My body is absolutely exhausted, but my soul is ecstatic.
After attending the last day of the Future of Web Design conference in the fabulous New York City, I am finally back in my hotel room at Row NYC, and so pumped up with adrenaline it's going to be hard to stop me. I will hopefully write more in depth posts on the conference later...details of my first famous designer infatuation (like – I want to hang posters of this guy and his designs all over my walls) the sense of feeling completely understood, and the realization of how damn lucky I am to love what I do so much.
I enjoy writing. As a designer, I can't say I do too much of it these days, but I enjoy it. It allows me to articulate myself without anything holding me back. I am confident with words. I am myself. I gravitate towards the pithy, cleverly sarcastic stream-of-consciousness rambles. I give myself a pat on the back for a pun that makes me laugh, or a wildly witty alliteration. I still remember writing a term paper for a class that focussed on the difference between a tourist and a traveler. In this particular paper, I was writing about my family vacations in Hawaii. I titled the paper "I do not like green eggs and spam". Get it?! Because my name is Sam, and they have a lot of spam there, and Dr. Seuss and yea...see...this is the kind of stuff that I just eat up all damn day. I keep telling people I can't use Twitter because I put too much pressure on myself to come up with quippy little one liners. Anywho.
This conference was full of graphic designers, UX designers, developers, and more. I am excited to be back in the realm of web design, as I feel it is my sweet spot to take all of my print and graphic design background and UX and interaction knowledge and cram it into one killer site. I managed to avoid a lot of the talks geared at developers, but I know that the demand is coming for that superhuman that can code AND design the best stuff you've ever seen. I will not be that superhuman. I'm sticking to my gut when I say that in most cases, if you expect these two extremely different skills to be piled into one person, you're often going to be sacrificing talent on one end of the spectrum. I want to understand the technology and the programming languages to the extent that I can have great relationships with my developers, so that I can recognize best practices and constraints, and so that I can understand the context that they are working in every day. However, I have and always will be a visual designer at heart.
I will never forget visiting Ciesa Design in Old Town during a college class visit. It was my dream graphic design firm, I had just decided I wanted to go into design, and I was scared shitless. I was no Adobe master, but something about this path just felt...right. As an Arts and Humanities major with no specific design degree happening in my future, I walked into the firm that I admired so much, and waited for the words I knew were coming, "we probably wouldn't hire someone like you." However, when the question finally came up about design majors and technical knowledge requirements, Ciesa's creative director Chris VanWyck simply replied
"I can teach anyone to use any tool, but what I can't do...is make someone think creatively."
Woah. I still get goosebumps. I like to think that while I still have an insane amount to learn, there is something in me that just makes design seem so natural.