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Know when to care

[Hey students! is a multi-part series. Read the rest.]

This is a sequel to the first post in this series: Care about your work – which continues to be the most important lesson we have for you.

But caring is more complicated than that. When you start caring, you lose the ability to evaluate your work independently of your personal investment in it.

As a student, caring isn’t all that risky because you control the variables: client, budget, supplier, materials, art direction, etc. Right now, you can manipulate each of these things in your favor – effectively insulating yourself inside your adorable little care-bubble.

But as a professional, it starts to matter when the budget changes, or your supplier drops the ball, or your creative director isn’t impressed with how much personal time you spent on a project, or your paper choice is too expensive, or (the worst) your client just doesn’t like your solution.

When you care, you’re putting all of your choices on the line – and eventually, caring is going to break your heart.

But that doesn’t mean caring is bad. Caring is essential to doing work you’re proud of. You have to care – you just don’t have to care all the time.

Caring means it’s personal – and as a person, you simply can’t afford to risk heartbreak every day. There are choices that are worth caring about and choices that aren’t. As you grow as a designer, you’ll learn to recognize the difference.

2 Comments

27 Apr 2011

Reply

Thanks Joe,

You present some helpful advice for students and older professionals, too. Dealing with the inevitable variables may lead, the longer one remains in practice, to fighting the feelings of indifference. I think one anecdote to lack of interest is as students say to me is “getting geeky” with typography. Caring can be practical “” yet seeing type as an art form always remains relevant and inspirational. Connecting and serving a wider design world is helpful as well.

. . .

Reply

I wish I would have read this during my first year in school. It would have saved me a lot of stress.

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