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Confidence in designing

Discussion in 'Logo Design & Brand Identity Forum:' started by Greg, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    Does anyone else go through periods of having a real sense of confidence in the work that you're turning out, and then in the same respect have the opposite periods.

    I seem to go from one extreme to the other, one week I'll be really pleased with what I've been working on, be getting some good feedback and thinking that I can tackle any design challenge that's presented, the next I'll be struggling to get new ideas, and be doubting my own work... is it just me?! :confused:

    I guess you need the weeks where things aren't going as hoped to make the weeks when confidence is high and things are going well feel that way, otherwise it would all just be 'OK'.

  2. Yes - this is very common. Can't expect to work to high standards all the time due to human nature.

    Having a broad design team really helps to bounce ideas around and drive that morale up a notch whenever it is slipping.
  3. chrisworks

    chrisworks Junior Member

    I go through the same thing. I describe it as a love/hate relationship because one week I feel like I'm on the top of my game and the next I just can't seem to keep my focus.

    I've had the same relationships with anything I've been passionate about... sometimes I just get overloaded on one thing and have to back off for a while.

    Of course, like most of us, design isn't just a hobby, it's a way of life... so sometimes it can be a bit of a struggle keeping myself engaged.

    But I think it also has a lot to do with your expectations for yourself...
  4. Communities like this would really help so I'm really glad that you started this Greg!
  5. mrleesimpson

    mrleesimpson Guest

    Some times I think your confidence can get knocked more when you see the work from other awesome designers....
  6. red tiger

    red tiger Member

    Definately agree, I get this - but I think it's more of a gut-feeling with me. When I feel like my projects aren't very good, I'll try to walk away from it for a bit and revisit it afresh. There's always a danger of become too standard which fuels the 'non-confident' feeling!
  7. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    I personally find the opposite of that, when I see other work and think 'I wish I'd designed that' it helps me to focus on what I'm working on, when I go through periods of being so busy I don't get chance to see other people's work I think it's easy to fall into repetitive work styles, so I'm always trying to spend time keeping up-to-date with what everyone else is upto.
  8. red tiger

    red tiger Member

    I agree too - I become inspired rather than knocked-back, I remember feeling a little knocked-back a few years ago when competitors were chucking out incredible stuff.
  9. chrisworks

    chrisworks Junior Member

    Sometimes I feel like this too. I also agree with what Red tiger is saying about a gut-feeling... and backing away from a project or working on another project for a bit can help you gain a clear view.

    Sometimes my mind gets clouded by too many ideas.... It's good to take a break from thinking and let the better ideas surface themselves over time.
  10. dot design

    dot design Member

    I agree with the 'backing away from a project' theory when its not working how you really want it too.

    A fresh perspective and a breather, taking alook around and trying a different approach helps alot. I wasn't happy with how a project was going on friday so I left it and worked on something else, now its back on track! :)
  11. lacedrabbit

    lacedrabbit Junior Member

    I love that theory, and it really works well for me... but what happens with me, is I have a really tight time schedule at my school, and it feels like I don't have the opputunity to leave and come back to a design like that..

    Which then spiral's me into a frenzy of all problems known to the designer.. which spiral depends on my confidence level as you guys were mentioning before..
  12. pcbranding

    pcbranding Member

    I'm glad this has come up.
    Keeping one's 'sponge soaked' as I like to call it is difficult when every job seems to wring it dry and keeping up to date and inspired takes time and effort. It can be disheartening seeing the 'prize winning' work out there, particularly when you compare the strength of your initial concepts to the diluted, finished article. But there is much work that is created and works for it's client and that doesn't necessarily ever make it to the features page of a design magazine, but is equally worthy and fit for purpose.
    Days of self-doubt, concern over what's good and what's not and levels of judgement are quite natural in our passionate and competitive world. (I find it's generally best to to take a break and re-visit the work after a day. Often printing out one's work and just living with it for a day or so really helps highlight the strongest concept.)
    Worry and panic may push you to do try a different direction, but creating something just because it's different isn't necessarily good design either.
    Just remember, who else can say they 'colour in' for a living! and going over the edges occasionally may be all that is required.
  13. LankyDan

    LankyDan Junior Member

    Yes I totally agree. I have ups and downs as well. One day I wonder why I am doing this at all and another I think it is the best thing in the world and wouldn't do anything else.

    The hardest thing is if I don't have anyone to discuss design with. My better half is wonderful, but she does not have a clue if I start talking design to her.

    So I have to agree with what Kay (Calibre Designs) said in one of his earlier posts here. If we didn't have communities like this then I would not have lasted for as long as I have.

    Regards, Dan
  14. I think all 'creatives' go through this once in a while.

    I work closely with one of my clients, who manages their two in-house designers and is constantly complaining about their lack of 'new ideas'. I casually asked when was the last time the designers went to an exhibition, looked at their competition or even had had a break from their Macs - the manager said a long-time. The next time I visited they had been to two exhibitions and reviewed 3 other firms designs and ideas - and the manager said that there was a noticable improvement in their output!
  15. berry

    berry Active Member

    When I was a hand-on CD I could never stare at my mac and wait for ideas or initial direction. The more i'd think the blanker and more turgid and worked the idea was. 90% of my ideas were sparked when i was either in the car park having a smoke ( before i quit!) or walking the 800 yards into the city centre. Ideas are best generated when you don't force them. That's why I always tell the art director to go the library, the shops, anywhere but infront of a screen. Visualise the idea and concept in your head - then implement it on a mac. That is why so much work is not well thought out, it is designed before it has an idea or strategy. Tools make Fools. Ideas and stimulation is everywhere, if not outside, on the web.

    i remember going home one night with my Art director after struggling all day on brand ID. While we were waiting at some temporary traffic lights. The idea hit me in the face. The final logo ended up being a simple traffic light graphic. It was so simple The C.E.O rang the agency from Germany and asked to speak to me to congratulate me on this so so simple but relevant ID. Sometimes in design the answer is right in front of your face. Your just not looking.
  16. Panasit

    Panasit Junior Member

    Take a step back is easier said than done sometime, at least for me. A design project,can be so overwhelming I can see them in my sleep. I can't shake it off.

    Anyway, I always have other designers look at my work. The people who I respected and are not involve with the works directly. This is another way to get an outsider perspective, which I think is better than backing away and pretend I have never seen the work before before looking at it again.

    I never called any of my projects finished until my fellow designer friends, and sometime, still, my professors, have a look. And I do the same for their works.
  17. lord_t

    lord_t Junior Member

    I found lecturers to be incredibly de moralising when at university, constant onslaughts with little to no constructive feedback became a nightmare (although i'm sure it was great for their egos!).

    As soon as i ventured into the real world, it became so much easier with the design team actually bouncing ideas off each other with encouragement and great critiques, its a lot easier to stay positive with jobs.
  18. Purplegurl

    Purplegurl Senior Member

    At my uni we are encouraged to bounce ideas off each other ... although this is sometimes alot harder than sounds ... alot of student are so frightened of plagarism they are scared if they discuss their ideas with other students someone will steal them ... uni can be a very lonely place sometimes lol!

    Personally I feel discussing my ideas and getting feedback is an important part of the design process... i find getting a fresh opinion on a design helps solve the mental blocks... sometimes.

    I do however take the step back approach too ....again allowing for a fresh perspective. But this doesnt help if your deadline is 12 hours away :eek:
  19. twiggy8520

    twiggy8520 Senior Member

    About a week after i've made a piece i instantly hate it for at least a month, then it suddenly becomes my most prized piece. I think when you've been staring at the same piece of work for ages you begin to question it, which mean your confidence slowly dips.

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