Home > Creative > Designer Job Requirement: Juggling

Designer Job Requirement: Juggling


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We’re going to begin dissecting exactly what it takes to be a Designer in this big, bad world of ours. While some may expect me to start with what kind of degree one should have, or perhaps a laundry list of program proficiencies, I’m going to pull this first one from left field, and be a bit creative with it at the same time.

Time to revisit memories of the circus folks, as the first Job Requirement to being a Designer is Juggling!

Have you ever watched an actual juggler perform? Notice how each object they juggle is always in motion, whether they have their hand on it or not? Apply that same idea to your perception of a designer. We always have something we’re working on, something that is awaiting approval, something that is being printed, and someone to talk to about a new project, etc. Let’s face it, as designers we not only have to juggle multiple projects, but we have to be creative with them all!

Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines juggling as:

  1. To perform the tricks of a juggler
  2. To engage in manipulation especially in order to achieve a desired end
  3. To handle or deal with usually several things (as obligations) at one time so as to satisfy often competing requirements.

Category Icon TestWhile I can’t personally perform the tricks of a juggler, (Though if you can, I’m jealous. And if you can do it with chainsaws, I want to see a video!) I can “handle or deal with usually several things (as obligations) at one time so as to satisfy often competing requirements”. In fact, I believe this job requirement for designers is second only to being creative.

Let’s look at a sample of the ‘objects’ designers need to be able to juggle:

  • Concepting New Projects
  • Jobs in Progress
  • Multiple Clients
  • Deadlines
  • Printers and Their Requirements
  • Communication
  • Customer Service

See, I know there are folks out there more creative than myself, but if they can’t juggle all of that like me or anyone here in Design at Optima, they won’t make a good designer.

“So Tim, what happens when I call Optima and you’re juggling enough of those that when I throw mine to you, the rest will fall?”

Ahh, see, that’s the beauty of what I do for a living, and where. In my department, we support each other. If one of us gets something thrown at them that they need help with, another of us steps in to take it up and help out. Keep that in mind next time you have a project and are looking for someone to take it on, we’d love to hear from you.

Tim Toolen
Graphic Designer
Optima Graphics

Categories: Creative
  1. Gary Camarato
    April 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Excellent Post Tim! I will add – Keeping up with creative trends and – Keeping up to date with ever changing creative software. That second one is a tricky one because if you don’t have the support of a big operation, well, those tools can be awfully expensive!

    • Tim Toolen
      April 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      Heck, even ONE of those tools can be horribly expensive! And don’t even get me started on trying to keep up with current trends. That’s nearly a full time job in and of itself! They both, however, are more than a worthwhile pursuit, or ‘Object’ to juggle, I wholeheartily agree.

  2. April 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Tim,
    Thanks for your outstanding Post,really interesting to read. I got my BFA Degree in Industrial Design in 1964 and can say “been there,done that”. Keep up the good work.

  3. Tina Koenen
    April 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    So true, Tim. You don’t know me, but I met Gary and Derek back in September of last year. I am a freelance designer in the area and would love to help you “juggle” jobs. Visit my page and see if there is any way that I can be of assistance.

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