Most days I get asked “What do you do?” As soon as I hear the question, I always feel a little pang of “how am I going to answer that question today?” ‘What I do’ these days does not neatly fit into any specific category.
I’ve worked for years as a fashion designer, then I worked with design books and magazines as author, editor, and contributor. Next I spend some years as a graphic designer and art director–I’ve owned a boutique, I’ve worked as a stylist and as a small-business consultant, and also as a decorator. (whew!) And actually, I’ve absolutely loved doing all of these things. What has happened over the course of the past ten or so years is that I’ve just come to call myself a ‘Designer’ and if that’s not a good enough answer for the person who’s asked the question they are in for a long-winded explanation.
All of the above photos are from my work from the last week or so. I’ve been shopping for art for one of my decor clients and fabric shopping for some chairs I’m recovering for another decor client. I did some watercolors for a an invitation I’m working on (love when I get to do stuff by hand) and I got to plant a succulent garden in someone’s home. This week I also did some Pinterest consulting with a beauty company and styled a shoot for a lifestyle brand. I mean–how great is my job!?
The fact is, when I am just doing graphic design: working on websites, logos, invitations and marketing collateral–I love it–but not 10 hours a day. My eyes go bonkers after staring at a computer for that many hours. I love doing styling, but any of you who have ever worked as a stylist knows that a good 75% of the job is schlepping stuff around and making returns and, well, that gets tired fast. (At least until you can afford a bunch of assistants). Basically, all of the things that I love to do I love to do in doses–and if that’s all I’m doing–I get bored, or I feel uninspired.
Now, being my own boss means that I don’t have to choose what ‘kind’ of designer to be, right? I just choose the jobs that sound challenging and engaging and fun and then everyday I get to do something different. Sure, it can be crazy, shifting gears a lot–but ultimately, I think being a designer–no matter if you apply your skills to a home, a dress, a shoe, a business card, an event, or a photoshoot–is just applying your taste and eye for composition, color, form and function in different arenas.
So, if you have been to my portfolio site, check back often on my blog, and still can’t figure out what it is that I do for a living, you’re not alone. (I can’t either!)
What I do is as broad as who I am–and I like it that way.
Do you have a hard time defining what it is that you do? I’d love to hear how you tackle the issue. What do you call yourself? How do you present yourself to potential clients?
Above photos from my Instagram feed.