10 things I’ve learned about professional life while working as a designer
I know, there are a lot of similar articles starting with the title 10 things to do this and 10 ways to become that. To tell you the truth, this one is not that different. However, I am writing this fairly from my personal experiences.
First things, first…
1. Stay away from people who demotivate you
Motivation is crucial when you are working in a field where you have to convert emotions into designs. Having people around who constantly demotivate you or always underestimate your potential, is a big NO !! NO !!.
I’m NOT telling you to ignore every criticism you get, but there is a big difference between constructive criticisms and just flat on negative comments.
2. It is ok to not know about everything
We learn by our mistakes. You don’t need to have knowledge about everything. Never be afraid to admit the truth, if you are clueless about a certain topic.
Lying just for the sake of your ego, makes it far worse. Don’t be embarrassed, cause its never too late to learn.
3. Learn to be organized
No one can deny the fact that, carefully labeled and grouped layers are far better than 100 untitled layers.
And, no I’m not asking you to become a control freak.
Not just layers in a photoshop or sketch file, but everything needs to be properly organised. From your workspace, your emails, to your daily workflow. Learn to be organised.
Trust me, this will be a big plus point in your career.
4. Always be confident and know your value
Except in big companies, people still have not realized the value designs serve in any business’ goals and their growth. A designer’s duty is not only to make things look pretty, but to solve complex design problems and help people understand.
Always be confident on what you bring to the table.
Learn to evaluate your worth in your current position and don’t be afraid to take decisions, if you feel like you haven’t been treated equally.
5. Learning to use a new tool does not make you a better designer
Tools are there only for your convenience. And just because you learned to use a new tool, doesn’t automatically make you a better designer. If you cannot justify the design decision you just made, it doesn’t matter which new tool you used to design it.
“Every decision in your design needs to have purpose. You should be able to go back and explain why every pixel is the way it is.” — Ryan Morrison
Learn the values that will improve your design decision making skills and that will help you become a better designer.
6. Music is your best friend
Music is your best friend. It has proven to be the best solution for boosting creativity. Don’t believe in me ? You may go through this article or this. Its even better if you learn to play an instrument.
You’ll be surprised by how refreshed you will feel afterwards and the difference it will bring in your professional life.
7. Don’t let bad design pass by
You my friend have a big responsibility that you may not have realized yet.
Like Mike Monteiro said, “You are the gatekeeper between the end user and the business decision that has been made.”
Always think from the perspective of the end user. If you ignore bad design and let them pass, you’ve failed as a designer.
At the end of it all, everyone will have to face the consequence of bad design. You, your users, the company, its stakeholders and the product you are working on.
8. Never work for free unless its for charity
It took all this time and effort for you to learn, what you do right now. You will have a lot of individuals coming to you for a quick logo design or some other design favours that will end up you wasting your valuable time.
Money is the unadmitted motivating factor for your work, unless its for charity, of course.
Remember, you are a creative professional and you earn your living by providing your design services. Like everyone else, you also have expenses to meet and bills to pay.
You should never be working for free. At least, charge a small amount of money for the time you spent, but NEVER ! I repeat, NEVER WORK FOR FREE !!
9. Never stop… Explore and keep learning
An article, a tutorial or may be an advice from a fellow developer. There is always something new to learn. Keep taking it all in and grow your knowledge base.
Nothing is worst than a person, who thinks he/she has learned them all and doesn’t even bother exploring anymore.
And lastly, the most important of them all..
10. Make sure you are happy at what you do
You may have settled down, working as a designer after so many career changes or this was what you’ve always wanted to do. Make sure that you are always happy and motivated. Take some time off every now and then.
Like they say…
“Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.”
Thank you for reading! Feel free to let me know what I’ve missed or if you have any suggestions.