- -  Day # 363  + +

EU > Germany > Frankfurt Main

Daniel, designer

Frankfurt Main, DE (View on map)

Quitting a prestigious job is not a typical German thing to do. Still, I found somebody today who has made `fun` the most important part is career. Daniel Siegl (27) has worked on graphic design projects of some of German best-known companies, but he has decided that it`s time to move on to work that really pleases him.

Daniel (27):

`I want to work for fun, not for money`
Daniel was born in a small village in Austria as the second child of his German mother and Austrian father. `We moved to Germany when I was four years old. Already at that time, I was painting a lot, together with my dad. If I see those paintings today, I instantly remember the moment I was actually painting them. I would go as far as saying that I remember every single stroke. Nothing has really changed since then. I still scribble a lot, make drawings, design things. I think the paintings I made as a child look quite cute, and I also like how they helped me develop the skills I need for the type of work I do now.`

`I obviously found art the most interesting subject at secondary school. I thought everything else was mostly boring and annoying. I was quite bad at all the science stuff: maths, chemistry, physics.. Fortunately, my teachers and classmates noticed that I was more talented for other stuff. On top of that, I was really lazy, which was not very helpful either. I always started working on things just before the deadline. Also that hasn`t changed. I need time pressure to get something done, just as much as I need to free my mind before I can come up with nice ideas. If I spend too much time working, I start lacking ideas.`

`My school career was saved by the fact that I was very decided about what I wanted. I it helped my teachers have sympathy for my laziness. I was once late to hand in an assignment for art class. Then the teacher asked me to make a cartoon that she wanted to give to a friend as a present. I did that, and got a pass for the original assignment that I never handed in.` `During secondary school, I enjoyed making graffiti, but I never had enough money to buy all the necessary stuff. Also, I thought I was not very good at the technique of it. Instead of spraying on walls, I pretty much limited myself to blackbooks: a big size book in which people invite others to leave some kind of a graphic signature.`

`After completing secondary school, I don`t think anybody was surprised that I started studying Communication Design. I learnt a lot during these years and I did some cool assignments. I learnt about the rules of graphical design and managed to apply them to my work ? or to choose to deliberately leave them aside. Even before I finished my studies, I was offered a job in Stuttgart, for the agency who does all visual communication stuff for Porsche. I don`t know how or where they got my contacts. I guess they just found some stuff that I had uploaded somewhere. Anyway, I was delighted to be invited by such a big agency and I enjoyed the time I spent there.`

`The only downside of the job was that I was based in Stuttgart, while all my friends and family lived in Frankfurt. After one and a half year, one of my colleagues had plans move to another agency in Frankfurt. I was very happy to join him and so I moved back to Frankfurt. I was happy to be reunited with my friends. It saved me a lot of travelling, because when I lived in Stuttgart, I kept travelling back and forth to Frankfurt during almost every single weekend.`

`When I was back in Frankfurt, my colleague changed agencies once more and I came with him once again. That`s how I got to the company that I work for now. They are very prestigious and they have big clients: Adidas, Nintendo and Audi. It sounded like a dream to work on projects like those, but reality is a bit different. The designs we make for them are very conservative in a way. My colleagues now the customers and they know exactly what they want. They also produce exactly what they want. As a result, there`s never anything really new. My colleagues are fine with that, but I am not. I want to do new stuff, not chew on old material and collect more money out of previous successes. And so I quit the job a few days ago. I will just complete the next month and then start working freelance. At the beginning, I will still work for agencies rather than clients. It`s not easy to get your own portfolio of clients, but I am fine working with the agencies for a start as well.`

Getting ideas
`I am not really sure whether I believe in terms like `talent` and `inspiration`. I believe both are most of all the result of dedication and hard work. Some people are confused about their ambitions. They want to `be` somebody instead of doing what they should be doing. They create these in-crowds of people who talk a lot but don`t do much. They are always certain about what they produce, while I am not. I work on something, then like it for a week and then it starts annoying me. I feel quite ambiguous about most of my work, but I don`t think I mind. It keeps my mind flexible. I am not afraid of succumbing to the craziness of my ideas. I actually think that they are not even sufficiently crazy at the moment.`

`Ideas often come unexpected and I know I will forget about them if I don`t write them down. I always carry a small note book with me. I should do the same with a camera, but I haven`t done that up until now. Just last week, I took my camera with me twice. I might consider getting a small camera to take some quick shots. The one I have now is too heavy and too big to keep with me all the time.`

`I am not too concerned about my future. I have a reserve worth three months of salary but I am already drowning in work today. The real work actually starts when I get home from the job. Right now, it`s even a bit too much. I might get a burn-out if it all continues like this. I can spend weeks doing nothing only to spend a couple of days turning at 180%. I can`t do it any other way.`

`I don`t think that I will keep being a graphic designer until my retirement. I prefer to do some more arty stuff, pick-up the painting again, and whatever else comes on the way. One thing is for sure, I don`t want to base my choices on money. I want to work on projects that I find useful, challenging and fulfilling.`

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