I studied studio art and graphic design for my undergrad. I enjoyed science and math, but it was an easy decision to make back in 2006, I was always more passionate about creating art, designing new things, and making people happy. After graduation, I began working as a graphic designer/marketing coordinator for a local computer store and realized that something was really missing. I was creating things which was nice, but all of the work was so subjective…people either liked a design or didn’t and for no reason other than personal preference. The lack of validation and reason was really getting to me and I didn’t feel passionate about making animated gifs and flyers.
I strongly considered going back to school for engineering. I wanted something more challenging and wanted to feel like I was making a positive impact on society, I wasn’t going to get that by working in a hybrid design and marketing role. In 2012, just as I was about to start applying for engineering programs, I was introduced to the field of User Experience. I couldn’t believe that our professors had never introduced the design students to it, I realized very quickly that this is what I wanted to pursue, a perfect mixture of design, engineering, and psychology.
Over the past 6 years I have been dedicated to learning as much as I can about UX design and decided to pursue a master’s degree in HCI. I have enjoyed it so much and really feel like I can contribute in improving user’s quality of living by designing tools that won’t interfere with their daily lives. However, I have been so deep in UX that I seem to have forgotten some of the basics of design and art. My focus slowly switched from visual design to interaction/strategy which has made working as a generalist slightly difficult as my visual design skills have degraded.
I felt bad about it for a while, I lost confidence and it felt as if I sold my soul to work in the tech industry. I couldn’t remember the last time I drew for fun, painted on my own, or designed something for myself…I became so career focused that I forgot what originally brought me here. So, over the past few months, with support from other designer friends and coworkers, I have been pushing myself to design new things that are out of my comfort zone and even paint again. I have been working in different styles and am learning a lot about my abilities and what I can accomplish, my confidence has been building back up which has been invaluable. Anyway…if any of you have been feeling the same, I highly recommend getting back to your roots, I have seen improvements in my every day work and the increased confidence has helped me become more productive. I’ll strive to be more active here and post new work as I finish it :). Thanks for reading!
TL;DR I was so career driven that I forgot what it was that made me passionate about the field to begin with.