Design off the beaten track
Advice from a design entrepreneur
David Airey is a global design entrepreneur and an exponent of the new wave of designers that managed to rise and find new ways of expression with the help of the online tools. In his new book Work for Money, Design for Love, David Airey advocates for entrepreneurship and offers guidance to those tempted by it. And he does it having walked on many paths discussed in the book: dealing directly with clients or being a subcontractor, working from home or in a co-working space, personal branding, tackling legal issues, approaching the client, negotiation and many more.
Freelancers and small design studios, which live in a different ecosystem than global design agencies, would find it particularly useful.
“Let’s be honest, design must be one of the least boring career options available on the labour market. […] A design career comes with an extensive set of gratification mechanisms, but the most important ones I think are very subtle: the slow, minute accumulation of work and the inspiration emerging from teamwork.
I’ll explain the first by comparing design with advertising. In advertising there is a distance of weeks between a brief coming in and the final product out there on the billboards and the TV screens—vey fast, almost a rush of instant gratification. Then, in weeks, the work reaches it’s preprogrammed end-of-life and it vanishes without a trace. Gone.
In design, projects are long—some take more than one year to conceptualize and even longer to get produced. Then gradually they turn up on the shelves of the stores, above the entrance of the buildings or on top of them, on the web, on a vehicle, library, on shopping bags and flags and your favourite team’s sports equipment. It just slowly builds and builds, and it never seems to stop. You look around wherever you go and see your work growing—a life well spent. Not a quick satisfaction, but a very deep one. A mature one.”