Copy solutions, not ideas
When stepping into the world of graphic design you’ll undoubtedly come across others in the field, whose style you would like to explore, or maybe employ. It’s perfectly normal. It usually takes a long while before you find your own, unique style. Trying to recreate styles and effects you like is an excellent learning mechanism and you should not be afraid to do it. You’ll not only learn new techniques, but you will get a deeper insight into the works of your favorite artists and designers.
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That being said, it is important to remember that it’s imitation that is the highest form of flattery, not theft. It’s fine to be inspired and it’s fine to use other people’s techniques. It is not fine to take their ideas or their work and use it as your own.
Embrace your limitations
Some aspects of the design process will be problematic for you. The realization can sometimes be damaging to the confidence in what you’re trying to achieve, but it shouldn’t be. Nobody is “all powerful” and everyone has their limitations. Now, I know that some people say that you need to power through your own boundaries and that is the only way to progress but I don’t think that’s true.
Nobody is “all powerful” and everyone has their limitations.
I suffer from dyslexia – my brain doesn’t like to remember fine details so I started to operate more with light and less with texture to work around my limitations and still create compelling artwork. You need to embrace your limitations, not fight against them.
I know very good designers that are colourblind. I’ve recently read about a girl who used to periodically lose feeling in her hands and adapted to designing with her nose. We’re Daredevil, not Thor.
Set your goals realistically
Let me be realistic with you. This is a business where you’ll hear “No” more than you’ll hear “Yes”, especially if you want to become a freelancer . Just like Liam Neeson you’ll need a particular set of skills and a distinct style for big brands to notice you at all, and even then they might not want to work with you.
Therefore, if you don’t want your job to be collection of disappointments and unfulfilled wishes it’s best if you have your feet firmly on the ground. I’m not telling you to think small, but it’s important to be aware of what’s possible to achieve. And make those plans long-term.
Especially in the beginning you’ll get rejected a lot and your ideas will fall on deaf ears, but do not be discouraged. Just do your best work and build up your portfolio.
Respect yourself and be proud of your work
I believe that one of the most important things in any kind of work is the art of self-respect. However tough the going might get, remember to do your best work and not dwell on failures you might experience. Focus on the positive sides and learn from your own mistakes. There are no projects that are a waste of time and no experiences that are useless. I’m not saying you need to proudly display that horrible logo you designed for your cousin when you were 15, but don’t forget you did. This whole thing is a learning process and those projects you might consider embarrassing in 5 or 10 years will be what lead you to where you’ll eventually end up.
And that’s it. Nothing to it, huh?
My last piece of advice?
Enjoy what you do.
// Edited by Chris Spann and Adam Skowronek. Thank you gentlemen.