As designers, for years we improve our craftsmanship and skills. Some of us aim to be a designer who has a strong, recognizable style and personal signature. While, on the other hand, some want to become versatile designers who can answer the needs of different clients. Whatever the path we choose, we must adapt to the cultural phenomena that exist during our time. This requires continuous learning.
Eventually, as we continue to learn (or fail through many trials and errors) to improve our skills, we face another challenge. Our skill is not merely a skill anymore. It has turned into a double-edged sword.
This thought brought me back to "Ironfist Chinmi", a 90's Japanese comic. The story analogized skill to a weapon. It is like a sword edge. The more it is sharpened, the sharper it will be. However, if we sharpened the sword without having a sturdy hilt, the blade would only injure us.
Therefore, it is important for designers to make a sturdy hilt (our own soul and conscience) in order to keep the purpose that supports our skill. To be a good designer, we must have a strong heart since our profession is a neutral position. Our designs can make people behave and do things that have previously been directed for certain interests, such as advertising, marketing, or driving positive social movements. In contrast, we also have the ability to create designs that would later be intended to aim for damage; igniting intolerance, conveying hate-crime, and other negativity.
There are many options for us out there. We can become educators who preserve/contribute to culture. Or, communicate positive things for social and environmental issues. In the end, we still carry our double-edged sword everywhere, but it is our soul who will guide us all along to make better choices.