Being a designer can be frustrating

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Tons of people are designers, artists, something of that nature these days. Seems like there are more artists than anything else right now, except maybe yoga instructors. But every once in a while I encounter someone who isn’t a designer, and their response is always something to the effect of, that is so cool, you must love your job. And I do. I get to draw, color, and essentially make a message look awesome all day. Yes, I sit in a cubical with no windows, but it’s still surrounded by art. I have pretty flexible hours considering I’m not a freelancer, and I get to work on some pretty creative projects. Overall, I enjoy being a graphic designer.

However.

The other side of the coin can be incredibly frustrating. I work within the in-house marketing team, so all of my “clients” are other departments. And said other departments don’t seem to understand the work we do, or they just don’t care. It feels very dis-respectful at times, to work in this department.

One department constantly demands ASAP turn-around times. On occasion, I totally get it. Shit happens or comes up and you need something quickly. But when nearly every project is ASAP I really just want to say, Take some damn time-management classes and respect our workload. We can’t always drop everything for you. Oh, and BTW, designing a flyer takes time! Concepting it, writing it, designing it, getting it through the review process…we’re not just throwing crap together here! Seriously, time-manage!

Another department constantly demands variety, which, again, I totally understand. We’ve tried asking them to fill out surveys in the past, but no one ever did. So my team researches best practices, works hard to come up with a variety of designs that maintain brand integrity, have our logo and social media buttons on them, variable data that allows them to customize their own text and say what they need, with HTML emails we actually code them for two different tools that require different types of code for them to choose the email tool that works for them. It’s seriously a large chunk of my time. And a lot of energy. And you know what? Most of the department doesn’t even use any of them. They decide they want to have a little creativity in their jobs so create their own. They use pictures from across the internet, some off our website, some of off our INTRANET that are SPECIFICALLY designed for internal purposes, and just throw some text in. No branding, NO LOGO, incorrect grammar, none of our messaging, sometimes wrong facts…just a complete mess. Oh, and did I mention that the formatting of their emails gets all jacked up because when it gets forwarded the images become attachments and all formatting changes? It’s sad. And it’s really frustrating because so much time gets put into creating things for them to use and they go rogue and do their own thing. Why do I waste my time?

Also within that department, we had a couple people come to us and ask us to brand something for them (they had been doing an event for three years and just putting their own marketing materials together. They finally just asked the marketing team to help). We get the details and spend two months working on a design for them. I presented to my directors and marketing specialist a ton of sketches to choose from, took the favorite sketches and turned them into a variety of digital options, and took the final six designs and presented them to the clients. And of course, all I heard was complaints. One of them even being, Well I really liked what we have done in the past, why can’t we just use that? Really? I mean, come on, REALLY? For several reasons 1) We aren’t in kindergarten 2) this is a business 3) you didn’t even bring up in ANY of our meetings ANYTHING about carrying a design aspect over from previous years and 4) because you came to us and asked for our help. We are specialists in this area and clip art and animation isn’t what we’re going for here.

It’s just inane to me the things that come out of their mouths and the things they do. They completely disregard all the time and effort we put into doing our jobs. It’s so often just a complete waste of time and energy. Being their designer can be frustrating.

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