to apply for courses, etc. And you end up with no money at all before every pay day with no saving and a lot of stress remained.
With this concept in mind, I thought I would take a spin on the expectation/Reality meme to create a more engaging visual presentation using my own experience. I would say I’m a greedy person so I’m still trying to perfect several styles at the same time. But I start everything with the same principle: pay attention to the idea itself, sketch to expand the idea, bring the work to life with digital tools. I also like using strong contrast and vibrant colours in my work. And I guess I try to be funny, sometimes it works.
Work Clothes - Well, I admit I entered the industry expecting not to wear too formal clothes, and I still love my smart-ish casual clothes and I don’t wear thongs to work, or short shorts, but our boss does, so it’s true, wear whatever you want, y'all (but not recommended if you’re working in-house for a corporation or when you have a meeting with your clients)
I think everything and everyone can be an inspiration. Yet my biggest inspirations would be M.C. Escher and Terry Gilliam. Lastly, my advice for other artists is: be true to yourself and be nice to others. Also practice, practice, and practice, because hard work does pay off."
Working Hours - Designers are (in)famous for having long and strange working hours because ideas can occur anytime and we are usually motivated by deadlines, and it doesn't matter if we work for ourselves or others. But maybe it's just an excuse to have an odd lifestyle. In short, my body clock is screwed.
About Shay Ho
Shay Ho is a multi disciplined creative based in Sydney. She's from Vietnam but she's been in Australia for more than 3 years now. She work full-time as a digital designer for MullenLowe Profero Sydney and illustrate, write. She occasionally help her friends make films when she's not at work. See more of her works on Behance or her website.