Want to hear an embarrassing story?
In college, my class was given the assignment to create a poster for a children's play that the theater department was putting on. When I got started, I thought I'd be really good at this project. But, when I sat down to get started, my mind went blank. I couldn't get inspired. The deadline was fast approaching and I started to panic. So, I started looking at my fellow classmates progress for inspiration.
There was one girl in the class who's work always stood out. She was a little older than the rest of us and her work was always the teachers favorite. I was always inspired by her work, so I started creating something that was inspired by her work.
On the day that the project was due, we all came in with our completed projects and mine was the worst. By far.
The teacher actually picked it up to explain exactly why it was so awful. Don't get me wrong, this teacher still remains to be the best teacher I've ever had and I learned a lot from her. But, it was embarrassing.
Although, I couldn't help but agree with everything that the teacher was saying about my poster. It was scattered, not well thought out and didn't tell a story. It was just pieces of clip art that I thought my classmate would have chosen and tried to force something that just wasn't there.
It didn't take me much time after that, to realize her style and my own just wasn't the same. Although, I didn't start embracing my own style right away, once I did my work improved exponentially. Today, I want to talk to you about how you can start embracing your own design style, so maybe you and your business won't suffer public embarrassment.
1 | Experiment
When you are first learning graphic design, you should experiment with all different types of design styles. Personally, I think it's the only way to find your style. Experimenting gives you the freedom of a pressure-free outcome, you learn new techniques and it pushes your creativity.
One of my favorite things to do is follow a tutorial that highlights a design technique or style that I haven't tried. You can use Lynda, EnvatoTuts+ or just search YouTube. There are plenty of great resources out there to improve and expand your design skills.
Just remember to have fun with it and use it as your creative outlet!
2 | Practice
I wish I could say that I woke up and was an amazing graphic designer. Although, I always had a good eye for high-quality design. It wasn't second nature for me to create quality design when I was first getting started.
I took classes in school, followed tutorials online and devoured design-related content. Long story short, I had to put a lot of effort into improving my skills.
Of course, some people are naturally inclined to be more artistic. But, even the most naturally artistic people need to practice and improve their skills and techniques. Plus, a lot of the obstacles that come with curating a design style, is learning what types of design styles exist, how you approach a design and what you're naturally drawn to... and the only way to learn any of that is to practice your skills.
3 | Focus on you
Part of the reason I experiment with design style and technique is because there are so many amazing designers out there. I find countless designers to be incredibly inspiring, which can help me push myself. But, sometimes it makes doubt and insecurities creep in.
I still believe that the reason I had the mental block back in college, is that I was always comparing my work to my classmates. Seeing how they approached a project, always left me feeling a little insecure. That small voice in my head would say "why didn't I think of that" or "maybe I'm not cut out for this".
Learning to embrace your style and believe in your talents is the hardest thing any designer ever has to do. But, finding your design style and working within it is one of the most liberating experiences for any creative entrepreneur.
What helped you learn to embrace your design style? Let me know in the comments!