Is A 9 to 5 Good For Creatives?

June 28 / JN Design Studio
JN Design Studio Blog Is 9 to 5 For Creatives

I have often been asked the question, “Is a 9 to 5 good for creative designers”. NO! And I will tell you why.

Well, on second thought, this depends on what you consider a “creative” to be.

On the surface, most people consider creatives as simply graphic designers. If this is the case, then I would say sure. A graphic designer’s main role is to visually communicate and idea or product. Most 9 to 5 jobs that require the services of a graphic designer are utilizing designers to do just that. They have product that they are trying to sell and need someone who can take some content, imagery, and translate this into a visual. Most companies have a marketing pipeline so the intentions for each are set to influence the potential customer in different ways (I will write a blog later on that discusses the various marketing pipelines).

But with certain companies come certain limitations. Most companies within the 9 to 5 scope are very one-dimensional. They tend to have tunnel vision and are set in their ways. Having that “if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it mentality”. This is where the issues can arise.

A graphic designer is mainly used for commercial purposes. They tend to bend their teachings to facilitate the need of a company. This could result in design redundancy, or lack of creativity. Continuously designing the same type of designs, communicate the same way over and over again. These jobs are perfect for graphic designers, because that is the sole purpose of a graphic designer. You are a commercial artist hired to develop visuals that fall within the scope of the company’s wants and needs. Most of the time they need your skills to translate their already preset thoughts visually. And with this thought, they hired you because of your experience and the fact that they saw what they had already envisioned in your portfolio.

Now that is not the same for all companies. They are some 9 to 5 companies that are looking to change the game. They are sick of the same design look and feel and want something new. Something fresh, that is out of the ordinary to shape up the industry a bit. This is where the “creative” will thrive.

A creative, unlike the common designer, is an artist that feeds off of the challenge of being unique and different. Their portfolio has a mix of what the industry wants, and what the industry is missing. You can tell their style of design almost like an illustrator. If this is you, you will not do well in the structured 9 to 5. You will become under appreciated, stifled, feel complacent, and see no opportunity for growth.

Finding a 9 to 5 for a creative is very rare. However, there are some suited just for the out-of-box designer. These hidden 9 to 5 gems (which I wouldn’t necessarily consider 9 to 5) that embody the creative are usually your top of the tier companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Nike, Coke, Pepsi and other well-known establishments. You can tell which ones by their marketing materials, tv ads, and products. But these are still companies that have a set standard and brand that people are familiar with. So even though you may do a large amount of creative work, you will also do a handful of redundant work as well.

So determine the career path you want to take. Do you want to climb the corporate latter? Have a good salary to live off of? Don’t mind redundancy or the occasional templated work? Then a 9 to 5 may be right for you.

Or do you want to be known for your work? Do creative projects often and not be stifled? Be hired based on your style of design? Then seek out those top tier companies, or better yet, consider freelancing and opening your own design agency.

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