One thing that I have always vowed never to do in life is to just blend in. Blending in gets you nowhere, and it is getting noticed that gets you the things that you want out of life. Think about employment and dating for instance. If you simply blend into the background, or your resume or portfolio blends in or looks like everyone else’s, then you will never get a good job, unless you just happen to know someone. It is great to be yourself, but I am simply saying that conformity is not a good thing. For the dating example, if you sit in a corner and never say anything to anyone, or you are at a party and keep to yourself and never ask anyone to dance, then you are not going to have a fun time at the party. If you sit in your own little corner and wait for someone to ask you, or someone to come up and talk to you, then you will be waiting a long time.
One of the reasons that I bring this up is that I read a lot of angry comments about my post yesterday asking “Are Women Better Graphic Designers Than Men?” I didn’t ask this question to get any sort of backlash, or to stir up trouble, but I wanted people to sit back and really consider sociology and psychology, and whether outside influences could have any affect on someone’s ability as a graphic designer. I had a professor in college that said something stupid to the effect of ” Women are naturally better graphic designers, because scientifically can see more colors and better depth of colors than men. So the men here are already at a disadvantage in the design field.” The reason that I brought this up at all is for us to take a step back and look at the way things are, question it, analyze how we all personally work as individuals, and if we feel that we may be biased to any gender or race, then we need to educate ourself and change how we look at things.
If, by posting an article about gender biased, or any other social issue, I can change the mind of just one person, to make them realize that they are wrong for doing so, then I have had a positive effect on the design world. As designers, we are socially responsible for the rest of the world and how they perceive issues. We have a lot of influence, and our work can do a lot of good. it is our duty to make sure that everyone knows that they are born equal, and that we all have the same rights as any other human being on this earth.
When I post these types of articles, my goal is to inform, educate, and provoke thought and self reflection. In the business world, not many companies harp on the idea that we are greatly responsible for social reform and how we all treat others. I am unbiased, and choose my coworkers based on skill, insight, and personality (trustworthiness, loyalty, etc).
As designers, we are built to push the envelope. Companies come to us to help them market themselves and their products and services. If we simply want to blend in, then we won’t last long in the design world. We are built, trained, and molded into entities that are supposed to look at everything from every perspective. We are the ones that creatively bring about change by creating a call to action that has enough impact to make others want to change or spring into action to help or to do something. That is why charities and non-profit organizations look to us to bring matters to people’s attention, so that people that want to help are informed.
I have a decent amount of daily readers that come to my site for tutorials and design advice and to read about design issues every day. If there is indeed an uproar over men and women and gender relations, then maybe we haven’t made as much progress as we would like to believe. I have read dozens of comments where women have been undermined and degraded, which simply appalls me. I am not the type of person that simply sits back and does nothing. I will not tiptoe around any issue or sweep it under the rug. The fact that there is even slightly the idea of an issue present means that it needs to be addressed.
Together as designers, we have the ability to change the world.