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Resourceful Designer podcast: Offering tips, tricks and advice for starting and growing your graphic or web design business.

You Can't Read The Label From Inside the Jar

“You can't read the label from inside the jar.” This metaphor is a powerful reminder for designers about the importance of seeking external perspectives and honest feedback. Let's delve deeper into this concept's significance in the graphic and web design industry.

The Power of Honest Feedback

Breaking Free from Self-Imposed Constraints

In the graphic and web design world, it's easy to fall into the trap of solitary work. We become so engrossed in our projects that we may forget to step back and seek external input. However, as the saying goes, “You can't read the label from inside the jar.” Sometimes, we're too close to our work to see it objectively.

Recognizing this limitation is the first step toward growth as a designer. You must understand that to excel in our careers, honest opinions of others are needed—views that extend beyond the comforting words of well-meaning family members. As far as Mom is concerned, everything we do is perfect.

The Value of Constructive Critique

While compliments and praise are uplifting, they only scratch the surface of our potential for improvement. Constructive critique, on the other hand, dives deep into the nuances of our design work. It identifies areas needing refinement and suggests ways to enhance the final design.

Embracing positive and negative feedback is crucial for our development as graphic and web designers. It's the catalyst for progress, enabling us to make those 1% improvements that collectively lead to significant strides in our design abilities.

Navigating the Design Journey with Others

Cultivating a Community of Creativity

Design is a collaborative endeavour, even for solopreneurs. Surrounding ourselves with fellow creatives who share our passion and dedication can be transformative. These individuals become sounding boards, sources of inspiration, and trusted advisors.

In such a community, trust is paramount. Knowing that the feedback you receive comes from a place of genuine interest in your growth is invaluable. It creates an environment where you can freely share your work, knowing you'll receive constructive and supportive responses.

Leveraging the Resourceful Designer Community

The Resourceful Designer Community is a prime example of a space where designers can exchange ideas, offer honest feedback, and seek advice. Unlike overpopulated online forums such as Facebook groups, this community is tightly knit, allowing for a level of trust and familiarity that's hard to find elsewhere.

Members of this community critique each other's work and provide insights on various aspects of the design business. From client interactions to contract negotiations, the collective wisdom of this community is a valuable resource for any designer.

Overcoming Impostor Syndrome: Seeing Your Worth

Recognizing the Curse of Self-Doubt

Impostor Syndrome is a familiar companion for many graphic and web designers. It's that nagging feeling that despite our accomplishments, we're somehow not as skilled or capable as we should be. This self-imposed doubt can hinder our progress and stifle our creativity.

Learning to differentiate between genuine areas for improvement and unfounded insecurities is crucial. Seeking external feedback can be a powerful antidote to Impostor Syndrome. It provides an objective perspective on our work, often revealing that we're more skilled and talented than we give ourselves credit for.

External Validation: A Reality Check

There are moments when external perspectives serve as a reality check. A designer may second-guess their abilities, only to have their work praised and celebrated by peers. This reaffirms that sometimes, we're our own harshest critics. Only when viewed through other's eyes can we appreciate this. The label from inside the jar does not accurately reflect our capabilities.

Understanding this can be a liberating revelation. It empowers us to confidently approach our work, knowing we have the skills and talent to deliver exceptional results.

Broadening Perspectives: Unearthing Fresh Ideas

Breaking Out of Tunnel Vision

Graphic and web Design projects often entail many elements, from typography to imagery. It's easy to hyper-focus on one aspect, such as a logomark, while neglecting the broader composition of the entire logo. This is where external input proves invaluable. A fresh set of eyes can spot details that may have eluded us.

Engaging with others allows us to step back and see the bigger picture. It helps us appreciate the interconnectedness of various design elements and ensures that our work is cohesive and harmonious.

Exploring Alternative Solutions

As designers, we're problem solvers. Clients present us with challenges, and it's our job to find creative solutions. However, there's never a one-size-fits-all answer. We expose ourselves to diverse perspectives and approaches when we share our ideas with others.

These alternative solutions may inspire our current project and shape our future work. They broaden our creative horizons and equip us with a more expansive toolkit for tackling design challenges.

Embrace the Power of Collaboration

In the design world, seeking honest feedback and engaging with a community of peers is not a sign of weakness but a testament to one's commitment to growth and excellence. Remember, you can't read the label from inside the jar. Opening up to external perspectives will unlock new levels of creativity and proficiency in your design journey. So, reach out, share your work, and watch as your skills soar to new heights.

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcription of this episode. This transcript was created with the help of AI and transcription tools. It has not been edited for errors or accuracy.

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Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business, please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

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