The Pressures of Originality

The Pressures of Originality

My name is Taylor Morris, and I am the 2018 summer intern at Company Man. I am a rising senior studying Motion Media Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. I am originally from Coventry, Rhode Island, but my family moved down to Tampa in 2016.

I came into this internship with an open mind; the closest I’ve gotten to the design world before this opportunity is through my professors. I know I am very fortunate to be taught by industry professionals, and while I try to absorb as much of their advice while I still can, it is very interesting to see how legitimate their words are in the actual field. Granted, I haven’t been here very long, but it’s interesting to filter through all of the advice I have received so far and figure out what really works for me (or at least what I think will moving forward).

One of the main things that my professors push on me and my fellow students is originality. According to my professors, it is expected that young designers will be innovative, bringing a breath of fresh air into the industry. Our portfolios are supposed to be diverse and revolutionary, something that will make even the top companies interested in us. If you do all this, you won’t be a complete failure as a designer.

No pressure there.

While I do think originality is something to strive for, I don’t think it’s very common anymore. Yes, we are always moving forward, but this is from designers building off of one another. It’s a challenge to stay away from others’ work, and I don’t think we should. My professors have caused me to feel somewhat guilty for scrolling through Pinterest for inspiration, but my few weeks here at Company Man have made me less freaked out about it.

When I’m stuck I know that I need to look around for inspiration, and there’s nothing wrong with referencing other designers; if anything it’s necessary to learn. Having the pressures of staying original mislead me to believe that I can only rely on myself to come up with a design, and this leads me to staring at a blank screen in frustration. Designers need to pull from something for inspiration, and everyone has their way of avoiding designers block. Between Pinterest, more traditional research, going to the gym, and traveling, I find I stay fresh and ready to go. The consensus around the studio is that the least you can do is take breaks for even the little mundane things, like taking your dog for a walk or taking a shower You can’t design out of thin air. It all comes from somewhere, something that kick-starts your imagination.

Nothing may be original anymore, but that does not mean innovation is dead. We are constantly creating new content in this industry; it just so happens that we come up with new ideas by building off of one another. We are connected now more than ever, and we are utilizing this to our advantage. Of course, this method isn’t perfect and I’m hyping it up a bit, but no method is. There are pros and cons to everything. It’s a different way of moving forward, but one that I think is fascinating.

With all of this in mind, the pressure to create original content has the ability to be overruled by our clients. We design to create digital content to attract the masses, and we do this in whatever way that works. While we may strive to be original and innovative, the real priority is to fulfill our clients’ needs.

I still appreciate the words of wisdom I receive from my professors because they have come to set me on what I hope will be a path of success, but what I am beginning to learn is that they are not everything. Nothing compares to actually being in the industry. I may be getting a fantastic education, but I can see how I will learn the most within the first five years out of college.

So far, working at Company Man has been a great experience. Between my assigned projects and the guidance I’m receiving from the team, I know I’m going to be leaving here with the knowledge to help me start my future career in the design industry.