A design for life

Retirement. For most people this is quite a welcoming word. It represents a goal that they’ve worked their entire life towards.

Who wouldn’t want to sit back and relax after a long career filled with ups and downs? In the design world however, it’s quite a different story. The likes of Steve Jobs (56) and Pablo Picasso (91) worked until the day they died. The thought of retiring probably never entered their minds.

The current retirement age in the UK is 65. Personally I have never given this any thought. The main reason being that I’ve not even hit 30 yet. However, from a career perspective it’s not something most designers can see themselves doing.

In order to ‘retire as a creative’ you’re making a commitment to switch off that part of your brain that views things in a creative manner. What you’re really saying by retiring is that you will no longer be partaking in anything design related.

That is what it truly means to retire as a creative.

And it’s quite a scary commitment to make for someone whose entire career is based on seeing an idea in everything. It’s not an easy thing to switch off. When I usually see something I like, my first instinct is to try it out for myself.  Call me crazy but the years of working in Photoshop and Indesign have caused me to ‘mentally edit’ things around me. I would see a smudge on the wall and imagine how easy it would be to bring up the clone stamp tool and ‘fix it’. So it’s safe to say I won’t be retiring anytime soon.

Although it does say a lot about my mental stability.

For many people work ends at 5pm but my routine is very different. After the hours commute I have my usual routine of eating, preparing tomorrow’s meal and the odd social media browsing. But in addition to that I also make time for some further design work. I do this not to make extra money. In fact, the kind of design work I do is the kind that is really personal to me. The kind that I wouldn’t want to do as a commission for someone, in fear that the endless amendments would cause me to eventually fall out of love with it.

I do it for me. At the moment I’m working on some motion typography, which I hope to have completed soon. On the weekends I try and improve my hand lettering skills and every once in a while I might do some digital painting. It might sound like I’m in constant design mode (and I usually am) but all this is a result of being curious about all things design based. And this curiosity is something that can’t be extinguished. Even for those who have chosen retirement.

For many designers life really begins after 30. And whilst I have a few years left before I reach that milestone I can already sense that there is no end date to my design career. Much like Picasso, I intend to do this for life.

Hakim Shujaee is a Creative Thinker and Designer at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

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