When Ellen Lupton asked her students â€œWhat is success?â€ the response â€œGetting a job and making money.â€ has driven her latest AIGA article by the same question; What Is Success?. A great discussion and never ending debate.
Having recently immersed myself into Oliver Jamesâ€™ book Affluenza, Ellen's article is a wonderfully topical discussion, which I have also been discussing with colleagues and students. Affluenza (which at most criticizes and abruptly awakens its readers to a money-grabbing, consumer â€œmust-haveâ€ society), ultimately questions if success can be gained in any competitive industry and within any consumer-focused society. For example: Can a single ambition ever be experienced? As one success, ambition or goal is reached another one is created, superceding its previous. Therefore, I agree that a consistent â€œraising of the barâ€ (Jared Lantzman), certainly plays a part of being a â€œsuccessfulâ€ designer. Why this is the case, however, is an entirely different discussion.
Success is subjective to personal ambition and at its core is defined by each individual. The problem I see however, is that success is taught initially by a grading matrix and later by an overly powerful â€œcelebrityâ€ culture (especially in the Design Industry). I believe being a successful Designer entails the creative ability to evolve and grow at the same pace that the industry does, yet whilst remaining unique in ones own ability and passion.
For me, my creative and professional success will be determined by any socially conscious contribution I make to the world around us, via the medium of Visual Communication; a combination of Design Methodology and Creative Intelligence. Making a difference is far more â€œsuccessfulâ€ than merely making an impact and should the former be achieved, the latter tends to follow.