Jammin’: A Graphic Designer’s Perspective

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I am a graphic designer, not an artist.

I suppose I am an artist in certain ways, but definitely not a fine artist. Paint makes me nervous. I don’t like messes. I don’t have a DIY board on Pinterest. I hate hands-on projects. I like structure and schedules and planners. I rarely get too personal with a design I create. Maybe that’s just me and my ways, but I feel like those characteristics play a huge part in the difference between an artist and a graphic designer.

Becoming involved with JAM has opened the door for me into a new world of artistic creation and the lifestyles of artistic people – one that I have not ever been a part of. I always knew it existed, but if you’re not actively involved in this community, having real conversations with real people, then you don’t know a damn thing.

As a graphic designer, I’ve been taught that intention is everything. A design needs rationale and decision behind each element within a piece, considering the audience, message, and medium through which the design and overall message will be viewed. The thought process before starting a design is crucial and a design is almost always not personal, but meets certain business and marketing requirements. If you don’t meet the requirements, if the design doesn’t resonate with target audience, if sales don’t go up, then your design fails.

That’s what I’ve been taught and that’s what I know.

On the flip side, it’s been personally and delightfully insightful to hear our first Inspired Interviewees describe their process for creating art. It’s opened my eyes to a new approach, pushing me outside my typical, rigid process for creating, and letting myself know it’s alright to not know the outcome of a piece before starting, letting the process unfold as you work. There are no rules with art – a mind-blowing change of perspective in a designer’s world. Art is driven by passion. Art is inspired by life, by moments, by music, by hardships, by personal life experiences that only the artists themselves truly understand. To me, the graphic designer, the experiences I’ve had so far with JAM have shown me this new perspective on the process of creating. And I greatly appreciate the perspective.

Anyone else a graphic designer who wants to begin exploring the fine art world with me? Comment below and let’s step outside of our comfort zones. []

Katie is Senior Graphic Designer at Meta Bank. She takes photos of the Inspired Interviews and serves on JAM’s Board of Directors.

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