Week 21: Keep…whatever. And carry on.

As of last week, all of our instruction is pretty much wrapped up.  I spent just about every day this week doing the bulk of the work on my soon-to-be launched portfolio site, which is one of our two final projects, the other being a client project which is also just about finished.

As with any professional artist/creative, it is easy to be one’s own worst critic. Particularly when designing for yourself. It can be quite the challenge to step outside of yourself, and to objectively (perhaps a little subjectively too) take in all that you have to offer, and attempt to lay it out in a coherent project that will ultimately be one of your tools for getting work. But that’s the job, isn’t it?

I have heard many tales told of designers and developers trading their expertise for the services of the other. I recently bumped into an old customer of mine from my coffee-slingin’ days who just designed a website in return for having his own site coded and launched. It’s nice to have those kind of connections – and I am fortunate that I now know a number of talented designers, with whom I hope to collaborate once school’s out.

But on this occasion, being my own toughest critic has been a good thing. I’ve learned a couple things that I imagine are universal in this type of field – any type of field, really.

1. Don’t settle. Keep working on it – if you keep your head down and don’t give up, you will arrive at the design you envisioned from the start. It may be a long road to get there, but it’s worth taking. Make version 2. And version 3. And 4. You can do it!

2. Take breaks. It’s all well and good to be in the zone – Lord knows how many times this week I stayed at “the office” well past the time I thought I would. And trust me, the zone is a great place to be. But you can’t stay there. Not unless you want to starve to death, or don’t hope to maintain any friendships – or your sanity. Go have a beer.

3. Trust your instincts. But seek out critique – sometimes this is the only way to get out of your own head. You may be attached to a certain image or font, but don’t be. Be willing to adjust something if you haven’t been able to see what it is that’s bugging you – after all, chances are you know something needed to change or be tossed, even if you can’t pinpoint it exactly.

So keep…whatever. And carry on.

NEXT WEEK: onwards and upwards. School will be out!