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For budding designers or newbies, one advice from a pro can change the course of their careers. Producing ideas isn’t normally the problem – designers, newbie or seasoned, have plenty of that. Usually, it’s the self-doubt that creeps in, second-guessing if what you have in mind is the best thing that you can come up with. Below is a compilation of the best tips and pieces of advice to help designers deal with the joy of the art and the demands of the job.

Work Ethic

Designer Advice

  • Don’t beat yourself up if your first attempt of a design is a failure. No one gets it right the first time. Perfection requires practice and patience.
  • Don’t berate yourself for having too many ideas. Countless is better than nothing. What you need to do is master organization and compartmentalization.
  • Hard work is the key. You can’t rush things or be idle and expect something magnificent will come out of it.
  • Don’t be afraid of “organized chaos.” If the system works for you, then by all means follow it.
  • Don’t design something because it’s the trend. Joining the bandwagon won’t do you any good if you’re doing the work just to be part of the “in” crowd.
  • Every now and then, think outside the box. Push the envelope. Work outside your habits. You’ll discover surprising things – good or bad – about yourself once you step out of your comfort zone.
  • Be critical of your own work, even if it’s your own “baby.” If you can’t criticize it, then you lose the opportunity to make it better or be a better designer.
  • When fine-tuning the design, remember that less is more. Often, it’s harder to edit or lessen the design than add embellishment.
  • Even if you already made a name for yourself, learn a thing or two from the newbies. They most likely know something that you don’t, even with your vast design experience.

Business Strategy

don't just stand there

  • Collaborate with your clients as much as you can. More often than not, clients don’t have a precise end product in mind. What they have are ideas and concepts. Team up with them to explore the ideas until both parties agreed to one.
  • If you don’t like the end product, then it’s highly possible, the client wouldn’t too. Trust your gut.
  • It’s okay to work on being famous or rich through your designs. But don’t let fame or fortune be the driving force of your work, else you’ll feel constant disappointment.
  • Efficiency and reliability – two characteristics that every designer must possess. If clients can’t rely on you to deliver what’s being asked for or finish the project on time, then you’ll have a hard time marketing your designs.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions especially when dealing with clients. It’s better to be accused of being solicitous than a know-it-all.
  • Have a good reason for choosing the intricacies of the design. This is particularly true if you’re working with a client. If you pick a primary color for the design, it shouldn’t be because it’s your favorite color, but because it represents something more.
  • Learn how to articulate your design. Don’t assume that everyone knows about the process. If that’s the case, then you’ll probably be out of work. When presenting the finished product to the clients, use words that they can understand. Plain English with zero to minimal jargon.
  • Talent can only do so much. To be prolific in this career, you need to adapt new technology, learn how to be business-savvy, and understand the ins and outs of the market. Even if you already have an agent or a manager that handles the business side of your work.

Life’s Involvement

  • Find inspiration. It doesn’t always have to be a muse. You can get encouraged by simple, everyday things or by traveling.
  • There’s beauty in simplicity. Design doesn’t always have to be loud and vibrant to be considered beautiful.
  • Surround yourself with people that are passionate. They don’t have to be part of the creative world you live in. They can be an accountant or a gardener – but they love what they do and they get excited about it. And that’s contagious.
  • Showcase your talent, even if you think it’s quirky or weird. Design is a competitive world. If you have something that will give you an edge, then emphasize on it.
  • Don’t make your design your whole life. It’s only a part of you, not the whole you. Get involved in other projects. Find a new hobby. Never let the job (or the art itself) consume you.
  • Remember that every design you make – however miniscule or ginormous – creates an impact to the world.
  • You design things to solve problems. Not just to prettify a face or a place.
  • Every day is a learning process. Don’t let a day go by without learning something new.

Posted by Igor Ovsyannykov

I'm a digital nomad and entrepreneur bouncing around South East Asia. When I'm not working here, I'm out taking photos for Follow me on Instagram: @igorovsyannykov

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