pantoneRecently I was tagged by Char at Essential Keystrokes to continue this discussion on how we define success as a designer that was started over at Tara’s blog.

1. How did you get started in the business?
I worked in direct mail and database marketing in my “former life”, and had the opportunity to observe some big name brands and their marketing strategies up close, so it was a natural transition from the planning and execution part of the business to the design side. I’ve been designing websites since sometime in the mid-90’s when someone told me about Geocities (which at the time I thought was the neatest thing since sliced bread), and have moved into logo and print design as the opportunities have come up.

2. What kept you going in those early years?
What kept me going was just the fun of it! I wasn’t relying on design for any source of real income, so I could just learn as I went and enjoy myself with no pressure.

3a. Did you ever feel like you weren’t good enough or you would never make it in this industry?
Sure, especially as someone who has no “formal” training.

3b. How did you work through that?
For a long time I was frustrated, because I saw amazing work from great designers and what I was producing just didn’t cut it- didn’t even come close. Now, with the right tools and resources, along with just time to learn and practice, I can at least feel good about some of the things I’m producing.

4. Do you look at others today and think “Wow, I wish I were that good”?
Sure, all the time, but rather than being a negative feeling of inadequacy, it’s positive- it inspires me to see great work.

5. How do you measure success?
For me, success is just being “in demand”, and having steady projects to work on, as well as designing things that I feel good about and that the client loves. I didn’t mind that much when I was doing work for little or no pay, just to build my portfolio, but it’s nice at this point to begin to have steady work coming in and not have to under-bid things just to get the job.

6. By your standard, do you think you are successful?
Getting there… it’s definitely moving in the right direction.

Check out some other designers who have participated in this discussion:
Brian Gardner
David Airey
Paul Enderson
Charity Ondriezek
Lisa Sabin-Wilson