When it Comes to Design How do you Define SuccessBy
Success is such an intangible concept! How do you even define success? Is success based on how much money you make or is it defined by the satisfaction you get from your work? Lauren Marie and Tara were discussing the concept and decided to start a meme about it. Basically, they want to know “when do you consider yourself a successful designer?”
1. How did you get started in the business?
At a former employer, I was known for irritating the publications department to no end when I refused to follow their boring WordPerfect guidelines. I was a rebel and used Microsoft Word – I added white space, graphics, changed up fonts – real cutting edge stuff, you know.
Once my first child was born (almost 11 years ago) I couldn’t bear the thought of putting him in daycare so I decided to find a way to work from home. (read the entire saga here) I did a lot of MS Word document support, desktop publishing and a bit of logo design. Mind you I was completely self-taught (just like Lisa).
As my client list grew and the internet became more popular, I started to build web sites, too. When challenges arose, I did the research and found a way to do it myself. Like anything else, the more you do something the better you get at it.
2. What kept you going in those early years?
In the early years I kept going by taking a variety of projects – many that I didn’t really enjoy, but they were projects I could do from home at my own pace and they paid the bills.
The other thing that has always kept me going is just the desire to keep trying new things and the challenge of a new project.
3a. Did you ever feel like you werenâ€™t good enough or you would never make it in this industry?
3b. How did you work through that?
One of the things that has helped me get through times of self-doubt is my constant need for learning. I try to take client criticisms and tweak requests as opportunities to learn. For a time I kept a folder of designs and ideas that I liked. It really helped me get focused and develop my own style.
4. Do you look at others today and think â€œWow, I wish I were that goodâ€?
Everyday. But then I step back and remind myself that we each have our own style. I know my clients and what they need. If I don’t feel that I can give my clients the level of design that fits their specifications and budget, I have a list of other designers I can call on for assistance and/or collaboration.
5. How do you measure success?
Measuring the success of a designer is so tough. If the client or audience you are designing it for is happy, then you have been successful. If you continue to get requests for work, then you must be successful. Awards and accolades from your peers are nice, too. And of course, if you can make a living as a designer, then success is the right word.
6. By your standard, do you think you are successful?
I have been very fortunate to develop a steady flow of clients and work over the past 11 years. Due to my skills, I have been able to work from home and make more money than I could working for a local employer. Since I have reached the point where I could not afford to STOP designing and working from home, I must consider myself successful.
Everyone is welcome to join in this meme, but there are a few other designers I am going to personally invite: