AIGA Design Therapy
I recently sat on a panel discussion for AIGA MN called “So… You Need a Little [Design] Therapy.” The intent was to help emerging designers, and designers stuck in a rut, get re-inspired to think about their books and building their experience in a different way. We all know doing the same thing the same way gets you the same results. So, how do you break that cycle?
In order to say “yes,” you also need to know when to say “no.”
What gets us into those ruts? Is it routine? Is it not knowing how to state your strengths and ask for the projects you know you can add value to? Is it fear of saying no… or not being open to saying yes? It is okay to say no to a project that you know is not in line with your skills and goals. Having that power and confidence to say no also gives you the power and availability to say yes to other opportunities that may be more mutually beneficial.
Don’t get too comfortable.
When should you say no? When you are complacent or apathetic about your work, it shows. It is important to stay inspired and to keep pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. When you try something new, you may fail, but having those experiences also makes us grow – as designers, and as people. It is ok to give yourself permission to fail, as long as you learn from it. Don’t be afraid to try something new, but try not to stray so far from who you are as a designer that you start to lose the focus that builds a strong, cohesive portfolio which will move you further along your path.
Sure, we take gigs to pay the bills. Sometimes, those aren’t really the projects that feed our souls though. Commercial art is not fine art, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t contain good design. Look at the brands whose design work you admire and then look at your own work to see how it stacks up. Now, put down the chocolates and go say “yes” to doing some great design work!