Destination: Inspiration

Get out of your comfort zone
No matter what type of the design industry you’re in, you have to admit that it takes a lot of courage to create something and put it out there for the world to see and judge. Is it good enough? Will my client like it? Is it something i’ll be proud of a year from now? These are the thoughts that go through my mind when one of my designs come into fruition. Like a typical Virgo, I’m hard as hell on myself and readily beat myself up for my mistakes, while letting my achievements go unrewarded.

Find Your Muse
So what’s stopping me from curling up into a ball on the floor, rocking back and forth and sputtering on about my failures? I think a lot of it has to do with the people I work with. Those of you who have rocking’ coworkers know what i’m talking about – being around people who constantly kick ass makes you want to kick ass too. It’s important to be cautious with what thoughts you let into your head, because the truth is that there is a fine line between inspiration and intimidation. If you let others successes intimidate you into inaction, you’ll never get anywhere. The key is to absorb the world around you; pay attention to the designs that move you. Figure out why you like it, and how you can create something like that of your own.

Forgive Yourself
Something I’m trying to learn myself is that I am not perfect (big surprise). I dwell on my own mistakes and mentally kick my own ass for every little thing I don’t think I’m doing “right”. A certain amount of this attitude is necessary for good design; you’ll never grow as a designer (or a PERSON for that matter) if you become complacent. The fact is that while you’re sitting there dwelling on how bad of a designer you are, others are out there creating and getting better. Forgive yourself, learn how you can be better next time, and move on.

No, really. I once told someone that good artists copy, and great artists steal (Actually, Picasso said that. You see what I did there?). My point is that designers everywhere have at one time or another created something that was based on or inspired by someone else’s piece of work. No one designs in a vacuum. Keep an archive of ideas you love that you can refer back to when you’re looking for inspiration. I have recently discovered Pinterest, a great tool for “pinning” images and designs that inspire me. Our very own creative director also introduced me to Dribbble, a place to check out what everyone else is doing and to show off your own work.

Bottom line: that inner critic can either be your enemy, or your best friend. If you’re smart, you’ll learn to use it as your fuel to get to that next level.


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