Do Designers Work or Do Designers Play?

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Recently I met someone and, upon finding out I’m a graphic designer, they said to me “Oh how nice! You get to play all day!”

Haha.

Of course I smiled and agreed, not bothering to mention that this is akin to claiming “hey, Dr. Doctor, you get to save lives all day” or “hey, Policeman, it must feel good to put away the bad guys every afternoon”. Most people forget about the paperwork and meetings nearly all jobs entail.

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Reflecting on Steve Jobs. From a PC.

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There are very few people about whom, upon their passing, you can say “they changed the world” and truly mean it. Steve Jobs belongs to this minority.

Let me begin by saying I’m a graphic designer and I’m a PC. Sacrilegious. I know.

I’ve used (and enjoyed) using Macs for educational, professional and recreational activities. They are good computers – but I just like PCs better. Plain and simple.

But there’s more. I didn’t start using iTunes or get an iPod until they had been in circulation for six years. I do not have an iPhone and, while I’ve played a few games of Angry Birds, I don’t really want one. I’ve rolled my eyes at many an Apple snob.

I have an HP laptop, and LG display screen and have touched an iPad a total of two times. The only times I go into the Apple Store at our mall is to buy my brother Christmas gifts.

I’m plankton-level on the Apple-fanatic food chain.

In spite of all that, I thought Steve Jobs was pretty brilliant.

Like IKEA, he brought good design to the masses. After dropping out of Reed College one semester in, Jobs studied, and fell in love with, typography. He brought good type to the masses with his technology *I’m lookin’ at you Helvetica. And sorry Bill Gates, Arial is not an equivalent substitute.* Thus, computers were equipped with beautiful and well-proportioned typography.

Apple is king when is comes to product and packaging design. (Hence, why so many designers are Apple fans.) Apple has helped the general public recognize good, clean and function design in the most basic principles.

And finally, their smart marketing is incomparable. Every company wants to look like Apple with it’s short taglines, funky imagery and simplistic look. Any article you will read on well-branded companies, Apple is the man to beat.

Bringing music, news and technology to the masses in a simple and transportable way – this is how Steve Jobs changed the world. More older people are using computers. More younger people are using computers. You can connect online virtually anywhere these days.

And Pixar films. Finding Nemo is full of awesome.

Lost? Check your iPhone satellite location.

Going on vacation? Bring your iPad for movies, books and entertainment.

Exercising? No more bulky Discman for you. Enter iPod and coinciding workout arm strap.

[Insert Problem Here]? There’s an app for that.

So, thanks Steve Jobs.

Sincerely,

a PC

Vendor Rave: Zazzle.com

I am a firm believer that you should surround yourselves at home with things that you love and make you smile. If you don’t love it, don’t buy it!!

Whenever I go shopping, I usually roam around with a cart full of items. Then slowly one by one I decide I don’t L-O-V-E it quite enough to bring it home. Usually I’ll walk out buying maybe one of those things, especially if it’s on clearance. If I really want to test my love, I’ll leave the store and see if I remember to go back and buy it before I leave. You’d be surprised how quickly you forget about that [fill in the blank] you wanted sooo badly.

This bring me to art. Specifically, artwork displayed in the home. I’m still a young professional, and can in no way afford to purchase fancy works of art. Sadly, the affordable art realm is lacking. This is where Zazzle comes in.

Zazzle is like AllPoster.com, except cooler. They have all kinds of kitsch ranging from t-shirts to phone cases to mugs. But what drew me to Zazzle was their collection of WPA reproduction prints.

The WPA, or Works Progress Administration, was a government program from 1939-1943 that was a part of the “New Deal”. They focused on public works, like construction, healthcare, roads, the arts and literacy.

And, they made the most amazing posters. (At least in my humble opinion.)

We have this one hanging in our hallway. My Grandpa-in-law was a Merchant Marine with several of his brothers back in the day, so this print has a special place in our heart.

I love this little black Scottie dog one. I could wallpaper an entire room with these. There are hundreds on posters by the WPA. It’s amazing they were only in existence for 4 years.

Make sure to check out the disease awareness and prevention ones as well. Some of them are crazy out there! It’s amazing how far we’ve come in disease awareness. Today we have Project (RED), which is a pretty swanky ad campaign. Back then they had men in gas masks warning about STDs.

http://www.zazzle.com/wpa+gifts

Be sure to check out all of their WPA posters! If you sign up for Zazzle’s email list they send out coupons at least bi-weekly.

So there you have it. Affordable, personable art. (I usually end up buying my frames at AC Moore or Micheal’s with the 20% coupon.)

What works of art do you have in your home that are personal to you?