It’s not easy being a web designer today, because one is constantly faced with the challenge of improving oneself. Designers’ greatest fear is stagnation, or falling into a rut in which they keep repeating themselves, to their own frustration and the disappointment of their clients.
As a web designer, you probably have a very taxing schedule, but it is crucial to take time out and reinvent yourself. Ensure that your path towards self improvement is never blocked, by finding time to do some or all of the following 10 activities, which will ensure your growth as a designer.
1. Step back and look critically upon your work.
While you are in the middle of a project, it is near impossible for you to judge how you are doing, because you get really caught up in deadlines and delivery. After you finish your project, let a month or so pass and then pass a critical eye over your work. You will easily spot the areas in which you could have done better. The time gap will lend you a proper perspective.
2. Take feedback constructively
You are not the best judge of your own work. What seems perfect to you will be flawed from an unbiased perspective. This is why it is important to seek feedback and constructive criticism from clients, users, and other designers, who will be able to tell you what your work is lacking. Moreover, if you have a brilliant idea, run it by your colleagues. They’ll be able to point out the practical difficulties which you may have overlooked in your enthusiasm.
3. Study the work of more experienced people
If you accept that you are not the best or most experienced designer, take out time to examine the work of people you consider to be more skilled than you, or people who have met with more success than you. You will find a lot to learn and be inspired by. But be sure not to copy anybody’s style. Your success lies in your uniqueness.
4. Go back to the fundamentals
Even if you have solid knowledge about your work, it’s not a bad idea to go back to the basics and brush up your fundamental knowledge. As you get more and more caught up in changing technologies and styles, it gets very easy to forget what you learnt in designer school. And yet, those small lessons are the ABCs of whatever you do.
5. Learn something new
You can never have too much knowledge. If you can spare some time, follow a tutorial online to learn a new skill that will be useful to you in designing. There are thousands of video tutorials available on the net. Just search for what interests you, and spend a few hours cultivating your mind. Time spent in learning something new is never wasted.
6. Get involved in your own project
Alongside the work you do for your client, get a personal project on its feet. Anything that is close to your heart can qualify as a personal project. If you feel you don’t have enough time, start with a very small project that can expand eventually. A personal project fires up your creativity because you are doing it for yourself. As your personal project grows, it can even earn revenue, to supplement your regular income.
7. Redesign a popular website just for fun
Somewhere along the line, you may have forgotten that designing used to be fun for you. Give yourself a challenge to redesign some very popular websites, and see if you can do a better job than the original. Since you are doing this for yourself, you will be surprised at how much you enjoy the challenge. Moreover, you could learn so much, and use these ideas you came up with, later in your client designs.
8. Join a class after work
This suggestion may not be easy for very busy designers to take, but if you are going through a slack period, joining a class at your local university may be a great idea. Learn a new skill, or develop a skill you already have, by attending classroom lectures. The interaction with your fellow students will also refresh your creativity. Joining a class is a big commitment, but it is totally worth it.
9. Start taking an interest in photography
Photography is the favorite pastime of many designers, but if you’ve never tried it, we suggest you buy yourself a camera and develop your picture taking skills. It will be fun and interesting, and you will learn a lot about colors and compositions. This will help you a lot in your designing. The great thing about photography is that you don’t need to take any time out for it.
10. Go visit an art museum
Take a day off work and take your family to visit a local art museum or exhibition. While they enjoy the outing, you can scout for inspiration and ideas amidst the works of art strewn about. Looking at pictures in real life is a different experience from looking at them in your computer, and you will come out feeling rejuvenated, fresh, and bubbling with new ideas.