Designer mindset part 2 : Values you should embody as a “professional designer”

Have you ever asked yourself “Is this journey as a designer worth it? If you read the introductory article on this subject matter tagged “Thriving in your career as a designer, by applying the designer mindset part 1” You will understand that I am here to hold your hands and guide your steps until you reach your full potential and become the world-class designer you have always dreamt of.

I am still writing on the “designer mindset” series and today I am tackling 4 values I believe every “professional” designer should embody.

Ready? 3, 2, 1………let’s go!!!

At the 2020 world design day with the theme “be professional”, a call to action was made for all designers to be aware of, and reflect on the impact of their actions and urged them to be professional in whatever field of design they find themselves in.

Recall that in the previous article, I stated that gone are the days when design or designers were seen as “lazy people who were wasting away in front of their computers”, these days, the ever-growing influential role played by designers in the 21st century cannot be overlooked and thus, designers have to redefine the meaning of being a professional designer.

Here are the values you should embody as a “professional designer”

  1. Be open to feedback and criticism- This is one part of being a designer that a lot of people tend to ignore or overlook, but it shouldn’t be that way. It is very normal to feel bad after getting negative feedback on your designs, considering the mental energy and long hours you put into it, however, you should always remember that “without constructive feedback and criticism” you might never grow. Imagine if everyone keeps nodding and saying yes to your designs without pointing out to you that, for example, your alignment is off, or that your use of colour is wrong or that your spacing is inconsistent, believe me, you will not grow as fast as you should and you will keep making mistakes because no one pointed them out to you. You must always have it at the back of your mind, that you are not just designing for yourself, but for others too, regardless of whether you are a brand designer, product designer, animator or motion designer, so you should learn to keep an open mind, accept criticism and listen to others especially experts and learn from them.
  2. Have the hunger and passion to keep learning- As a designer, it is quite unfortunate that we can never graduate from the “university of design” because you have to continuously learn and improve yourself and your skills. This is partly because the industry and technology are constantly evolving, hence if your dream is to become a world-class designer, you have to remain hungry for knowledge. You should invest time to read, watch tutorials, listen to podcasts, practice, collaborate and ask questions. You have to become a sponge and soak up as much information as you can. However, I advise you to take it one day at a time, this way, you avoid information overload and mental burnout.
  3. Build your listening skill — Yes, you read that right. To become a good designer you have to be a good listener, because it is by actually listening that you know what really matters to people rather than assuming what should matter to them (designers of all levels, from beginners to seniors, I’m watching you # I gat my eyes on you) Do not let your ego ruin you! You shouldn’t stop listening to your clients, users and other designers, all because you are an expert. Don’t be one of those people whom Stephen R. Covey referred to when he said “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” The best of designers listen! If you doubt me, you can ask your mentor.
  4. Be reliable- Trust me, you do not want to be that designer whom everyone says “he/she is super good, but is not reliable”. Your clients don’t just pay for your skills, they are paying you because they trust you to deliver and bring their ideas to life. Don’t just ghost your clients or teammates, and then suddenly reappear after some days. If you need to take a break, simply explain it to your clients and (or) teammates. It is very important that people can depend on you to deliver optimal results no matter the situation. It is surely one way to have a long and happy working relationship with your clients and teammates. Lastly, If you cannot handle a project, do not agree to work on it, no matter the pay!

Other values I believe a professional designer should embody include empathy, attention to detail and curiosity.

Remember you are not alone in this industry, if you have any questions feel free to reach out to @Johnogaga4 or @c_ifebunandu on Twitter. We will be willing to answer your questions.

P.s this article is a collaboration between Ifebunandu Angela .C. and Ogaga John.

See you next week.



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