The hard truths every designer needs to know
Personal lessons learned from years in the industry
Welcome to Learn Primitives!
Here's what you'll learn:
Take risks and push boundaries
Keep learning… or, never stop learning
Your portfolio is not enough
and much more…
Let’s dive in…
As a designer, you have likely faced numerous challenges and obstacles throughout your career. While it can be easy to focus on the positive aspects of design, it is also important to acknowledge the hard truths that come with this profession.
In our last podcast, Mitchell broke down 5 realizations of design he had during a hard day of working in the yard. I think that like Mitchell, we all have realizations and they are important to help us better prepare for our future selves.
As someone who's been in the design industry for a while now, I've had the opportunity to learn a lot of valuable lessons along the way. But there are a few things that I wish I had known sooner - things that would have saved me a lot of time, frustration, and mistakes.
Top things to keep in mind:
Take risks or die trying. Playing it safe might feel comfortable, but it won't get you anywhere in the design world. If you want to stand out and make an impact, you need to take risks and push boundaries. Don't be afraid to fail - failure is just a stepping stone to success.
Your portfolio is not enough. When I first started out as a designer, I thought that if I just created a killer portfolio, the work would come pouring in. But the truth is, a great portfolio is just the starting point. To truly succeed, you need to be able to sell yourself and your work, and that requires marketing, networking, and communication skills that are just as important as your design skills.
Never stop learning, or you'll become obsolete. The design world is constantly changing, and if you're not constantly learning and growing, you'll become irrelevant faster than you can say "Helvetica". Read, attend workshops and conferences, and find mentors who can help you stay on top of your game.
Collaboration is key, and being a lone wolf sucks. You might think you're the next coming of Dieter Rams, but the truth is, collaboration is what makes great design happen. Work with other creatives, learn from their perspectives and experiences and always be open to feedback.
Your passion won't always pay the bills. As creatives, we often start out pursuing our passions, but we quickly realize that we also need to make a living. Learning to balance your artistic vision with practical business considerations can be a difficult but essential skill.
Stay true to your values. As a designer, you have the power to create work that has a positive impact on the world. Use that power wisely and stay true to your values and beliefs. Your work can make a difference, so make sure you're using it for good.
Don't be too hard on yourself. Design can be a challenging and sometimes frustrating field, but it's important to remember that mistakes and setbacks are part of the learning process. Don't be too hard on yourself when things don't go as planned, and use those experiences as opportunities to grow and improve.
The power of saying "no." As a young designer, I felt like I had to say "yes" to every opportunity that came my way. But I soon realized that taking on too much work, or work that wasn't aligned with my goals, was not only stressful but also prevented me from doing my best work. Learning to say "no" to the wrong opportunities has allowed me to say "yes" to the right ones.
Be your unique self. Don’t be another run-of-the-mill designer. It's time to wake up to the harsh reality that being unique is essential in today's design world. But being unique isn't just about impressing clients - it's about creating work that truly reflects who you are as a designer. If you're not willing to take risks and put your own personal stamp on your work, what's the point? You'll be churning out uninspired designs that leave you feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied.
These are just a few of the things that I wish someone would have told me. Of course, there are many more lessons to be learned along the way, but I hope that these insights can be helpful to those of you who are just starting out in your design careers.
Now get out there and show the world what you're made of.
Pascal & Mitchell
PS: We’ve received such great feedback on our Winning the Interview Game ebook. We feel tremendously blessed to participate and be part of the greater designer community.
PPS: As you all know, we are huge fans of Framer and the community surrounding this product. As you may have seen, we have purchased everythingframer.com as a recognition of our going all in. We have huge plans for you all so please keep your eyes open.
Hey, Mitchell & Pascal here! Thanks for checking out this week’s free edition of the Shaping Design newsletter. We strive to send you the best tips and our very own unique perspective each week. Subscribe to get each article!
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