No Design Experience Needed

Charles Morris
4 min readMar 21, 2024

So…yeah. I love freelancing. Kind of. If you like always searching for your next gig while working on your current gig, then yeah, I love it! So, not so much. I love the work. But I don’t love the constant hustle. To break the hustle cycle I have been looking for real live full time jobs with benefits. And it’s been a while since I have been out there in that world. And it’s like traveling in an astronaut suit through space because it’s a creative vacuum. It’s hard to breathe in an atmosphere that is trying to replace me/us.

I am seeking job postings with titles like: communications coordinator, creative director, social media manager, video editor, scriptwriter. And what I see coming back at me is:

-…you will be working with AI to craft best of class content…
-…utilizing ChatGPT, you will be crafting original…
-…must have experience using Canva to create original content for social media posts…
-…Hi, I am a lifestyle influencer (who is about 19 years old) and can no longer keep up with the demand for creating my makeup videos, I have 1 million followers on YT and need to…
-…if creating content set to extremely tight deadlines and using your skills to help market the latest product releases sounds exciting to you…

All hard won creative energy and talent is being harnessed by an economy that marches to the steady beat of “hungry for faster, more, right now”. For me, it’s sad to see that artists are asked to make things that make the world a worse place. When we apply the creative impulse for things so banal and useless, for too long, we invariably lose the feel of what creating ever meant. Creativity has always been a spiritually satisfying act. That has changed. We are way off script now.

That’s first level bad.
What’s on the second level?

Our creative efforts are now being funneled into teaming up with AI, Canva and more…automated programs that (ironically) humans use to replace our creative endeavors that, oh yeah, have become inextricably linked to keeping a roof over our heads and food on our tables…shoes on our feet.

What’s wrong with Canva, with AI and more? Check out the phrasing from their own site about using Canva to create:

“No Design Experience Needed”

I began building my first website in 1997. My company was an outdoor guide service and I wanted in on marketing via this whole internet thing. I helped with the layout. I wrote the words. I took the pics. I paid two humans (real live people who needed food and shelter) to design the site in HTML code. PHP didn’t exist. WordPress didn’t exist. Their effort meant their company could thrive. I didn’t shortcut anything.

Now it’s “No Design Experience Needed”?

Soon, Canva will be making the entire site, the entire IG post, including the AI generated photo. Soon it will be commonplace for graphic designers to be using their skills to enter into other crowded job silos. But it’s not because AI is out to get us. It’s because many of us have subscribed to the “hungry for faster, more, right now” work culture for far too long. The economic machine we created (albeit in the past before it was “us”) has reached a tipping point, indeed surpassed it. The scary thing for me is how many of us (humans) are thrilled to embrace AI. Don’t be excited unless you are ready to help your friends pay their bills in the next few years. Because it’s coming.

Here is the progression:

“hungry for faster, more, right now”
leads to
“No Design Experience Needed”
and finally…
“No paid humans necessary”

This wouldn’t bother me if we weren’t simultaneously still living in an economy that requires us to work for our money. We can’t all go out and start growing veggies and tending livestock any longer. If you don’t have money, you lose access to healthy food, safe housing, medical care.

And yes, in a real way, Canva is just a symptom. In a world where someone can make a million dollars a year by simply putting on makeup in videos that AI can edit for free, that’s a symptom. We are all forgetting that being skilled at something useful is actually important and valuable. It’s a fact that using our hearts and minds and hands to make things, makes for a good life. If we can make money doing essentially nothing…we will also feel nothing…and then need distraction…say, like…a makeup video tutorial, or 10, on a Friday night-alone in our overly expensive rented room in a shared apartment in NYC.

By using our minds to create machines that replace our usefulness-well that’s a world that none of us are ready for. The only way out is to stop “hungry for faster, more, right now”.

How to convince people that it’s actually okay and beneficial to slow down?

I dunno. Ask Chat GPT?

As for me, I am on Team Human. Let’s slow down. And stop watching makeup videos like they are as important as a major world event.

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