A very important way to improve your career and learn more is to practice, and keep doing same. You have to just keep working on projects that would take you to the next level in your career. I encourage the going ‘out of the box’ style of approach in getting jobs done in my field. One of my key policy is creativity is not subjectivity. I find out that most times the rules don’t play cool when I want to express myself on a design project. Another point I don’t feel comfortable about is the external influences bosses and clients have on design projects. In other scenarios, I seem to just do my designs with the client’s or boss’ mind. In such cases, I don’t really have a mind of my own to express myself to the very fullest. So I slyly change the rules to accommodate my creativity. One of my rules is creativity within the confines of simplicity. Quite a lot of times, I’ve been engaged in quite some subtle disagreements with my colleagues, superiors and clients. You hear them say things like: “this design is ‘crazy’”, “this is not good now haba!” “this design doesn’t make sense”. These utterances could be so demoralizing that it can put one’s creativity on detention for a long period of time. In order not to appear rude, overbearing, argumentative and to also strike a win-win position, I take time to explain the idea behind the design and if my drift does not go down well with them, I keep my design and do other options that best suit their preferences. That’s the best way I think such issues can be resolved. There is no design that is not good. When people say a design is not good, I feel ‘bitter’flies rumbling in my stomach. Bearing in mind the amount of time invested in research, mental and physical, before coming up with a design, it would be total ignorance for anybody to tag such as being ‘not good; or crazy or using any such words’. I term this as destructive criticism. A critic that cannot inspire me to come up with a better design is not worth being around because he or she would cause more harm than good at the end of the day. A better approach to constructive criticism is to evaluate the job and suggest some improvements. For instance, you could look at a design and suggest to the designer to include one or two elements. This could just make the whole difference and turn the design from the seemingly ‘not good’ to an award-winning piece. It’s all in our choice of words and this we should be weary of. I’ve had quite a couple of my friends confide in me that they have really been ensnarled by such unacceptable and unpleasant statements, that they turned zombie designers –just do as they say, JDATS designers. This could mark the death of creativity, if not the beginning of the end of one’s design career. I strongly believe that leaders who hire talented people should give them space to shine and express themselves. This would further establish a conducive environment of trust on one’s proficiency and, naturally, creative ideas will keep springing up.
Mike Locke, a US based Senior UI/UX designer with Yahoo! voiced that his blog is an avenue for him to express himself. With his blog he can work on any personal project of his choice and express himself beyond his wildest imaginations with no restraint. He posits that designers should not relent to indulge in private practice. This is one of the very great ways you can learn and grow in your career, he said. He further suggests that designers should continue to work on design, redesign, recreation and reconceptualization of their favorite stars, products, mentors, websites etc. With this, you have a great profile to exhibit when the opportunity comes. He gave an example of a complete redesign of Facebook created by some group of designers that felt the social website can have a better feel. Here he commends the initiative and proactive ability of the designers who, on their own, did the job. He strongly encourages designers to go out of their way to create designs that they best feel applies in whatever area they have passion for.
I learnt quite a lot from this (it was actually a YouTube video post). Now I don’t have to wait for clients to give me jobs. I just go ahead and design some very cool stuff and package it as a proposal for them to see. Most times, they are ‘wowed’ by it sometimes they just throw it away. Either way I remain unpertubed and resolved to continue to improve myself and have chosen to take the initiative to design and redesign where necessary. I know it’s all about building a great profile that would work for me in the future. All these I hope to share in my blog in the nearest future. So I charge you if you’re very passionate about design to go a step further in your career by taking the lead.
Have a creative and fulfilling career, you will succeed!