On Monday our nation celebrated President's Day. It got me thinking about the tenacious character of President Lincoln. During his time, he had to deal with a national dilemma. He was resolved to keep the union of the United States when the south wanted to secede. But he was also resolved to end the scorge of slavery which many in the south opposed.
This created political tension up until John Brown took up arms at Harper Ferry and forced Americans to take sides — resulting in civil war.
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress
But even then, the president desired the nation to remain unified at the cost of many lives. Ultimately it even resulted in his own death after the war.
Graphic design is hardly something to fight and die for. But there are times when designers need to practice some resolve.
As designers we need to be resolved:
- To give our clients what they want, while giving them what they need. The customer is always right, when it comes to wanting something from us. But being professionals, and experts, we strive to interpret what the client actually needs. Then we try to communicate our thoughts and provide them something better.
- Not to settle for mediocre solutions, even on mundane projects. Always seek excellence. This doesn't mean we'll always hit a homerun or be perfect. But, even under a time crunch, we need to try and do something special with whatever we are given.
- Not to argue with a client. Rather we strive to teach, and not become resentful. Although sharing our opinions is a service to our clients, let the customer or boss have the last word.
- To get paid. This doesn't mean we can't work pro-bono or even at a reduced rate. But what this means is that we have to have a healthy self-respect and a respect for our profession. Don't allow yourself to be involuntarily forced into working for free. It's not good for you, your client, nor the graphic design community.
- To be thankful. When the timeline is tight, the client is frustrated, or we struggle to come up with ideas, we can still remember that we are here to serve. And we serve in a capacity that not only brings us pleasure but can inspire other people and move a nation.