If you’re planning on breaking into the Design Industry there’s probably a few things you need to know first. I’m sure there are a ton of lists out there that will go into detail about things you’ll need to make it as a designer, but this isn’t one of them. Well, not in the sense you’re thinking. Sure, a computer, internet service, and Adobe Creative Cloud are things that you need to be a Designer, but those aren’t what MAKE a Designer, they’re just simply tools we use. So, what are the 4 things that are absolutely essential for a Designer?
I’m just going to go ahead and put the most important thing a Designer needs first, and that’s CONFIDENCE. I’ll also go ahead and get this out of the way, if you’re not confident about yourself as a designer then you need to fix it IMMEDIATELY or get out of the game. I know that’s probably pretty harsh, but here’s why I say that. Put yourself in the mindset of a potential client. If they’re looking for a Designer and they come across someone who presents themselves as meek or bashful and seems very unsure of their skills, do you think they would want to work with someone like that? I know I wouldn’t. Business owners want to put their marketing and Design needs in the hands of a competent, CONFIDENT Designer. So, if you don’t have confidence in yourself and your skills then how can you expect anyone else to? This is your profession, your passion, your life, be confident! It’s all about believing in yourself, even if no one else does. No one ever became successful by acting like a failure.
I’m sure this one comes at very little shock to you. Who would have thought you’d need creativity to be a Designer? Ok, enough sarcasm. Creativity is at the pinnacle of what we do, and without it you’re simply going to blend in with everyone else. Think of any logo, advertisement, or packaging that sticks out in your mind. Got it? Great. Now why does it stick out in your mind? Because it’s CREATIVE. Someone did something that has never been done before, or reinvented something that has been done to death, and that all stems from creative thinking. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with utilizing something that’s tried and true, but the best form of design comes from a Designer who uses creativity to stand out from the crowd. Plain and simple. It’s like they say, we spend our entire lives learning the rules, just so we can know how to break them, and that’s what creative thinking does. Which leads me into the next point.
This goes hand in hand with creativity, and this should be at the heart of everything a Designer does. I’ve quoted this before and I’ll quote it again, Design without a concept is simply just decoration. I keep preaching this because it’s true. The purpose of Design is communication, and as a Designer if you’re not using a concept to communicate with your Designs then you’re failing. I think a lot of us, especially the Designer in us, try to focus on just making things look pretty, and that’s great, your Design should look pretty. But with the absence of a concept your Design has no meaning, and so it provides absolutely no value. That’s what we’re meant to do as a Designer though right? Provide value! So, if you’re not using conceptual thinking as the base in which you’re building your Designs then I strongly urge you to change your methods, because you’re doing yourself, and your clients, a huge disservice by providing 0 value.
This might be one of those points where you’re not really sure what I’m talking about, and you’re wondering why you need to be stern. Well, let me just fill you in. If you haven’t yet plunged into the Design Industry, or if you’ve just started out, then I’ll just tell you that it can be VERY hard. I say this because, as a Designer, you’re going to have a lot of people who want to take advantage of you and try to get you to work for very little or even for nothing. This is why you have to be stern because you have to take a stand for yourself and your business model. You can’t be successful and make a living by working for free can you? The cable company isn’t going to let you use their service for free are they? You couldn’t go to grocery store and leave without paying could you? No, of course not. You have to be able to stand up to those who are simply trying to take advantage of you and the value you provide. Just remember, this is your livelihood, and if you don’t respect yourself enough to charge what you’re worth, then no one else will either. Take a stand and get paid for the value you provide, after all, they wouldn’t have come to you if they didn’t need a professional right?
There are a lot of things that go into being a successful Designer, more than what’s on this list, but if you start off your career with these 4 things you’ll be providing yourself a strong base to build upon.
What are some things you think are required to be a successful Designer? Let me know in the comments below!