I recently read a quote from Abduzeedo's 30 Design Meditations which got me thinking about the contradiction of fame and visibility in a designer's career. The quote was from Noreen Morioka of AdamsMorioka, Inc. who said "being a famous designer is like being a famous dentist."
I thought this was a funny quote, but later realized that it could be taken in a serious context. Outside of the design community, how many designers (excluding fashion designers) can most people list off the top of their head? My guess is zero, perhaps one or two at best. Yet, design is the face of a business. When people think of iconic brands such as Coca Cola or Starbucks, the logo is often remembered immediately. However, not many people would know offhand the names of the designers who created those logos.
It's interesting how brands garner fame and visibility. Brands become important to some, who broadcast the Nike swoosh on a tee shirt or the interlocking c's on a Chanel handbag. Individuals identify with brands, and choose some over others. Many people are eager to display the logo of a given brand without the slightest clue as to who designed it.
I never went into graphic design with the idea that it would make me famous, and I doubt most graphic designers did either. I simply think it's interesting how a design can become famous, but the designer is relatively unknown.
I would love to hear any personal stories or thoughts regarding fame and visibility in other's careers. Does it bother you that not many people are aware that you designed something? Or does recognition not matter so long as you are satisfied with a design?