When you get a job doing something you love, it can be easy to get worn down and burnt out, and lose that spark of joy. After a year working as a full time graphic designer, I’m here to share my 5 tips on keeping a positive mindset:
- Look for inspiration everywhere.
If I hit a mental block, the first thing I’ll do is open up Behance and check out some new projects. By pushing the task at hand to my subconscious for ten minutes and looking at some really cool designs, I usually come up with my best ideas. If I’m really feeling unimaginative, I’ll take a little bit longer and follow an interesting tutorial video on SkillShare. Learning new techniques always gets me excited and encourages me to experiment more.
- Don’t stop making cool shit.
If you’re working on something a little more tedious all week, try and stay motivated by running personal side projects. I make art zines and t-shirts in my spare time (go check out westartzine.co.uk), because I have complete creative freedom with it and it allows me to run wild with my designs outside of the office. Investing time into things for myself helps remind me why I love design.
- Don’t take feedback too personally.
It’s difficult sometimes to look at your designs subjectively. If you think your idea is awesome, and then someone shoots it down, it can be demoralising. Something I have learnt over the past year is that everyone has a different opinion based on their own preferences and experiences. Instead of being upset about the criticism, take a step back and assess the goals. Are you really meeting the brief? If you do still disagree with the feedback, try and reach a compromise by explaining your method of thinking. Being transparent and cooperative is always a positive step in the right direction.
- Build up your community.
If you have friends who are designers, talk to them about your problems. Work through things in a relaxed space outside of your office. If you want to hear from someone in a more professional environment, look out for talks, events and workshops. I’ll be attending the Birmingham Design Festival in a couple of weeks to invest time into learning from people who inspire me, and refreshing my perspective.
- Have fun!
This is a really simple one, but it can often get forgotten about when the stress of deadlines is looming. Don’t overwork yourself and get stuck in a rut. Step outside and clear your head, have a laugh with your coworkers, and make sure you’re still taking time to enjoy yourself.