It's a challenge being a graphic designer when one has mixed feelings about advertising. On the one hand, there are products and services that genuinely improve the lives of people. More and more advertising is about manufacturing need for things that damage the earth and rob individuals of their own identity.
I am a graphic designer that has never worked in a advertising agency. The closest I came to advertising work was a six year stint as a freelancer where I occasionally did advertisements for real estate companies pushing sprawling suburban developments in Atlanta suburbs like Roswell, Marietta, and Alpharetta. I was amazed at how many of these developments had names that ended in "Pointe." Somehow that "e" at the end of the word made the developments on what were once hardscrabble cotton farms look elegant. I was never able to be a very convincing graphic designer in this role because I was never really convinced that I had not made some kind of pact with the devil. Finally, I decided that advertising sprawl was just about as bad as advertising cigarettes. Perhaps that turned out to be not such a bad theory; a few studies have shown that sprawl is making us less healthy.
Graphic designers are complicit in the act of manufacturing desire--essentially the cynical art of making consumers feel incomplete. It's something that makes me feel more than a little sleazy about my profession and had directed my career path.
Most of my career has been as a graphic designer in the planning and engineering fields. I've worked for the Atlanta Regional Commission, a multi-county area planning and development commission; Rosser International, an architecture and engineering firm that designed many correctional facilities; and TransCore ITS, a traffic engineering firm specializing in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). Except for the fact that now I've come to the conclusion that building prisons is a generally bad idea since mostly what we do is fill them will individuals who have committed victimless crimes, my career has been mostly free of morality crisis-inducing activities.
I love doing work for non-profits that are involved in progressive politics. If you represent such an organization and you need assistance in promoting your organization, contact me.