Graphic design burnout when your Hobby is your career
Hope you all are doing well, deep in the process of moving so I’m writing this from an empty office.
Harry Vincent Gathering V
Been pretty isolated lately in my design practice and working solo almost every day of the week so it was nice to chat with some other designers in my homie Harry Vincent’s Discord.
Having conversations with people who can resonate with what you are going through is super important and can bring you some peace of mind in knowing your feelings aren’t solo.
In this newsletter, I wanted to share some of my ideas and findings, fresh after hopping off that call.
Burnout Momentum Spectrum
As you could see from the above graphic, one of the main points of discussion was the idea of burnout and overworking yourself.
This is one of the ailments I think all creatives suffer from time to time including myself.
Lately, though I have been trying to look at it, not as a thing to define me at any given moment but rather just a fleeting feeling.
“I am feeling Burnout”
“I am Burnt out”
Even something as simple as removing the identity from it seems to help.
I have also realized that just like how happiness can’t be experienced without sadness, creative burnout is the counterpart to creative momentum.
We aren’t either burnt out or not but just closer to that end of the spectrum.
When I have a lot of creative momentum and keep a consistent/healthy schedule with both my work and my personal life, the momentum builds and builds. All those people who do 365 poster everyday challenges on Instagram should be proof of that.
When we set ourselves up for success every day and develop a healthy schedule I think it is easy to build this momentum and keep the burnout fewer and farther in between.
I’m not saying things will always be good and burnout won’t happen but there are definitely ways to help mitigate it and lessen its severity.
For me, I have been not overworking myself each day and spreading out the work in smaller increments over the course of the week. I have also been treating my rest and downtime with respect and giving myself the luxury to fully recharge without guilt.
Try to find hobbies you enjoy too and do them without the pressure of being great. (What if design is my hobby?) more on that below
There is no right or wrong answer here, it is about finding out what works best for you and keeping at it.
What to do when your Hobby is your Career
Like many of you I’m sure, my hobby for the longest time was doing design work. I couldn’t wait to clock out of my shift at Del taco or Pizza Hut and go home to create some fictional logos or a concept poster.
As your skills and experience grow though, that hobby may very well end up being the thing that puts food on your table.
So what are you supposed to do if your career is graphic design and it’s burning you out but your hobby to remedy that burnout is graphic design?
hmmm… good question.
I have yet to figure out an exact answer but a few things that have helped me are finding new hobbies or doing a different type of design adjacent thing.
My hobbies lately have been video games, reading, and working out.
Lately, I have been reading this and playing this
They seem to make me happy and scratch that deep play/rest and recharge itch.
However, I still find myself staying up late to create personal artwork or edit a youtube video.
If you still want to design when burnt out from your client work or day graphic design job I think it is just about changing the context and changing the stakes.
Changing the stakes was a great topic in the Rick Rubin book I read recently, (if you don’t like reading though, watch this video I made!)
If you work on branding all day, maybe in your personal work focus on poster designs or album artwork.
If your day job is heavy in production and brand guidelines, maybe try something looser like collage or illustration.
I think if we context switch and allow ourselves to create without the pressure of being “Great” then we get the enjoyment out of the artistic process without any of the guilt.
“Same great creative flow state, now 100% Guilt Free!”
There is some more stuff we discussed and I’ll try to pepper them into some future newsletters, once I can formulate some better thoughts on the topics!
Stuff to Check Out!
Tweet of the week below
Find a routine that works for you.
Stick to it
get shit done
enjoy the process
and give yourself time to recharge
Much Love, Glue.
Weekly Wrap Up
How I Designed This Colorful Motion Poster
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