David Laufer meets Herb Lubalin

David Calvin Laufer recounting his meeting with designer Herb Lubalin:

“Lubalin accepts my handshake with a nod, and says, ‘Welcome.’ He sees all the best portfolios that come through New York, and it’s 6:30 in the evening, so he breezes through mine, pausing only once or twice. He says nothing about my work.

‘So, why did you want to come here? They told you we aren’t hiring.’

‘Because, you are the greatest living graphic designer, and…’

He raises a hand gently and wags two fingers, as if erasing an unnecessary phrase. ‘You think that because I spend $80,000 a month publishing a stupid magazine. […] Look, how many of my designs have you seen?’

I start naming them, grasping a different finger for each one like a disciple reciting catechism: ‘Avante Garde, the SH&L logo, Moneysworth, Eros, U&lc, Mother & Child magazine.’

‘Right. Look,’ he says again, this time gesturing behind me toward multiple banks of flat files with a hundred drawers, maybe more, neatly labeled. ‘I show only my best work. People never see the drawers and drawers of schlock work I have done all my life to pay the bills.’

He shakes my hand hurriedly, but looking me full in the face for an instant, with warmth, he says, ‘Don’t spend too much energy chasing people like me. There’s nothing I can tell you that you don’t already know. You are doing good work. You are probably capable of great work. But it’s a fight. The world will tell you ‘that’s good enough.’ But of course, the world has its head up its ass. Don’t give up. Keep moving. Get faster.’ Then calling over his shoulder, ‘I hope that helps.'”

— (via Dialogues With Creative Legends)