We’ve all been there, constantly scrolling through countless designs on either Dribbble, Deviantart or Facebook. We see this awesome, beautifully crafted design and BAM! inside there is a little bit twang of jealousy that we wish that our skill set was on par with this amazing artist. We admire, look up to, even placing many artists with skill sets out of our reach on a pedestal, then when we realize that we’re not at that level we beat up ourselves over it. No matter what stage you are currently at, stop comparing your design skills to another persons design skill, you’ll only start hating your craft and lose interest in this field.
So, when did this realization of being my own worse critic happen? It took a few years to be honest, I constantly want to be great at what I do. I was always searching, scanning, comparing art that I saw as amazing and then pinning it against designs that I have done. After, I would need to take a mental step back and leave designing for a few days in order to psych myself up again. As the saying goes, “There’s no worse critic than being your own.”
So, one night I thought it would be worth it to view websites of local ‘powerhouse’ designers to see how far they’ve come. The Way-Back Machine is a handy tool to view website archives. In the end, I was really humbled by what I saw; They too started out as a beginner, they struggled, they learned as they went and persevered over 5+ years through what I imagine had many highs and deep lows. But, they kept at it.
We often come across designers that are at their pivotal moment when a design is made and released to view. Many of us don’t see how many times a designer approached a design, scrapped it and started again. We don’t see the inner turmoil that other designers have gone through. All we see is this f’ing fantastic design that we wished had come up with.
What do we need to do?
First step: To stop comparing to that fantastic designer. They have been in your shoes, thought the same thing and made it their goal to be great. Along the way they found a method or process to grow artistically. You could say they found that hidden level-up.
Second step; Before you devalue your level of craftsmanship, Google your favourite designer and see all their past work. Guaranteed you’ll see the progression. You’ll see that if you progress soon you’ll be a ‘top-dog’ with a new underdog right behind you.
Third step: Don’t overly compare with everything you’re doing against another person. You’ll drive yourself mad, take what they do at face value and only concern yourself with you. No one else.
As designers our passion is in strategizing, creation and bringing to life an idea. As well taking a verbal explanation then converting it into a visual exposition. So, don’t ever compare yourself to others, rather look at the level another designer is at and achieve for that. Determination, perseverance and a ‘I can do anything, this is for me.’ mentally will give you confidence.