Is success really the final goal?
— Emily Stevens
Yes and no because there are lots of ways to define success. The capitalist definition of success is to make more and more money, pursue endless business growth, and sacrifice all else for the sake of growth. Or you can define success for yourself. I think many creative professionals pursue our careers partially because we’re in search of an alternative definition of it.
That said, we still need money to survive – so for me, it’s about striking a balance. Instead of striving for growth, I strive to have enough. I aim for an equilibrium where all aspects of my life are cared for, and money is just a means to an end. Most of all I want to live my values by speaking up for marginalized people and the future of the planet. There’s an increasing number of designers who’ve built their practice around this goal, or who are adapting their practice to be more values-based. The tricky thing is that we still need to make enough money in an increasingly difficult world to survive in, with soaring house prices and imminent climate disaster. We need to be clever enough to come up with ways to generate income while making a positive impact, and brave enough to fight for an alternative way of doing things. I don’t think graphic design will save the world, but it can help as a tool for communicating important messages and convincing the masses. If I do that throughout my career, then I’ll consider myself successful.
Emily Stevens –
Emily Stevens is an independent designer based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Aotearoa in Wellington, New Zealand. She designs brand experiences for progressive clients in the areas of culture, conscious consumerism, environment and small business. She helps clients express their unique perspective across all touchpoints, online and in real life, in order to inspire loyalty in their audience.