Art students* are taught to explore multiple solutions, present their work, be critiqued and critique their peers. This experience more closely resembles today’s workplace than any liberal arts education.
We need more individuals comfortable with not getting it right. Who will toil over the solution, trying multiple paths while driven by a desire to use their creation to penetrate the hearts and minds of their audience.
We need more people who are not afraid to push on the walls of the box. Who will step just over the line seeking the best possible solution, even if it does not conform.
We need those that are determined to refine and iterate. Being comfortable with that feeling that arises when it’s not quite finished, but you put it up on the wall anyhow because it’s time to share your work with the world.
We need thick skins and open, broad minds. These are the people who are able to hear feedback, sift through the awkward communication of humans to identify what’s working and what’s not.
We need teammates that are able to provide constructive feedback. Not personal preferences but thoughtful analysis of how well the solution achieved the objective. Being able to describe how it made them think or feel and what triggered those thoughts or emotions.
We need people working diligently at mastering their craft. Honing in on their unique talents, cultivating a distinct perspective on the world and the problem at hand, and then working diligently to become better.
We need individuals who understand their career is a string of projects that will wind and weave through different periods of life, with each phase clearly imprinted in their work. People who can trust there is a through-line that will reveal itself over time but only comes from putting one foot in front of the other each day.
We need a collective of artists, each proud enough of their work to sign their name at the bottom, putting a little bit of themselves into everything they do and sending it off into the world.
In my humble opinion, it is artists that create powerful brands. We need more artists.
*Full disclosure, I was an art student. I became a photographer. I use what I learned in school and in the field, every day, even though I haven’t made a living from clicking a shutter in over a decade.