January 6, 2020

What Being a Designer Gave Me

Posted by Sharmarke Hujale

I have been working with design for the past 3-4 years, but it was only recently that I sat down and really reflected about what being a designer meant for me and what it gave me. 

Before going right to the good stuff, let me take you a step back into my life. I was "one of those students" at school who used to doodle a lot on every piece of paper or folders I had.

I always loved to use my creative side, but lost it as I grew older. Since school never teach about creativity. It really sucked. Like a lot.

When I finished my first formal education as a web developer at the age of 20 in 2015, I knew that I didn’t want to work with programming for the rest of my life. Coding was fun, but not quite my thing.

As I was working with web development I naturally came across design, specifically graphic design.  

By discovering and working with design it really has given me something that I so deeply sought after. All of it can be summed up in three categories that I’m going to share with you.

Confidence

I have always been a very shy person as far as I can remember. It was due to the lack of confidence in my own capabilities. I used to believe as a kid that I wasn’t good enough at anything. Just an average Joe. By having low confidence in myself. My motivation was non-existent. No drive. No passion whatsoever. It was hard especially if you constantly compare yourself  with others that “seems” like they got it. 

But when I started to learn about design. I just kept going. Learning about the principles and fundamentals of good design, watching tutorials, listening to podcasts, participate in challenges etc. Little by little I could see the results. I could see that my hard work of constantly pursuing what I love paid off. 

At first I was scared to put my work on social platforms. I think we all are, but I did it nonetheless. Getting acknowledgment and feedback from fellow creatives is really what helped me. Knowing that you’re good at something really feels good inside. It helped with my confidence overall. At the same time I still work as hard as before. 

Also knowing that I’m good at something and passionate about it has really helped with my overall happiness. I feel more confident when I’m talking to people and also when I’m trying to learn new things. I sometimes still experience my old self, but I can see that it isn’t getting in the way as it used to.

Curiosity

As I grew more confident in myself, I started to get curious. Like a lot. Things I wasn’t even curious about or interested in got my attention. It grew on me naturally in my pursuit when learning about design. Since I spent a lot of my time studying through articles, blogs, videos and be in design communities. 

I wanted to broaden my knowledge of other things besides design. Subjects like business and marketing. Even copywriting, psychology and rhetoric. To learn about the world, history and understand cultures. 

I came across a video where Chris Do, The Founder and CEO of The Futur talked about this as an advice for young designers as myself. Design was a gateway for me to explore other subjects. To make connections. To not only be a person that create things.

Perspective

Design change my perspective of how I see things. In the beginning I always thought of design as just making graphics and that’s it. 

But maybe because when working with design you get caught up in details. We are so attentive to details. And that’s why personally for me, I began to pay more attention to what’s around me.

We see design every day in our daily life. Some of us pay less attention to what’s around. But it becomes a natural habit for us designers. At least it does for me.  

Sometimes when I see a piece of design, I would say in my head and other times aloud “ohh, that looks nice, what did the designer think?” or “What message or feeling they want to convey to the intended audience?”  

I came to appreciate the subtle details. I try to look for inspiration wherever I go. 

Sometimes I can’t find the words to describe how awesome it is to be a designer.

For me design isn’t just about making something look pretty. I will end this by quoting Jose Caballer, a fellow creative and designer about the topic of design: 

“Design is planning, it's process, it’s the name, look, feel, function and experience. Remember that. Templates and visuals are cheap now - how you choose them and what they say is the main value - until you understand this you will undervalue yourself.”


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