There’s no secret formula to becoming a great designer; but there are a few things we all have in common. So here are my thoughts on some qualities we all share.
A great designer is…
There’s always room to grow in design, with so much to learn about the different platforms.
Stay humble and soak in all the tips and tricks you can. Who likes to be told how to do something different from the way we were taught? But you have to think: “what if they’re right?” Also, don’t be afraid to try new things. What if that new Photoshop trick saves you three hours of production time?
Able to Take Criticism
Criticism can be hard to swallow. As a designer, we must learn that when our work is being viewed critically there’s no need to take it personally. There’s no reason to get defensive and make excuses. Be receptive and open-minded.
Constantly Looking for Inspiration
How do you start your day? One of the things I do as soon as I get to work is visit my favorite websites full of design inspiration. Rarely have I met a talented designer that does not do the same. To be inspired, you must be exposed to what’s going on in the design world.
I look at what’s getting noticed and talked about in the design world so that I can apply the same professionalism to my work. I can also keep an eye on what the current design trends are and where they are going. Keeping track of design inspiration can be a helpful resource. When I start a project, I can go back to it and find inspiring design work that I’ve saved to help kick-start my creative process.
Out of the Comfort Zone
It’s hard to step out of your comfort zone. Ask any successful designer and they’ll tell you they are willing to learn and explore new design tricks. How can you grow or learn as a designer if you are never pushed beyond your limits?
Today, it’s so easy to learn new tips and tricks. Take advantage of the vast knowledge that is out there. Listen to your colleagues around you and don’t let fear stop you from creating amazing things.
Being a chameleon is one of the most important characteristics of a good designer. Of course, having your own personal style and flair is important, but as designers we have to think about what will be appropriate for the client we are designing for. We need to rein in our design habits and tendencies to be in the client’s best visual interest. What will visually carry their message the best? Are they sporty? Maybe they lean toward being very homegrown and historic. Maybe they’re sleek, high fashion and modern.
The point is to not get stuck in one overall style. Be flexible and expand your design aesthetics.