Can we change the world one designer at a time?
The ‘one designer’ I’m referring to is you.
Being a creative person means many things to different people. We rarely make as much money as engineers, lawyers, or doctors. So why are there so many people that still pick design as a career? What is the end goal? The purpose of becoming a designer?
Well, if you’re anything like me, you probably want to use design to change the world. The idea is that if you create enough designs in your life, maybe someone will see at least one and get something out of it. If you design retail packaging or a brand identity, you might turn one person into a consumer. If you design a motion graphic or website, you have the power to hold someone’s attention span for those 7 seconds.
Let’s just say you’re a good enough designer to do any of these things. Now, you’re more than a person that’s designing an identity or a website — you are influencing the mindsets of every single person that interacts with your design to make a choice. Your job suddenly is so important and valuable.
Now, what if there was a way to create a pyramid scheme to drive a positive change in the design industry itself which then resulted in the world changing. It’s so simple!
Just kidding. Of course there’s more to that. Or is there? Who even knows at this point.
But if you’re still reading through this crazy mind dump of logic, you will realize that all I’m trying to say is that we, as designers, hold the power to change the world. To help others grow. To change mindsets. To drive positivity and empathy. To really make a difference. Whether we utilize it or not is up to us. We all know this is what the world needs, but a lot of us might not know where to start.
So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret and share one way I do it.
When you think about your consumers, target audiences, and viewers, you are bucketing people into smaller groups. Mentorship (whether you are a mentee or mentor) is one way to open either yourself or others to different perspectives. Now suddenly, the scope of your target audience has multiplied.
I remember when I was in school at Parsons School of Design, I was very sure of my end goal, but had no clue how to get there. There were a lot of people along the way who advised me on ways I could grow. It is only right to make sure I’m able to do the same.
Mentoring people, for me, is such an important way to not only give back to the design community, but also, to help young designers have hope in the process and industry. What might just be another hour of your life on a video call can give someone else the confidence and guidance they need to take the leap of faith into a career full of creativity, fresh thinking, and new perspectives. Mentoring can be anything from a portfolio review and feedback session, to a conversation about the right next step, from prepping for their next best interview, to just a cup of coffee talking about your design process and the industry. Mentorship can be an option at all different stages in your life because there will always be someone in the position you are trying to get to.
If you don’t know where to start, here are some good places:
- AIGA Cincinnati’s Embark Mentorship program (of course)
- Connect with universities and ask if there are opportunities for mentorship
- Your connections, professors, and co-workers
If there’s anything you take away from this read, let it be this.
- Be open to new perspectives and to learn (even if you are the mentor), don’t let your ego get in the way.
- Don’t stop growing and developing yourself, no matter how old you are. Self development is the most important thing you can do for yourself.
- Humanity is not dead. Helping others is always a good idea.
- Be open, honest and real. Don’t try to be someone else to impress others.
- It’s okay to take guidance and ask for advice. It doesn’t make you any less of a person.
- Don’t always listen to the first thing you are told. Make sure you do your own research before making big career decisions.
- Don’t be afraid to put your point forward or have an opinion.
- Ask a lot of questions. They’re important.
- Have fun. Take this as an opportunity to just connect with a bunch of people. Don’t put too much pressure on it.
- Change the world by changing yourself first.
And of course, I’m open to meeting new people as well. Always.
If you’re interested, find me on LinkedIn and I’m always happy to hop on a call 🙂
If you are interested in giving back to our local design design community, join us for the Embark Mentorship Program and sign up to be a mentor here! Registration closes Friday, December 11th at 5pm EST.