Hindsight will always be 20-20 and especially so with design. When looking back at previous work you will notice aspects of your work that you could have improved on. Many designers tend to be perfectionists so it’s important to keep in mind that you may not be able to meet the lofty expectations you place on yourself.
It’s often difficult to be entirely pleased with your work because design is usually not self-expression. Granted, there are a few designers who are known for designs which express themselves, but they are not the norm and operate in niche industries. Most designers operate in a market of providing a service to others by helping clients express themselves. Therefore it’s important to match your expectations with the client’s so that when you meet or exceed their expectations, you will surpass your own as well. While you may still look back and see changes you could have made, knowing that the client was pleased with your work should remove any stress of personal dissatisfaction.
Designers can be their own biggest critic, but they owe it to themselves to ease up on the reigns. If standards are set too high to the point that they are unattainable, discouragement sets in and lifelong dreams can melt away into impossibility. The lesson here is that when shooting for the moon, realize that the journey there is a cultivating one. Each project you complete grows your talent, allowing you to move closer and closer to your goals. Understand the value in the mistakes of your formative years and cut yourself some slack as you learn.
Now for a twist: To a degree, you shouldn’t ever be satisfied with your work. This may seem contradictory to the rest of the writing, but understand that the day you are entirely content with your work is the day you stop growing as a designer. To be the best, you should always strive to become more proficient at your craft, sharpening your strengths and strengthening your weaknesses.
Poor communication, differing visions, and crystal clear hindsight all contribute to a designer’s dissatisfaction. The hope here is that you are learning through each project, and allowing that dissatisfaction to fuel your fire for improving. As time passes you will find yourself becoming better equipped to provide increasingly impressive work.
Have questions, comments, or ideas? Let us know in the comment section below or contact us. We’d love to hear from you!
Apprentice Studios is a graphic design studio focused on the training and education of the next generation of creatives.
Content By: Torrey Lubiens
Written By: Alex Reich
Photo Credit: Jonathan Simcoe