I always thought that going into the creative world of work, especially starting out I would have to do my share of mundane jobs, that didn’t really fulfil any purpose but to pay my bills. This thought is one of the things that made me uneasy about what’s to follow in the next few years. However over the last few months I’ve been rethinking my preconception. What if there is a way to stick to your values and start off with high standards, instead of waiting to enforce them when you’re more established?
I should state that by high standards in no way do I mean only huge corporations that pay wads of cash. My standards in no way comply with money and status, quite the opposite. I enjoy work that has purpose and value, which affects someone in a positive way rather then simply making something look desirable. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy creating beautiful things as much as the next designer but I want to do something more with my skills in the long run.
Which brings me back to my original question. Is there a way to keep those values from the start of a creative career?
Today I found my answer. Yes you can.
In the book ‘How to be a graphic designer without loosing your soul’ Adrian Shaughnessy confronted my dilemma. He claimed when he under sold his work his opinions weren’t valued, but when he saw people sticking to their guns they managed to gain respect rather then be dismissed.
In a world with no principles, people often most respect those who have principles- Adrian Shaughnessy
Later on I was fortunate enough to be part of a lecture in which we Skyped Jay Cousins, an innovative product designer currently based in Berlin. Jay was very clear about his ethics, he wanted to be involved with interesting work that wasn’t mundane or socially destructive. When questioned whether these values ever caused problems he claimed if you don’t compromise on ethics, and have a very clear idea in your head of what quality you want to sustain, then people seem to be more willing to negotiate with you until you meet an agreement.
Strive not to be a success but rather to be of value- Albert Einstein
I’m not naïve enough to think this will always be the case in encounters with all clients, but I’m hopeful that in todays world my values will be seen as an asset rather then something to be criticised, and I’ll be a part of innovation and positive change right from the start of my career.