Design is not a job
We listen to a lot of internet radio at Oxide, which means we hear a lot of internet radio ads. One of these ads features a list of college degrees that, I assume, people listening to internet radio during the day may be interested in. They’re they kinds of degrees that are often listed together in these kinds of isn’t it about time you did something with your life kinds of ads: nursing, criminal justice, business, technology, management, and graphic design.
I’m not surprised that graphic design is on this list. The observable skills of these professions are not hard to replicate in the average person. (And I would imagine that professionals from any of these industries would say the same thing.) For designers, those skills are: using Adobe products, putting words next to images, clicking a mouse, and generally staring at a computer all day.
Yes, all of these skills are trainable, but they won’t make you a good designer – or really, a designer at all. Our real skill is our ability to solve problems creatively. That’s it. It’s a skill that can only be learned through lots and lots of practice. Unfortunately, (especially for Internet radio advertisers) being a good problem solver is not really observable or teachable. It’s a mental process, and doing it professionally has very little to do with clicking a mouse.