• Tom WoodTom Wood, over 3 years ago

    Where do all the old designers go?

    I think realistically you need to think about management.

    I get it. We don't become designers so that we can manage other people, or so we can watch younger people do cool stuff when we're spending most of our days in meetings and emails.. but it's the most realistic path for sustainability and success.

    As you get older you have to understand what you can offer. Younger designers can offer speed, enthusiasm and "new" ideas for low wages. What can you offer? The answer is probably experience and wisdom.

    So how best can you impart that experience? And how can you remain involved? I think a move to a strategic position is the best advice. Work towards becoming a Creative Director, or even a Managing Director.

    There are few designers in their 60s who are making enough money to pay their mortgages, go on holidays, etc, who sit in their home offices making great logos or websites. Those are a rarity. But if that's what you want, you should probably make a plan and reaaaaaally work towards it.

    Edit: Just wanted to clear up that I don't think being older means being slower or less enthusiastic. My emphasis is on the low-wages. As you get older you generally need higher wages – these become harder for a company to justify unless you are offering something more than "just" design IMO.

    3 points
    • Bevan StephensBevan Stephens, over 3 years ago

      I respectfully disagree. I think this is a depressing generalisation, it sounds like you are saying older designers are unenthusiastic and slow. Which I have not found to be the case. Whilst I agree experience and wisdom are the key attributes of older designers, they can be put to good use in practicing design, not just managing others.

      6 points
    • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 3 years ago

      I’m 43 and faster than I have ever been. :D

      11 points
      • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, over 3 years ago

        LOL, Marc, I think you're the rarity he's speaking of.

        2 points
        • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 3 years ago

          I look forward to being in my 60s and going on holidays.

          (I think some of the original points about wages are fair though.)

          0 points
      • Danny Lewandowski, over 3 years ago

        Agree! Every "young" designer I've worked with is slow and uninspired. They don't put in the effort to learn their craft and get better. I could probably out-pace a dozen of them and I'm also 43. Plus I do front-end coding and most of them can't even spell HTML.

        0 points
    • Philip A, over 3 years ago

      I disagree (but upvoted because you made a worthwhile contribution, that's how it works).

      Senior/Experienced programmers are a specific type of programmer that you can hire for. You get much more experience and knowledge compared to a young graduate programmer, but they cost more. It's a tradeoff.

      I think the same will be true of the design industry (if it isn't already). Knowing how much I've grown in the last 5 years (let alone the next 10-20 years) points me to the fact that "Senior Designers" are very plausible, just as "Senior Programmers" are.

      0 points