Yes, yes it is and I love my job. Let me rephrase. My boss is awesome and, when I need to go into the office, I'm a wee 30 minute trike ride or five minute car ride away. This beats my previous 60-90 minute commute all to hell and back. I generally, at most, work with just one other person — everyone’s usually out on the road. Yeah, I’m a social beastie BUT I surely do enjoy not having to surf dodgy office dynamics. I solidly savor not having to deal with crucial-to-doing-my-job co-workers who rock the Drama Mama/Papa act somethin’ strong. This AND I don’t have to expend mega loads of effort attempting to lipread colleagues at the same time that I’m performing my magic market research, billing and filing functions.
Back to working from home — I’m in layout/design city. You may be thinking “Gee Donna, weren’t you an art major? This is right up your alley!”
Well...ja und nein.
You see, I’ve more in common with a de Kooning or Gorky than a buttoned down Albers. The biz world is a buttoned down place. I need to tone down my usual exuberance when designing for others BUT not too much lest I churn out utterly dull (so tame that even the client falls asleep on first gaze) drek. This is a tight dance.
Clients want what they want. I understand — it’s their company and they want the logo/Tshirt emblem/business card to be an expression of themselves. They just don’t have the artistic chops, the design language or time to express this to their satisfaction. That’s why we’re hired. I totally get it.
They may say “go wild. I can’t wait to see what you come up with” BUT...
I had one person who was starting a cool new biz — it's all about fun, quirky, offbeatly decorated pastries. Fun! The art he submitted, which I was specifically asked to improve on, used a hackneyed, pedestrian font and an atrocious drawing of a cookie. My nine year old grandkiddle could’ve done better. They were completely attached to the execrable sketch but not so much the font. I laid it all out, three versions, using some of the spiffy, fun yet elegant fonts I’ve got on hand. I tried to add pizzazz and zip to the damnable illustration. What did the customer choose? After much back and forth they went with the banal, clichéd typeface and listless, un-zingified graphic that they’d walked in with. I was demoralized, as though they’d just rented my hands (to lay it out and add copy) — I felt like a cheap, red light district, prossy. (hyperbole? It's what's for brekkie!)
Milton Glaser is to suss that out and bring it to life.
Graphic design and fine art painting — related but distant cousins. They are at my level anyway.
Still, I’m loving the hell out of these new challenges. Even though this totes fucks with my nightly coma time, it’s pretty damned fab that I can, at two AM when I’ve woken with some stone cool idea, trot down stairs, fire up Illustrator and go to town on my latest project or three.
So — working from home? I’m on the clock whenever I wanna be yet I never feel as though I’m fully off the clock.
The good with the not so great. I’ll take it.