Jacob Charles Wilson

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"Ugly Design" + Imposter Syndrome as an Illustrated Coping Strategy

for AIGA Eye on Design
A spread from 'Friends in Many Places'

Working in an artistic capacity means oscillating between a state of dreary underemployment and frenetic bursts of overwork. Some would say this has always been the case, but these days it feels particularly acute. Sander Ettema works almost ceaselessly, he's one of the most productive graphic designers I've come across. He seems to embody the energy of a saturated, sugar-hyped, Saturday-morning cartoon. But he knows this way of working is unsustainable, only a symptom of his anxious years spent trying to escape poverty. Writing for AIGA Eye on Design, I spoke to Sander about his first published zine, Friends in Many Places. Published by Jumbo Press, which condenses the (un)justified fears and anxieties of precarious workers into glowing, gradated pages.

I tend to get lost in this mania where I feel like there’s always more to be experienced, I go over my own borders. I never have a clear line where the one thing stops and the other begins.