“So, how did you become a designer?”
This question I occasionally ask designers I meet, and it often leads to an enlightening discussion about other industries and interests, many times not related to design, and how their previous experience(s) inform their design work today. Mine is a bit different.
I have always loved digital design, which is obvious to me now when I think of the birthday cards that I used to design and print at home, the time I spent meticulously picking a font for a school research project, and my absolute excitement when I saw beautiful wrapping paper at the grocery store. My drawings on MS Paint were my first step into digital illustration, and custom bullet points were an introduction to icon design.
I didn’t work in admin in the small business industry for too long before, as I like to say, ‘it just happened’. My Design Journey started with a price list for a small soap manufacturer that I had worked for as a receptionist in 2009 – my first year after passing Matric. From there I climbed my ‘personal Kilimanjaro’ to the design world, learning and growing with each step, to the point where I was finally able to support myself as a freelance designer with a few returning clients.
It was when I joined Freethinking in 2017 that my world changed.
Suddenly, it became clear that Design was so much more than I thought it was. Suddenly, Design meant working with a team of like-minded individuals. Suddenly, Design meant doing something good for somebody else. Suddenly, Design had meaning. And Design showed me I could do anything.
Now, I am working my way to specialise in Design Systems and Design for Accessibility – a dream I’ve had since I learned about it in 2018.
I am grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had so far to mould my Design experience into something more than just ‘making things pretty’. The projects that I had been a part of, the friends I had made, and the secret mentors that I have had, all showed me that Design can make anything possible.