Thursday, January 19, 2012 9:29 AM
Confidence is a useful, valuable asset to have when doing anything. Believing in yourself and knowing that you have the skills necessary to complete a task, project or challenge is a great jumping off point. For a designer, looking at a blank Photoshop canvas fills one with both a sense of unrestrained creative potential and absolute terror. But having confidence can make placing the first pixel and the last pixel a little easier, hopefully leading to a successful piece.
There is nothing wrong with finding satisfaction in a completed design. Especially if a client is happy and rewards you with monetary compensation. That’s always a good thing. And the success of a completed project, met with positive feedback adds another brick to your house of confidence. This boost in one’s own awareness of ability will be put into use on the next project. However, you cannot allow this new found confidence to manifest into overconfidence.
Overconfidence can lead to mistakes and cause you to overlook details. If you approach each project with an open mind and strive for originality, your end product will be fresher. Being overconfident in your ability to repeatedly create the same kind and quality of work will lead you to designs that quickly become stale. Here’s a good rule to live by as a designer: you’re only as good as your last project. Being humble about your past work will allow you the freedom to constantly challenge yourself for future work.
Many designers don’t have that much difficulty with this approach. For example, I’m a hard critic on my own work and often times end a project less than satisfied. So the next project becomes an exercise in achieving satisfaction by working harder, thinking more creatively or trying new methods. Even though a client may be overly pleased with the last project, I may see the shortcomings. My unhappiness about reaching the full potential of a project automatically equates to me being humble about my work. I can always do better. There is always room for improvement.
Working on design projects means that there is usually a deadline. And that deadline means that at some point, you just have to say something is done and then move on. And in reality, that’s a good thing. Many designers and artists would always tweak and twist and change, trying to reach perfection for an eternity unless someone told them to stop. The great Leonardo da Vinci put it best, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” So abandon the past, take what you learn and apply it to the new. Be confident in your ability to be original and challenging. That’s the best way to stay fresh and relevant. And it’s not a bad way to also stay employed.
Interactive Media Lab is a Louisville based multimedia resource working with corporations, government agencies, education resources and nonprofit organizations. The company focuses on web development, design and hosting; audio and video production and streaming; live event planning and production; and mobile application development for iPhone, Android and Blackberry platforms. IML takes great pride in its reputation as one source for all things multimedia providing a single resource for the best in creative minds, technology and results-orientated solutions.