“I’m a trained designer” That’s my boast and my failing. Being a trained artist is not all the rage these days. Pragmatism is what cuts it. I realize that there is benefit and value in what I do but what I find more often is that my skill has been commoditized & my craft is no longer as needed the way it once was.
A Developing Heuristic
When I graduated from college and proudly held my Bachelor’s degree I would have never imagined the did that was coming in the near future for the economy and that my degree in many respects would prove almost useless. I did not see the uprise of the outsourcing industry and the cheapening of my most valued skill. The thing that I had worked so very hard to obtain a degree for in an accelerated time of 3 years would almost be completely irrelevant by the time I set out to actually obtain gainful employment.
I spent the entire first year after college not doing the things I loved to do but rather filling in at a local school district as a substitute teacher. While I was substitute teaching in the local high schools & middle schools of my area I was also seeking truly gainful employment by putting in hundreds of applications for web developer positions at local web and graphic firms and going to interviews regularly. After a year I finally obtained a position of full-time employment at a web marketing company but only for a short time (4 Months) and was soon laid off with the rest of the web development department (1 other developer) because this company was a start-up.
Starting out on my own
After my layoff I began to seek my own clients and actually landed a few really nice projects that kept me floating. I have not gone back to being a regularly employed individual since then but have been working as a freelancer and developing “My own Business”. I felt forever that a big part of the competitive advantage I owned was my depth of skill in building websites. I actually still think this is a huge advantage but I have recognized that there has been a huge shift in the market. The break neck pace of most businesses today do not allow for the value of the craft of being a fine artist designer who meticulously creates each piece of work & actually charges a premium. This is all the more true for those who have not been involved in their market for long. For a long while I felt that the time and effort that I put into learning and mastering my craft was now wasted and in many ways irrelevant.
Loss & Gain
The sentiment of the above statements were brilliantly explained in a WordCamp talk I attended in Los Angeles last year by Chris Lema. If you take a moment and watch the talk you will realize what I mean.
The Shifting Landscape
Because of the shifts in the market for web development, graphic design & web marketing I have realized that the imperative now is not what once defined what was important (an important lesson). As a matter of fact the shift in the market for the aforementioned services has been so great that it is difficult for business owners (especially SMB’s) to keep up with the constant changes on even a fairly regular basis and still run their businesses competitively in their industries. Here is a sampling of the few technologies & trends that are affecting the digital marketing landscape. Many of these terms are “marketing catch phrases” but each of them have a depth of history and technologies that they are intertwined with and form of the basis of digital marketing that is currently propelling businesses and will continue to move them forward in the next few years until the current technologies morph into something more.
- Open Web Technology – HTML5 / CSS / JS / PHP etc…
- Mobile readiness / Responsive Web Design
- Social Media & Social Media Optimization
- Contextual Advertising
- Content Management Systems (WordPress etc…)
- Mobile Applications
- Search Engine Optimization
- Crowd Sourcing
- Video Advertising
- Pay Per Click Advertising
- Internet of Things
- Artificial Intelligence
- The list goes on and on…
A Teaching Trajectory
If you took that time to listen to or watch the video then you will understand the trajectory of my fine artist designer & web developer skills for the future. The practical move of stepping up to the next level of potential is my current aim. My goal is to no longer specialize in only the “know how” but to continually say “hi” to the “know why“. The trajectory of what Philoveracity Design will focus on is teaching. The commodity of design has led me from being a trained designer to a “training” designer and i’m quite satisfied with that.