Nowadays, it seems almost impossible to live without our cell phone, without Internet access – that includes email, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on.
Jake Reilly inspired me to write this article. Jake lived for the last 3 months in December 2011 without the things above. His experience inspired me and made me think how we can do some things differently. The amount of time we spend on social networks and on the mobile phone is increasing and it’s eating up our free time or it even interferes with out work.
I will connect Jake’s experience to the life a designer, graphic designer, call it what you want – let’s say a creative professional. How much time do you spend on the Internet on a daily basis? How much time do you spend on your mobile phone?
The question is: do we really need the Internet to do our work? My personal opinion is that we do. But in what measure?
As a graphic designer you sometimes need a font from that site, a texture from another website, a grungy background from there, a web button from that place and we usually seek for inspiration in other people’s work – weather we realize it or not. We tune into social networks to “socialize”, to promote our work, to receive credits and congratulations from others and the reasons could go on. But the truth is that we most often spend more time than we need to on these platforms. Needless to say that there are programs where you can schedule Facebook posts, Twitter news and so on – Hootsuite for example. This will save you tons of time!
How about, for a whole week (let’s not say 3 months like Jake did), you don’t use the Internet. You setup an auto email responder saying that you won’t be available for a week and if there’s something really urgent they can call you on your stationary phone number. Now…
What to do without Internet as a graphic designer:
1. You can get your ass from your chair and seek for inspiration outside. Check out that part of your city that you’ve never seen. Go to the parks you’ve never been to in your city, to that museum, to that historical part of the city, go to a country place, to a lake or a place with a beautiful view. Get inspired from nature, from beautiful landscapes – the texture of autumn leaves can be inspiring, as well as the grungy wall of that old house down the street, the reflection in the lake and so on!
2. Meet people! There is one thing to talk to people on the Internet and another to see one face to face at a coup of coffee. Relationships bond faster and they become more real this way. Everybody is your buddy on the Internet, but only a few will actually take the time to meet you. So establish meetings with people over the phone, give away your business card, make new and valuable connections.
3.Take your camera with you wherever you go! You won’t believe how many unexpected scenes will be revealed for you to shoot. These photos can serve later as inspiration in your projects. Moreover, if you have a really great camera, you can get some awesome high resolution photos with textures, because, as I said earlier, you can find resources everywhere around you!
4. You will see that working without using the Internet will gain you some free hours! Use those hours to spend quality time with the people you love. If you are emotionally happy, then you will be more relaxed while working. So take your kid for a bike ride, make pancakes with your daughter, watch a movie with your girlfriend or wife or have a picnic, whatever works for you!
5. Remember your passion for pencil drawing. Go back to the basics! Just think of a subject and sketch variations on that theme.
Please complete the list with the things YOU would do if you were without Internet for a whole week :) I’m curious to find out!