Thursday, August 4, 2011

How to be a good creative designer? The rules, tips and faux pas. [PART 2]

This is Part 2 on “How to be a good creative designer? The rules, tips and faux pas.”

9. Originality is overrated.
Creative designers would usually take the current designing trends with a pinch of salt. Instead, what separates the good designer from the bad is their knack in improving the design trends instead of copying it 100% and that my friend, as you may know, is called plagiarism. Originality not only stems from improving something already in existence but by taking it to another level that surprises people. In the wise words of Aaron Russel, “every designers’ dirty little secret is that they copy other designers’ work. They see work they like, and they imitate it. Rather cheekily, they call this inspiration.” So, is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? You be the judge.

10. For Sale: You.
Know how to sell yourself not only to your clients but to everyone as well. You need to know how to package yourself as first impression counts. The way you dress and the method in which carry yourself is an indication on your work ethics and design aesthetics. For sure, if you cannot make a good and lasting impression on others, you cannot design to impress. No matter how creative you are, if you cannot market yourself or your work, you will find it difficult to attain the success you so much desired.

11. Criticism will not kill you.
Most designers will be offended if their work process or their designs are criticized even though the criticism may be for the better. It is often that clients or your superiors will offer their opinions on your designs which only serve to better the quality of your designs. Improvement is crucial for any good creative designers. Sometimes, hard-headed designers can be difficult to work with as they would be completely adamant on their own opinions only and this can cause untold conflict at the workplace.

12. Research your way through.
Great designers are the ones who can come out with unique designs that fit the clients’ requirements. It does not necessarily need to be too loud or too quiet. As long as the designer reads the project briefs beforehand, he or she will have a better understanding on the type of design that the customer wants. As they say, knowledge is power.

13. Recycle, reuse and reduce… errrr… No!
Do not in any way recycle your designs even those that have been rejected by your superiors or clients. You need to be able to create something unique without relying on past designs. Moreover, design templates or free fonts should not be the integral tools in your designing process. A good creative designer is judged by his or her abilities in designing something at the drop of a hat.

14. Colors, fonts and everything in between.
You need to know industry standard fonts such as Helvetica, Century and Arial among others. These are fonts regularly requested by clients even though they are shunned in the design community. Colours are important as well. You do not need to know the CMYK or Pantone colour codes but you have to know what certain descriptions of colours actually refer to such as navy blue, salmon pink or lime green. This is because clients will usually describe the colours they want instead of the actual colour codes.

15. Your portfolio is your own brand.
A portfolio is important for every designer. Always start compiling your best work for your portfolio at the beginning of your career as this will show your growth as a designer. A good creative designer will have a portfolio that is both expansive and interesting. But you should never use work that you have created while under the employ of any organizations as this will mean that you have breached the company’s confidentiality rules and regulations.

16. Specialty equals strength.
A good designer should always choose their career path in which they can excel and be good at. Unfortunately, most designers will actually go for a new job because they want to learn new things but they should instead continue working on what they are already capable of and improve. Specialization is important. I am not saying that a designer should set boundaries on the design projects that he or she should handle. You can still take up on other design projects that are different from your specialty but try sticking to what you are skilled at. By doing so, your superiors or clients will know that you are competent in a particular field and will trust your expertise in handling those said projects, thus giving you a higher priority over others.

17. With passion, nothing can stand in your way.
Hard work alone is insufficient to give you the fulfilment you need in your career. Passion is what separates the cream of the crop from the mediocre. Breathe life into your designs by doing something different and new that you have never done before, this could be a textual effect or colour schemes used. In short, do not be a line worker at a factory and produce something that is the same day in and day out. Challenge yourself to be different.

18. Bringing your design into the real world.
This is important when you deal with designs that need to be translated into the real world such as packaging designs or business cards or even brochures. A digital sample of the design is inadequate. To be a good designer, you need to be able show the client the finished product in various media – no matter whether if you need to print or fold or mould or cut and paste your design proposal. Remember that not all clients are fantastic visualizers. A dummy artwork will serve as an important tool for the client to know how the design will look like in actuality. Just showing the design on a one-dimensional surface is simply insufficient.

So I hope that these 18 tips will help in explaining what characteristics constitute a good creative designer. Until next time at TheLogoBuzz!

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