I don’t write or talk much about the majority of the side projects I take on for fun outside of my work, though I probably should.
Earlier this year, I did a logo redesign project for UnderTech. Though they’ve had the logo up online for sometime, this week at the 2018 Shot Show was my first time getting to see the finished product as a tag their products. It’s not bad!
This was neat to work on because I’d always felt like their previous one looked like it belonged on the side of a gas tanker. Of course, I don’t consider myself a designer at all, but I like to test my skills and keep them sharp from time to time and when they asked me to help I couldn’t say no.
Even better, the logo is on packages being shipped around the world. UnderTech, for example, recently did a huge order to the Swedish police forces. The female officers will be wearing concealment leggings. Their clothing is also worn by guards at Tiffany’s New York, private security in Dubai, US Navy Seals, and yes, house wives too.
Here are some thoughts I had driving home from the show in Vegas this evening:
1. Professional labels are terribly overrated. Just make things. I’m not a “designer” and I have little formal design education, but so what? I designed this all the same and got paid to do it. And having completed it, I feel no particular obligation to go around seeking out design projects. This was a one-off thing. Maybe I’ll do something like it again, maybe I won’t.
2. The opportunity cost of me doing things like this is increasingly growing. I’m someone who can’t resist trying to dabble in a bit of everything, and that worked wonderfully at the beginning of my career but my time has gotten scarcer and more valuable the longer I’ve been at it. I’m happy I did the logo but in hindsight I probably could have spent my time better.
3. At the same time, I couldn’t have gotten to where I am in my career without being a dabbler. If you’re a young person who is just starting out, say yes to anything and everything. You’ll learn things you would struggle to learn on your own without context, get introduced to all sorts of interesting people, and you build the beginnings of a body of work.
And most importantly, in the end of the day, all you have are the things you made, like this logo. I can count on less than one hand the few other things that will matter as much as that.