I've heard a ton of answers to this question, what's yours?
Because it doesn't feel like work.
I get paid to play.
I was supposed to become this awesome game designer but got distracted back in the late 90's, trying to un-tie this massive cluster of f*cked up user interfaces called "the internet".
I think we're almost done though. Started work on my first game 20 days ago.
Started with GeoCities when I was 12, then HotMetalPro and frames, then Dreamweaver and Photoshop 6.0, then the 'html and css should be separated look at zen garden', then hand coded front-end and more Photoshop – fast forward 4 years: dropped out, started working, three years later started to think only doing web design was boring, started doing product design instead.
The GeoCities mention made me smile.
My first site in GeoCities was horrific. Truly. Although I remember taking immense joy in the colour palette.
Cause ugly things don't deserve to exist ?
This world would be so boring and uninteresting if "ugly" things didn't exists. As much as I appreciate things that are designed well, I really only appreciate them because they highlight the flaws of the things that aren't designed well. You know what I mean? The ugly things deserve to exist. I think people like you and I, designers, just hope to contribute to the "pretty things" so that other people might appreciate them more as well.
Because they don't drug test in creative agencies ;-)
Women. And drugs. And rock & roll.
Oh, wait, that was my dream job, the one I suck at. And that’s why I’m a designer.
I never got out of the "why" phase. I just want to know how things work. Also, I have been doing this weird thing since I was young: Whenever I see two lines in a building or object, I move my head or close an eye until they line up perfectly. This helps when designing, I can't stand it when things don't align.
At 13 I started building websites, got quite a big Harry Potter community up and running and started making money at 15. Quit school at 16, been working fulltime on the web ever since.
I wan't to make things that play a part in peoples lives, even if they don't know it. Work with products that have tons of users and you can make a small impact on their life by doing solid, functional design.
Back when I was 12 years old, my dad bought a PowerMac G4 Cube. I was the one who got to clear out the packaging, but I just couldn't throw 'em out. Even the damn boxes that the machine came in were just stunningly designed. The computer itself was something unlike everything I've ever seen, so beautiful, clear and refined. A relief for my retina in contrary to the gray/yellow 90s computers I was used to seeing around.
Up until that day, I always wanted to be an inventor/scientist, but the books my parents got me on that topic (featuring Edison, Bell, etc.) didn't convince me of that profession. When I was 15 I figured out that there's a this study programme called "Industrial Design Engineering" at a University nearby and I was immediately convinced that this is what I wanted to study. I really wanted to create things, but not the 'boring' science kind of inventions.
Small jump back in time, because around the age of 13 I got into webdesign using Microsoft Frontpage and Macromedia Fireworks. When Apple released iWeb in 2006 and I got myself a brand new Mac mini I really got into webdesign. Yes... using iWeb. Around the age of 17 I switched (back) to HTML/CSS.
I've been designing products (physical and digital) ever since. I just got my bachelor's degree in Industrial Design Engineering and I finally figured out what I want to do with my life (after I get my master's degree): I really want to design products (physical products, digital services, or a combination of both) to delight users by solving real problems.
I think designers are here to stay, but with ever-evolving technology, designers need to adapt to the latest trends & developments and use the latest tools to solve actual problems. So today you may be a webdesigner, but in the future you will probably solve problems through an entirely different medium.
Great story. I too got into industrial design because I wanted to be an inventor. Once I found that industrial design existed, it really excited me that there was a path to being an inventor that was focused on people, not just science and technology.
if we're talking 'how', then I started to become interested in graphic design through graffiti as a kid, then leaving university realised digital was the truth.
It's really fun.
The long answer:
When I was 13 years old, I joined a couple forums and in those days, having a good signature image made your posts stand out from the crowd. There used to be a request area where someone would design you a signature image. Eventually I got tired of using a signature image that someone else made, so I "acquired" Photoshop and began hacking away.
During HS, I designed simple websites which were basically sliced up Photoshop files that could be exported as HTML and multiple images from Photoshop and then I edited them inside Dreamweaver to link up everything. I made some money doing that for other people and that was really cool.
When I went to college, I started as a Philosophy/History major. Half way between college, I started working on a web app project to get rid of paper forms for the student government and I realized at that point I'd rather pursue design/websites more than getting a PhD in History/Philosophy.
That web app project to get rid of paper for the student government was rewritten from scratch after I left college, and along with a college friend, we launched a startup to design/build software geared towards Higher Ed.
I sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure this is not all a dream. My job is to think deeply about problems people are having and try designing interfaces/systems to make life more pleasant.
Hated everything having to do with any math beyond the basics, so that limited my options a bit. I also hate ugly and frustrating things.
Because I can?
When I was kid I was hoping to become an architect, I didn't get the chance to finish my studies, but had discovered design meanwhile...
I could barely survive trying to pursue art. This was the only other job that I didn't mind doing that also paid well.
*I want to be loved on Dribbble. When I reach 10k followers, I'll go back to my Client Services career and piss off every single designer that refuse to work out my client's revisions. *
More seriously, because design is the only thing in life I can focus on for more than 8 minutes.
I spent a lot of time on the internet in the early days of it. Found out you could get paid to do stuff with it... and here we are.
Still amazed that I'm allowed to play around with this stuff.
I wanted to become a VFX and Motion Graphic specialist. Then I needed money and now I'm a Web Designer. I like it.
I wanted to build a website for the Lamborghini Murciélago after seeing it at a car show.
I ended up here after 12 years of practice and failures. Now I help build products that get used by millions of people.
Ever since I was a kid I said I wanted to either be a zookeeper or an artist... so I was partially right I guess. My parents bought me Photoshop instead of a game-boy. Started with making animated gifs & slice-based rollover websites from images. I remember my first layout was mimicking an article in National Geographic Kids about Owls that I thought was a cool layout.
Why did I keep doing design? Because I like solving problems and studying how people interact with things. I like the science part of it as well as the creative part.
Not really a designer but this is how I ended up doing web dev:
I was headed toward software development then accidentally never got off the internet and this happened.
I was 17 and never had a job before. In 2006, with the World Cup, a t-shirt factory needed someone who could draw stuff about soccer, cause in Brazil, it sells. That guy was me. I started to draw some tees, then I got to my first digital agency and now, I'm here designing and coding.
I'm connected to internet all the time. :-P
My dad worked in advertising and I used to go to work with him when I had school holidays.
One time we were at Black Sun PLC in London and I was watching a designer make a luggage tag graphic from scratch over his shoulder (hovering art director since age 14 haha). I kind of blew my mind that he was making something photo realistic, seemingly out of nothing, and I wanted to be able to do that.
I played with photoshop, then I played with illustrator. I did art at school and from there became a design via college.
very relevant: http://youtu.be/Kkd8OSDa55A?t=21m46s
Because I am a designer.
I liked computers and digital shit. I started learning code and computer science. I quickly found out that just coding would be boring really quick, and eventually found out that doing html and working in photoshop could be a job in itself and decided to become a tan tan taaaan! a webdesigner!
Because being an accountant sounded so boring.
This is why : http://vimeo.com/34017777
“We get to go make things. Things that nudge the world a little bit in what we hope is the right direction. We get to put a dent in the universe. This is a great job.” — Wilson Minner
I wanted to be a scientist when I was younger. After playing Mega Man Battle Network in middle school and throughout high school, I wanted to be a computer scientist and make an operating system. I didn't finish my freshman year of college in 2006 because I couldn't afford it. Then the economy crashed.
Design kept me sane. Also, I like the idea of showing the world what I see when my eyes close.
Because I want more good products to exist in the world.
To help people do their jobs better by making things
Throughout school I found that I excelled in (and therefore was most interested in) Math, Science, and Art.
The interest in Math and Science led me to Technology. Eventually I found something at the intersection of Technology and Art, which for me, ended up being UI Engineering/Design.
Plenty of things helped shape me along the way:
- I had a grandmother who was great at picking up on my interests at a young age and she helped nudge me in the right direction with learning computers and arts/crafts projects.
- I've always had a curiosity about how things work/why they work a certain way. I was the typical, Take Things Apart but Never Put Them Back Together Kid. Once I got the answers to how/why something worked the way it did, the mystery was gone and there was no need to put it back together.
- I always liked to draw/doodle, and partake in arts/crafts projects.
To name a few.