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  • Did you ever doubt you abilities working in the design industry?

    Maybe not so much now, but getting your foot in the door?

    I had an interview yesterday, and another today.

    I've been doing free-lance work for a while, and I worked at a small place doing basic graphic design (mostly print-based - biz cards, brochures etc). Usually the work I do is nothing over-the-top, it's pretty mediocre actually. (Wow, never been that honest with myself).

    I feel like if someone needed me to brand their entire business for them, I couldn't do it. I just don't have the confidence, working the past two years doing such simple work for people. Even though I was interviewed for two junior positions, a big part of me feels like I can't handle it. Not to mention, I was let go after a month and a half at my last place of work because "I wasn't a good fit".

    Psychologically I think it's taking an effect on me. I feel like I really need to brush the hell up on software. For example, I want to learn how to make awesome logos in illustrator. I want to learn how to make wordpress sites. Those are huge. Right now I can't do both of them. Again, it goes back to a confidence thing. Maybe I'm just blowing it up in my mind larger than it actually is, but if my boss were to say, "I need you to code a website, make a logo, make a brochure and make it snappy", immediate negative emotions come to mind.

    "I don't think I can do this", is the most common.

    Right now I do websites for people, but they're just Wordpress premium templates, and customizing them. Anyone can do that. Guess what I'm trying to say is, it's been a really long time since I've done anything challenging, or any work I'm actually proud of.

    I'm wondering if anyone has experienced the same emotions - and if it's normal.

  • #2
    No one can replace the confidence that you lack in yourself, honestly. That's what it amounts too, unfortunately. Only you, truly, know what you are capable of.

    The only thing I can suggest...you are your worst critic. We all are. If you are too hard on yourself...it will hold you back.
    "Go ahead, make your logos in PS. We charge extra money to redraw your logo into vector art so it can be printed on promotional product. Cha CHING! " - CCericola

    Comment


    • #3
      Getting your foot in the door can be a taxing process, if you really love design, you'll keep torturing yourself until you get there.

      As for learning how "to make awesome logos in illustrator", it's a bit misdirected IMO. The theory and research behind a company and how you cleverly weave it into a logo is what makes a logo awesome, the tools aren't what make designer. Although knowing how to use them efficiently makes you money. Regardless, logos are far from being the meat and potatoes for most designers.

      Being junior/entry level, part of the job is learning, you will be expected to have a relatively solid understanding of the basics (theory and software). It sounds like you are psyching yourself out instead of pushing yourself forward. As rudimentary as it sounds, think of the little engine that could.
      Design is not decoration.

      Comment


      • #4
        The little designer that could?

        I think I scan.... I think I scan....




        Sorry. Carry on.
        http://brokenspokedesign.com

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        • #5
          You're letting the last job psych you out. 'Not a good fit' is (in my experience) a personality thing, or an easy way to say, 'I won't tell you why I'm really letting you go.' I don't think of it as a remark on your ability to do your work.
          Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

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          • #6
            I'd say most designers go through this at some level at different points in their careers. Something i've learned over the years, if i'm a little nervous or uncomfortable with a position i'm interviewing for - than it's likely something i'd be good at. If you're TOO confident - then it usually means you'll get bored relatively fast. (of course i'm generalizing here and it doesnt' mean EVERYONE). Sounds like you need to take a break, collect your thoughts and come back fresh. Not a good fit - means your personality didn't mesh with the rest of your teams. That or you were late often or something along that lines. Good fit doesn't usually equate to skills.
            - Jen

            "You cannot soar with eagles if you surround yourself with turkeys"

            My blog

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            • #7
              Originally posted by darkwolf29a View Post
              The only thing I can suggest...you are your worst critic. We all are. If you are too hard on yourself...it will hold you back.
              I've found that the worst episodes of confidence loss comes not from too much self-criticism, but from a lack of professional peer contact. It's quite common with in-house situations where you're the only team member with design training and are constantly asked and forced to compromise pro standards for 'productivity'.

              Keep in a situation like this long enough and some day (when, depends a lot on your character and work situation) you'll have one of those really scary 'epiphany' moments when you realize that compromising design tricks and shortcuts and a general 'cheap shallowness' has crept into all your work and you really wonder if the 'good stuff' is lost forever, or if you've just learned to hardwire your brain's top-end skills to satisfy time demands and team expectations.

              If you find that your inner "oh my god, I can't really be the only one who thinks that doing it that way is totally cheap and unprofessional" has by force of repetition become silenced... that's real cause for concern.

              The most effective remedy is to seek peer therapy.

              This place (the GDF) has helped many in this sorry state regain their marbles. (Including me)

              (Plus we have bacon. And occasionally, tacos and boobies)

              Comment


              • #8
                I must say i've been in the same boat, I'm just starting out. I wil be entering the field in about a year or two. I'll start interning within maybe six months, give or take. Ive always had confidence, I know I'm good at what I do. But the thought of working with others, most of which will have more experience than I in the field, kind of gets me a little uneasy. I'm often a shy one, and not really a big fan of working in groups, especially when designing. However i do like the whole being able to bounce ideas off each other, and mixing one idea with another ones.

                I can say I'll be excited and really happy to get in to the field, and be doing what I was training for and finally get out of my part time job now. but when that first day rolls around and im heading to walking in, my nerves will most likely be shot.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jfdesign View Post
                  Not to mention, I was let go after a month and a half at my last place of work because "I wasn't a good fit".
                  Not speaking from experience hear but i've heard and read a lot about the "not a fit" and KitchWitch touched on this. It's a creative thing. It applies to the atmosphere of the studio/workplace concerning, what i see as, personality clashes. You don't go and move into a house or take out a loan with someone that you cant get along with or don't know well. Its that gut feeling that there might be a problem and from a business point of view 'the risk factor'. From what i understand with junior positions they're in it for the long haul, and don't really want to hire someone every six months. Don't take it personally, from what i've read, and i hope someone here can back me up here, it happens often.

                  Originally posted by jfdesign View Post
                  Maybe I'm just blowing it up in my mind larger than it actually is, but if my boss were to say, "I need you to code a website, make a logo, make a brochure and make it snappy", immediate negative emotions come to mind.
                  This however i've experienced first hand. I work as an in-house designer and the work i do there is quite average. I came to that realisation that Bob talked about, that the work i'm doing is on the border of Graphic Design and i'm butchering everything i know and love. Though there are two things that i came to realise soon after, one; that i'm getting paid for this, always a plus, i'd rather being working with the programs i need to become accustomed to, to do things 'efficiently', two; that i'm still at the beginning of a long journey to become a good designer. I'm at the bottom of the ladder, and came to the ultimate decision, to climb? or not to climb?

                  Just to add also, having a job that demands barely any attention from your creativity, wears down your creativity quite rapidly. Creative minds need to release creativity, and live in it, it took me a while to find out but that was one of the things that happened to me.
                  So take drive somewhere, act out of routine for a while, start shopping somewhere else, start designing personal works, take up a new hobby, it seams like a small step but it helps quite a bit.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Fd.ini View Post
                    Creative minds need to release creativity, and live in it, it took me a while to find out but that was one of the things that happened to me.
                    So take drive somewhere, act out of routine for a while, start shopping somewhere else, start designing personal works, take up a new hobby, it seams like a small step but it helps quite a bit.
                    Absolutely concur. I have two more creative pursuits than my 'day job' which compensates a lot for its creative shortcomings.

                    (Singing in a chorus, and drawing, incidentally)

                    Surprisingly, the creative 'sidekick' activities often give me some of my best ideas for my main, paid, commercial work. More importantly though, they restore my confidence in my creative abilities.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cre8tivDirector View Post
                      Something i've learned over the years, if i'm a little nervous or uncomfortable with a position i'm interviewing for - than it's likely something i'd be good at. If you're TOO confident - then it usually means you'll get bored relatively fast.
                      I always thought it would be fun to design a magazine, so I got a job as the creative director for a publishing company that produced, among other things, a monthly, glossy, outdoor adventure magazine. The first few issues were lots of fun as I redesigned it, fine-tuned it each month and finally got it to the point where I was comfortable with it. I hired photographers, layout artists and freelance photographers to go out into the field. It was all kinds of fun... at first.

                      After that it slowly became a drudgery. Month after month, there was that damn cover and the same table of contents and the same stupid late Ford truck ad and the same typefaces used in the same sort of way. In other words, I kept solving variations of the same problem month after month.

                      I got very bored and left after two years.

                      For me, design only stays interesting when I'm actually designing. And designing means inventing something new, pushing boundaries, solving problems in new ways, learning new things and pushing into the unknown to see what's there. It doesn't mean arranging things into a nice layout for the umpteenth time. Other people who like that sort of thing are better suited at it than I am.

                      For many people, I think, a lack of self-confidence in design stems more from being afraid to fail or look stupid than it does about an actual lack of ability. At its best, however, design is very much about taking chances and risking the possibility of looking stupid. It's about pushing boundaries into uncomfortable territory where others haven't ventured. At its heart, that's exactly what design is pushing past what's already been done in an effort to find new or better solutions to problems.

                      Of course it's necessary to know one's current skill levels and limitations. It's necessary to learn how to walk before running becomes an option. Ideally though, each day should be one more calculated step further along the path to where you've never ventured before. Sometimes it's necessary to stop and catch a breath, secure the position and examine the options, but as soon as that's done, keep moving forward or turn around and leave.

                      There's absolutely nothing wrong with being at the beginning of a new endeavor and feeling a bit unprepared it can actually be exhilarating. No one is prepared at first. Being the one to not be too afraid to take that first step, then a second, third and forth step, is the very thing that will gives us an advantage over others who are too timid or insecure to do the same.

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                      • #12
                        Guess what I'm trying to say is, it's been a really long time since I've done anything challenging, or any work I'm actually proud of.

                        I'm wondering if anyone has experienced the same emotions - and if it's normal.
                        I have...

                        jld I was selling paintings in Tuscany to tourists for 14 years. I made tons of money (relatively) but was slowly losing all creativity. I knew what would sell, what wouldn't, what style the tourists liked, what motifs... and I had to produce, didn't have a lot of time or space to experiment. So I slowly turned into a production painter. And my paintings were really pretty, but dead.

                        And then I decided that I'd rather work in the local supermarket than prostitute my art and kill the thing that gives my life meaning - this big creativity that just flows through me, thrills me. So I quit and came back to the states, and am slowly getting on my feet again, designing, painting, teaching.
                        The money isn't so good, but I'm back in my creative flow. It took 3 years to get back in touch with it.

                        IMHO life is too short to waste - when you can touch that creative space, (and a whole lot of people can't) don't sacrifice it for a job.

                        Comment

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