Fear! Yes, fear is the word you are looking for here. Fear conquers us if we fail to win over it first. Read into your fear, identify, familiarize yourself, and let it go because it holds no treasure in itself or its capacity. Once the fear is gone, it is easy to continue working on our insecurities crawling out at the expense of imposter syndrome of every designer. You only find your voice when you prioritize your true purpose and passion over a typical fear based on the audience. The solution is easy, but the real deal asked is how you would implement it. So let us take it from the beginning…
1. Your audience does not care
Your audience is not a determinant of your design philosophy or design style. We all have distinctive tastes and styles. One can not think of giving up his sweet dream of running a fast-food truck because people have been enjoying it from McDonald’s and KFC for what we know – an eternity. Hunger strives for the best of us. Hungry people will find you! There will always be that one person who would click with your taste buds and later tell his friends all about your balance, technique, and textures.
2. What is your ‘WHY’?
As Simon Sinek says in his book, Start with Why:
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
Your why gives you direction and inspiration to your followers. By knowing why people start relating to your journey and process. It adds value to your product, to say it simply. To find your why, start with a feeling as minuscule as what makes you curious and why? What gives you the drive and why? What excites your senses to do better and create more, and why? Quoting Simon’s method, a Why is sorted in a one-line definite sentence. It is not a paragraph. It is a clear definition that strikes in one go.
To _______ so that _______. For example, To bake pastries so that I can add a smile to faces or To give charity so that the needy can eat and sleep well.
3. Do NOT label!
By labeling yourself, you are labeling your capabilities and experiences. As Jay Shetty said in one of his podcasts that when you label your experiences, people, or yourself, you put a stamp on that particular person or event as negative or positive. Thus, you cease for that moment or person to teach you a lesson for your growth.
Experiment, fail again and again, learn from yourself, and inspire others!
4. Whining vs. fining
It is as simple as finding what you love to do and working on it.
We usually whine and complain about work and matters we are not interested in. We get bothered, frustrated by the lagged progress, and a process that does not seem to serve our ‘purpose.’
Stop Whining! Start Fining!
Start working on what you love to do. It could be gardening, reading, racing, cooking, etc. Doing what you love other than your given task usually gifts us with an idea that leads to our biggest call. Put that action on repeat till you are fine at it. Jay Shetty once said that you may not be good at what you do but you should be good at doing it.
5. You are stopping you
Like Austin Kleon loves to introduce himself as ‘a writer who draws’, you could design a recipe of your own taste. Broaden your horizon! Yes, you may find your niche and practice it full time but there is no hard and fast rule as doing only one job that pays you.
6. The world is your playground
Meet new people, visit new places, get inspired, paint, write, read, talk, play, draw, swim, drive, etc. Try things that you fear. Live those once-in-a-lifetime moments. You may think they are not related to your design philosophy. But your design philosophy speaks volumes about what you saw, what you have experienced, people you have met, places you have visited, and what you love to extract from all those experiences.
7. Steal like an artist
A big suggestion? Read Austin Kleon’s work! It is a book for artists of all ages and times. In a world where there is an abundance of creative minds showing their work, many of us fail to move past the concept of unique and original work. Nothing is original. We pick details, tones, colors, textures, elements, and culture from our surroundings, and whoever we become or whatever we do becomes a translation of our traces in the world. As Austin Kleon says,
“You’ll find your own style where you fail to imitate your idols.”
8. Social media – opportunity or insecurity?
Perspective matters. How you approach and use a platform is all on you. This is where the label part plays its role. You can either see it as an opportunity to connect with the ‘scenius’ of geniuses or take it as a place to ‘steal like an artist,’ or just sit in the audience craving and hiding your insecurity.
9. Experimentation & exploration
There is no rule in design but good principles. ‘Design is a set of tools, not a standardized process,’ says Jesse Weaver, the founder of Design Like You Mean It. Sit with like-minded or odd-minded people, either way, there would still be a lot to learn.
10. You own you!
Take feedback, connect with your community and audience, but never let opinions define you. You and your work are two different things that work in unison. People criticizing your work are not criticizing your character or progress or process. They are looking at the product. Share your process. Share your journey. Filter Criticism. Go back, re-learn, and come back. But never give up on yourself because only You Own You!
Design Philosophy is a construct of all these steps. You can read all the books you want but sometimes it is just Darwin’s theory of evolution that can inspire an architect to come up with terms such as ‘YES IS MORE!’ Yes, you are right! We are talking about Bjarke Ingels who works on several iterations and then picks one as the strongest one who survived in the process of design evolution.
For more reads, you can look into Jesse Weaver’s article, ‘What is Your Design Philosophy?’ at https://hairyelefante.medium.com/what-is-your-design-philosophy-a32d43985899
- Alford, H., 2017. Always Start With WHY. [online] Medium. Available at: <https://medium.com/humble-ventures/always-start-with-why-b931d528e528> [Accessed 14 March 2022].
- Andrews, W., 2018. How to Develop Your Design Philosophy. [online] Drawbackwards.com. Available at: <https://drawbackwards.com/blog/how-to-develop-your-design-philosophy> [Accessed 14 March 2022].
- Weaver, J., 2015. What is Your Design Philosophy?. [online] Medium. Available at: <https://hairyelefante.medium.com/what-is-your-design-philosophy-a32d43985899> [Accessed 14 March 2022].