There are a few things that separate average designers from top designers. But what are their secrets? How do they manage to come out on top nearly every time? It’s not pure luck - There is a formula that consists of a willingness to learn, hard work, flexibility, and determination.
Being able to take criticism is one of the most important skills any person can benefit from. It's one of the first steps to improving the quality of your work. An expert designer knows that accepting constructive criticism will sharpen their skills But accepting criticism is a process. As any artist knows, not all criticism is helpful.
Some clients don’t know how to give helpful pointers because they are unfamiliar with your field of expertise. A top designer knows how to get to the root of what their client is trying to convey in their criticism and from there, effectively incorporate it into their work.
Books, online courses, movies, podcasts, lectures - a top designer never turns up their nose at an opportunity to learn. Everything is constantly changing and shifting and with technology only getting more advanced, it continues to move even faster. online courses are a great way to learn your way around new tools and software you may otherwise be unfamiliar with. These are also helpful in finding the right tools for the job.
Different softwares have different strengths and purposes. Learning how to use the tools at your disposal is going to bring you the most value for the cost and allows you to bring your best to the table. LinkedIn wrote an article all about its benefits on your career and there’s tons of research supporting the positive impact it has on your mind and body. Finding ways to keep your brain working and absorbing new information will do nothing but good for you and your career.
Finding programs, courses and other helpful resources can be a daunting task when done alone. In order to become an expert in design, it’s essential to know how to make connections with other designers. No one gets to the top without help. surrounding yourself with people whose opinion you value can be an indispensable resource.
Shawn Achor, author of Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being wrote, “When people work together better, every metric of potential rises for everyone involved.” Finding people both in your field and out can be incredibly insightful and creatively inspiring. Helping others with projects and advice can be enriching to your work. seeing how others in the field tackle problems thrown at them, as well as creating working relationships with other designers, editors, writers, etc.
When looking at an advertisement, flipping through a magazine, or going to an art museum, a top designer is always viewing with a critical eye. They try to see the moving parts and what needs to be improved. Being aware of what’s going on in the design world at large can aid in keeping you ahead of the curve.
Your strength is going to be in what you know.
Think about it; you wouldn’t get in the ring without knowing different fighting techniques. You want to know if the person you're going up against is going to use more gut punches or jabs or if they’re left or right handed. The expert designer makes sure they know about brands and trends. If you see a brand that has been falling to the wayside that might be an opportunity to implement new trends into an existing brand or rebrand altogether.
Armed with a solid network, knowledge, and awareness of the rest of the design world, a top designer can then start to think outside of the box. In order to truly be considered for advancement you have to know how to break the mold. Making beautiful designs that effectively reach their target audience is the goal of good design, but finding unique ways to get there is often what keeps a top designer ahead of the game. Having strong foundations and being aware of your field aids in being set apart
Staying on the cutting edge often really does mean keeping your eyes on the prize and executing all the knowledge and expertise you’ve gained daily. Remind yourself that being teachable, approachable, and inventive is key to standing out as a designer. Creative graphics don’t create themselves and they shouldn’t have to. If you truly love your work as a designer and the art you are creating then your eagerness to dive deeper will follow.
Where do you find inspiration for your work? Is it the people around you? Does art speak to you in your time away from your computer? How can your art be seen as serving your company?
Make sure to check out our uppercuts if you’re looking for more tips and tricks to make your designs pack a punch. Stay PUNCHY!