That’s a news flash, considering that I took a fulltime job in nonprofit operations 2 years and 9 months ago. Still, somewhere deep down a part of me identified myself professionally in the world of graphic design and design-related technology. Who wants to put a college degree in a drawer?
This afternoon, I removed all the design-related feeds from NetNewsWire. It had been months since I looked at them anyway.
The realization that the design phase of my life is over and will likely never return came to me during Call-on Congress, C3’s grassroots advocacy training and lobby day we held last month. I designed the Cover Your Butt logo last year.
That logo was everywhere, including on shirts our advocates were wearing. Someone commented on the logo (positively) and I nearly forgot in the conversation that I designed it. It didn’t matter to me personally. I designed it to save C3 the time and money of having to find someone else to do it. A few years ago, I would have identified myself as part of the project by the role I played as a designer. Now, I’m fully involved in the project for reasons the least of which is for the design of a logo.
It’s been an evolution over the past 2.5 years, moving me slowly from one world into the next…a world where I’m more focused on colorectal cancer advocacy, nonprofits, and the strategic and practical applications of technology than I am about image resolution, CSS and layouts. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have to be creative anymore. My job(s) are still very much about taking fragments of ideas and strategies from different sources and pulling them together to solve a problem.
I completely outsourced the redesign of our website to Hiten Shaw of ACS. Can’t wait until the new content is in place so we can launch it and I can show it off. It’s gorgeous. And far better than anything I could ever do even when I was at the top of my graphic design game. We’ve also outsourced the redesign of our print newsletter. I’ll still produce it, as we turn it around quickly and it’s easier and cheaper to work with someone in-house on rapid-fire editing. We all agreed it was time for a visual refresh, and we all agreed I wasn’t the person to take that on. I was surprised at just how much that didn’t bother me. If anything, my overwhelming feeling was relief.
Now I can be honest: I never felt completely comfortable in my skin as a graphic designer. I had what can only be compared to stage fright on every new project. Once I got going on it, had a vision, a plan, and got to producing that vision, I was fine. But getting to that idea never got easy for me. Never felt natural. And I never felt I was good enough.
I never have that panic/anxiety feeling in the work I’m doing now. Sure, there have been days where I’ve been stressed beyond belief and have struggled for solutions. But it’s different. I can’t quite explain it. Even when I’m the most stressed, I’m still professionally at peace at my core in a way I never felt before. I’ve said it on this blog before…this feels like what I was meant to do.