As a professional designer it is hard to separate business with personal taste. That fine line is always a struggle in a creative profession. Here are some things to always keep in mind when making creative decisions in our field.
• Think with one foot inside the box
We always hear the term “think outside the box,” which is good to do. But when it comes to the professional design world, that isn’t always received well. There may always be a better receptive middle ground that will appeal to most of your audience and your client while still invigorating their senses just a bit.
• Trends come and go
Don’t spend so much time trying to hone in on trends that you end up missing what your strengths might be. It is always good to know what the trend is and use what use it to hone in on your own style. A lot of times in the professional world we don’t always get to do what we like, we have to follow a specific brand or our creative direction doesn’t get chosen. Be aware of the trends, but always follow your instinct. Sometimes trends can get in the way of what is best for the project at hand.
• Don’t be afraid to fail
When we strive to find the fine line between inside and outside the box, we will fail at times. Failure can never be a deal breaker in the design world. Especially as a professional. We have to fail to truly succeed. Or we aren’t trying hard enough.
• Become a Chameleon
At first I chose to be a designer because I wanted make art for a living. I was so naive. I love it, but in a whole different way. Being a professional designer is all about being able to blend into our surroundings. We walk into a jungle and we become a vine. We walk into Mickey’s Clubhouse and we become Goofy. We are shape shifters shifting art to environments we have to accept for what it is and fall in love it to make it successful. I not only get to create my own art, I get to play with someone else’s.
• Don’t forget fine art
Every child grew up doodling and for some reason most adults just stopped doodling once they became a “mature” adult. Most people including myself will say we suck at drawing. Some people definitely have the gift of drawing from birth, but I look at doodling as a way to visually represent my thoughts. And we should never stop expressing ourselves with picture. I have learned to sketch my thoughts out more and so should you. It is good for you whether you are a graphic designer or a plumber. Don’t be ashamed to do the thing you did since childhood.
• Keep up with the times, but remember where it all began
There is more information out there than ever before! With the explosion of the internet we are so over saturated with information and so many amazing artists to follow and mimic. As designers we are a product of what we take in. Almost nothing is original. A good designer can process all of the amazing new trends out there while still remembering or educating themselves on where it all began. (How type started, How the internet is still very young, How much work went into print making before household printers were invented, etc.) We have some pretty big shoes to fill, or maybe we shouldn’t worry about shoes and buy a pair of Birkencrocks.
• Don’t stress about being stressed
Coming up with the right concept can be stressful. Designing something you’ve never designed before can also be very stressful. But we should take that stress as a sign that we are exploring new ground. It is exciting, but deadlines can kill the excitement pretty quickly. Never let yourself get too flustered with the stress. And embrace it with everything you have, because the outcome is almost always the most gratifying feeling ever. You almost always have to struggle to succeed.
• Focus is key
Artist can be known for daydreaming, which gives us our creativity. But it can also fault our productivity. I have learned to take one thing at a time and to focus my energy. It is easy to get too distracted in the profession. Find the best way for you to keep your mind focussed.