Yesterday I attended a talk given by Matt Griffin of Bearded Studio; he graduated from IU in 2007 with a BFA in graphic design, and this week headed back to his school to talk about design and to print some letterpress posters. I was able to watch him print in the type shop, and actually got to chat with him about type, design, and life in general before attending his talk in the evening. I thought I would give a brief reflection on it, since it was quite inspiring and I don’t want to forget the great things he said.

“Everything is everything,” while also referencing a Phoenix song, refers to the way he thinks about his life in terms of design. Everything in his life thus far, including music, crappy part-time jobs, and random classes, all contribute something to his current status as a designer. I found this refreshing and helpful, considering I’ve recently felt frustrated with the seemingly irrelevant things that overwhelm my life and take most of my time. I find it hard to become invested in classes and extracurriculars that aren’t directly related to my passions, but hearing that others have felt this same frustration is comforting. Clearly, it didn’t waste so much of Matt’s time that he couldn’t advance as a designer, which has been my underlying worry as of late.

One more amusing, but very helpful, piece of advice he gave was this:  “If someone asks you if you know Microsoft Office, say no. No, I’ve never used those programs. You don’t want to be the Powerpoint guy.” I had always thought of putting Microsoft Office on my resume, just because everyone uses it, but as soon as he said this I made a note to remove it. I don’t want to be stuck doing things that I know frustrate me, and honestly don’t help anyone. I’m not sure why I had it on my resume in the first place, since I intend to never again use Microsoft Office as soon as I graduate; it is the worst combination of programs in existence. But I digress. This statement has a more generalized message that went along with something else he said which was, “If it doesn’t make you happy [or if it’s not fun], why bother?” I’ve heard this so many times in my life that it has almost lost meaning, but seeing it set in beautiful type projected on the wall, and in the particular context, woke me up from this daze. Despite this message being repeatedly pounded into my brain by parents, peers, etc. I had begun to ignore it. This makes me more motivated to start my job search now, and to build my portfolio into this incredible monster that will just wow everyone. I don’t want to be designing medical pamphlets, because I don’t think that would make me happy. Dammit, I’m going to fulfill my dream and avoid making decisions that will lead to unhappiness.

So, that’s my brief personal reflection and rant. There were so many more great points, but it would be tough to recap them all without writing a 17 page post. I will definitely continue to look to Bearded Studio and Matt’s work and words for design inspiration and guidance. For now, back to mundane tasks that I need to complete in order to graduate and get my dream job.

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