A letter to low-confidence designers

A letter to low-confidence designers

A letter to low-confidence designers

If things aren't going as expected, if you're feeling the pressure of the design industry, I have some words for you.

If things aren't going as expected, if you're feeling the pressure of the design industry, I have some words for you.

If things aren't going as expected, if you're feeling the pressure of the design industry, I have some words for you.

Riccardo Marconato

Dec 15, 2023

Riccardo Marconato

Dec 15, 2023

Riccardo Marconato

Dec 15, 2023

Hello, designer,

If things aren't going as expected, if you're feeling the pressure of the dynamic design industry, or if you've published something and received little to no attention, experiencing a sense of disappointment in your projects, if you feel hesitant to showcase your work and harbor a fear of imperfection, thinking there's always something missing, if you perceive other designers as superior, or if the prospect of industry judgment haunts you, and you find yourself wanting to conceal your projects after stumbling upon a seemingly superior portfolio, I have some words for you.

You are amazing

First and foremost, I want you to understand that you are amazing. Improvement is a continuous journey, but what you have accomplished so far is commendable, and no one can truly compare to your unique perspective. If someone is being rude or devaluing your worth as a designer with negative feedback, remember that the issue lies with them, not you.

I have received a plethora of constructive feedback from highly skilled designers. They appreciated my work far more than I appreciated it myself because seasoned designers understand the challenges inherent in the design process. They comprehend its difficulty and recognize the futility of passing judgment on someone else's creative endeavors.

Consider only constructive feedback. Steer clear of overly positive comments and toxic discussions about your designs. You are amazing, and what's even more remarkable is your continuous commitment to improvement.

Be Proud of Your Designs

I consistently emphasize the importance of "showcasing your work," and I firmly believe that you should do so more than you might currently think. If the fear of negative judgment is holding you back, I want to assure you that such concerns are unfounded.

Consider your initial judgment as the litmus test for whether to publish something or not. If you feel proud of your work, don't hesitate—publish it immediately. Your own satisfaction is paramount. If you genuinely like it, that's fantastic. On the other hand, if you're contemplating sharing something because you believe other designers might appreciate it, but you don't find it to be your best work, I encourage you to reconsider.

Follow an unwritten rule: never post anything you don't genuinely like first. Displaying what resonates with you is essential; it sets the tone for a more enjoyable experience. Focus on creating remarkable designs, and if you believe they are good, rest assured that you are on the right path.

There Is Space for Everyone

I understand that this statement may seem a bit unusual, but allow me to elaborate. The concept here is that even if there are other designers producing exceptional work, and you feel you lack the time or skills to achieve similar results, it's perfectly acceptable. This doesn't mean you shouldn't share your projects.

In the vast landscape of the design world, there is room for everyone, and presenting your designs is an integral part of the process—it's a way of sharing your unique vision of the industry. Suppressing your voice to make room for what you perceive as "better" designers is a misconception. While they may garner more attention and recognition, the act of posting your best work is entirely free, and it's a call for you to answer.

There is a place for everyone, including you. So, take it easy and share your creations!

Don't Give a Damn

Sharing and showcasing your projects are integral to building your identity, much like establishing a brand. By putting yourself out there, you increase brand awareness. However, the reality is that you might feel like you're constantly in the spotlight, with everyone paying close attention to your every post.

In truth, that's not the case. While people may check out your work for inspiration, the reality is that they won't be scrutinizing your every move 24/7. After you post something, you're often forgotten in about five minutes, regardless of how famous or recognized you are.

Assuming you're constantly under observation and that everyone is meticulously studying your every action, it's crucial not to give a damn about it. Keep it simple, enjoy the process, and experiment with your best talents.

If someone does spend an excessive amount of time observing you, the question to ask is, did anyone ask them to do so? Most likely not. If they don't appreciate what you do, move on to the next project. You are not meant to be liked by everyone, and that's perfectly okay.

So, don't place too much importance on what others might say because their attention spans last no more than 1-2 minutes each time you post something. As you grow as a designer, you'll find that you care less about external opinions. Feel free to be yourself and post whatever you damn well please.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

You are unique, and so is your journey toward becoming a better designer. The expectation is for you to continually improve, so don't halt your design process—keep creating and showcasing your work.

However, I urge you to refrain from comparing yourself to others. There's no valid reason for such comparisons, as you occupy a distinct category. Competitions are meant for individuals within the same category; otherwise, it becomes unfair.

Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on your personal growth. Strive to be a better version of yourself tomorrow than you were yesterday—this is your true path, and no one has the right to judge you for it.

If others mock what you do, consider it confirmation that they may lack the skills to appreciate your work. The most accomplished designers hold immense respect for everyone in the industry.

Continue doing what you do because you are truly amazing!

Nothing can hinder constancy

If you expect to build confidence in your skills by posting once a year and sharing a couple of updates without receiving any response, the issue is that you are essentially offline most of the time.

I mean, you're always watching what other designers are doing and publishing, but you remain silent for a long time, waiting for the right moment to post something and the ideal project to share.

But that's not how it works. The right moment is always, or better put, when you have something you love to share. If you're not showcasing any projects, it's because you need to start working on your projects, consistently.

If you create things every day, you can share what you do, and people will love to see it regardless of whether they interact or not. It's a daily growth challenge for you; the more you post, the more you will be noticed, and the more confidence you will gain.

Disappearing and staying silent without designing anything and waiting for "the right moment" will essentially push you out of the industry altogether.

Create and design a small part of your grand plan every day, and you will see how things unfold after a couple of months.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Riccardo Marconato

Product Designer specializing in seamless user experiences and Design Systems. Over 10 years of experience, multiple awards, and international project contributions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Riccardo Marconato

Product Designer specializing in seamless user experiences and Design Systems. Over 10 years of experience, multiple awards, and international project contributions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Riccardo Marconato

Product Designer specializing in seamless user experiences and Design Systems. Over 10 years of experience, multiple awards, and international project contributions.

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