Everyone has a story. Everyone has walked a different path that has led to his or her current situation. As a creative, it takes sticking it out on an often winding and sometimes tumultuous road to figure out how to convey your voice through your work. Learning to hone in on your talents and interests to create work that comes from a genuine place of authenticity and vulnerability is one of the greatest challenges a designer will face.
INSPIRATION IS JUST A CONFERENCE AWAY
In October, I was lucky enough to participate in Creative Works, a conference in Memphis, TN that unites creative folks with vastly different talents and passions. In a room brimming with creatives, each with a unique story to tell, I listened to success stories by designers who had overcome their fears and hardships. There was no air of competition; the energy and excitement were palpable. Each speaker described their journey through art and the thought behind the creation of their work. This led to a greater appreciation of different artistic styles and sparked the question of how to find your voice through your craft.
STAY MOTIVATED THROUGH PERSONAL WORK
In order to refine your craft, you have to be willing to put in hard work and dedication. A lot of the speakers talked about learning to accept your natural talents and use them to your advantage. The more you embrace your skills, the more you find your natural rhythm. It’s important to keep sketching, jotting down ideas as they arise and DON’T SET EXPECTATIONS OR TIMELINES FOR YOURSELF! Learn to let go of expectations, checklists, timelines, perfectionism and fear of failure. Keep your work natural and fluid.
LEVERAGE YOUR IDENTITY
Although client work helps leverage your presence, personal work helps leverage your identity as an individual designer. Whether personal work or client work, it’s important to delve deeper into the design and peel back the layers to get to the root of the project you’re pursuing. A lot of creatives start with the “what” of the project. As in, “MY DREAM IS TO BUILD A TINY HOME AND TRAVEL AROUND THE US, EXPLORING AND WORKING REMOTELY!” Ok, cool but “how” are you planning on doing this? “That’s what handy boyfriends are for, right?” Sort of. But the most important question is “why” are you doing this? This can also be the most confusing question of all. Do I want to travel around in a tiny home because I love exploring? Am I seeking more freedom? Or maybe I have a desire to be rid of material clutter and live a minimalist lifestyle. Figuring out the “why” of a project can often feel a little something like this…
Every designer can learn to utilize Adobe programs; every designer can emulate another creative’s work. What matters the most and makes YOU stand out is utilizing your personal strengths to build your identity. Learn to be vulnerable with your craft. Make something deeply personal, and then share it with the world (SCARY). Work produced from a place of authenticity is the most successful of all because of its genuine vulnerability, even if your style doesn’t appeal to the masses. So let go of expectations, find some motivation, get out there and find your voice!