My background is in Creative Advertising, a combination of Marketing Communications and Graphic Design. Initially, I loved it. I loved coming up with creative strategies and being able to visualize the outcome. But after a couple of years of working and freelancing, I realized that it wasn’t something I could see myself doing professionally forever.
Finding something you’re passionate about is definitely a struggle, more for some people than others and I get told all the time “you’re lucky you know what you want to do.” I truly am grateful to have discovered what I love doing and I’d like to share what helped me figure it out. Maybe you could treat it like a small exercise for yourself and see if it inspires you.
There was one particular class and project that I did in my third year at university (Graphic Design 3 with Elizabeth Monoian). It was by far my favorite piece of work in my portfolio (definitely not the greatest design work but still my proudest). The idea was to come up with a company/organization, fictional or realistic and develop a brand identity for it. Where do we begin?
There are no limits. That was the point. And our professor emphasized that by not caring if it was crazy, or silly, or impossible. It was almost annoying. But because it was a heavily weighted project grade, we had to come up something. Anything.
It forced me to think about my childhood and my hobbies. I even had a conversation with my mom to help me think about what I enjoyed and what my interests were. She said “painting, all kinds of crafts, coloring, and you used to make and gift a lot of beaded bracelets and necklaces”. I had completely forgotten about that. I’ve always been obsessed with jewelry and it was such a normal thing in my life that I completely overlooked it. It sounded kind of silly for this project, but the clock was ticking.
Jewelry was a start. I had no real experience or knowledge about designing jewelry at the time. It was just the final product of this hypothetical business. I wanted it to have more purpose and meaning. I integrated a social element; a business using a Microsoft Surface, where you come with your friends to a store/cafe, design jewelry together, pick a humanitarian cause to donate a percentage to, and come back later on to pick up your completed personalized jewelry item.
In theory, this was a unique, great idea that might even be realistic. I designed the branding and brought it to life. I designed everything from the logo, to the packaging, to the brochures. Fast-forward to three years later, I thought about that project again and the branding I had already started made me feel like I was half way there.
Try to make a list of things, even the most random things, that you used to/still do enjoy doing. Ask your parents, your siblings and your close friends about what they think your interests and hobbies are. You may not even realize some of the things they come up with and it might spark an idea, or get you back into doing something you forgot you truly enjoy.