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Am I Really Any Good at this Design Thing?

posted by Matt Ward on Jul 12, 2010.

Am I really any good? It’s a question that I think many designers come up against at least once in their careers – and probably more often than that. In this article, I want to consider this by looking at the design community, my own experience and ultimately proposing a means for getting past this difficult question.

The design community is a wonderful thing. I really mean it. Despite the fact that some aspects of it can occasionally seem a little repetitive with the reams and reams of pointless lists that I have seen over and over again, the community endures. Despite the fact that there are literally hundreds, and probably even thousands of sites and blogs screaming out for our attention, most of us still manage to forge relationships.

Am I Really Any Good at this Design Thing (image from ShutterStock)

Am I Really Any Good at this Design Thing (image from ShutterStock)

Personally, I know that I am very grateful for all of the relationships that I have established and seen grow since I really became a part of the community. Some have taught me. Others have inspired me. A few have even displayed a certain keenness for challenging me and calling me out (you know who you are). A small handful have even become my personal friends.

Yet, like so many great things in life, the community can be something of a double edged sword – though not necessarily in a conscious or deliberate way. As much as it can help, there are days where, at least for me, it can also be a painful and uncomfortable place.

That’s what this article is about.

I’m sure that I really don’t need to say this, but the internet’s a big place – I mean it’s really big. Billions of people can come together and share information in a nearly instantaneous fashion. It takes the idea of community far beyond anything it could ever have been conceived to mean even twenty years ago. Granted, the design community is but a microcosm within the larger population of the information superhighway, but even that relatively small fraction of that population still ends up being a pretty significant number of people.

Today, I took a venture out to Smashing Magazine to look at their numbers: 207,622 subscribed readers and an even higher number of followers on Twitter! Obviously, we can’t assume that these numbers in any way reflect the fullness of the community, but I think they do help demonstrate that we’re not just talking about a few hundred people here.

The community is big, and in many ways that very size is part of the source of my discomfort.

A Big Measuring Stick

So the community is big. Why does that matter? For me, it matters because, the bigger the community, the more people we have to compare ourselves to. And make no mistake about it: we do compare. Even the most detached, non-judgmental designers out there are secretly (perhaps even unwittingly) comparing their own abilities against the abilities of those with whom they interact.

It’s just human nature.

And thus do we reveal the secondary edge of the design community – the one on which we can occasionally cut our own precious egos. For, not only is it a large community; it’s also an accessible one. In some form or another, I see the work of my peers almost every single day. Some days (when I find myself being somewhat less productive), I actually find myself seeing more of their work than I do of my own.

The result of this is, of course, entirely predictable: I start to compare and weigh myself against them. Sometimes, it’s not such a big deal. Sometimes I see work that I feel is on par with my own. At the risk of sounding a bit arrogant, I confess that sometimes, I even see work that makes me think that I could do better.

But, then there are those other times, when I come face to face with work that is painfully better than my own. I may marvel at the layout, be struck by the colour choice, be transfixed by the typography or sometimes just stare in ultimate amazement at some simple yet perfectly executed element that pulls an entire design together (but which I know I would never have conceived of myself). I feel a knot in my stomach, and find myself thinking:

“Man, I suck at this design thing!”

A Certain Lack

To make things worse, I don’t really have anything formal to fall back on. As some readers might already be aware, my post-secondary education was not in the field of design. It was in English Literature. While others were studying grids, reading about typography, and learning the finer points of kerning, I was dissecting Shakespeare and Milton and writing term papers trying to explain what it was all about. Instead of theories of design, I was reading theories about culture – modernist, postmodernist, postcolonial and even feminist.

I don’t regret the five years I spent working on my BA and MA. In fact, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, and I do think that some of the critical thinking that I learned during that time has been beneficial for my work as a designer.

However, literary theory is not design theory, and when those difficult moments strike and I find myself coming face to face with my own apparent inadequacies, I simply don’t have the degree or diploma in design to fall back on. I can’t walk into my office and look at the papers on my wall and be reminded that I have the foundation of a formal education in design.

Of course, I know I’m not all that unique in this respect. I’m not the only kid in the community whose education wasn’t actually in design, and some of the people I respect the most are actually in this very same boat with me (figuratively speaking, of course).

Now, I want to be clear: though it may sound like it, I’m not whining here. I’m not building this big melodramatic, woe-is-me kind of plea for attention, based on my own insecurities. Instead, I’m merely acknowledging that those insecurities exist and that sometimes they get the better of me.

I also don’t think I’m alone in this. The more I consider it, the more I’ve come to believe that a lot of other designers probably go through this exact same thing – though of course, in the context of their own unique experiences.

The Salvation of Retrospect

I want to be clear: I’m not saying all of this to be overly negative or depressing, which is exactly what this article would be if we stopped here. Instead, I would like to move towards a more positive conclusion. While recognizing that there are times when I (and others like me) may feel somewhat inadequate in the face of the work of other designers, I’ve found that the important thing is to not linger on those feelings. Dwelling on them for too long will invariably lead to discouragement, and a weakening of your own self-confidence (trust me).

That’s never a good thing. Designers needs to be confident in the choices they make, and assured of their own abilities. Without that particular confidence, I can only imagine that the process of design would become far more difficult and tedious.

So, in order to avoid this unseemly fate, the next time you’re looking at somebody else’s work and feel that you just don’t measure up, take a moment to pause and embrace the salvation of retrospect:

  • First, understand that being a designer is like being on a journey. You’re always growing, transforming and moving forward.
  • Next, admit that you haven’t reached the end of that journey, and that there are areas of your craft that you may still need to work on, or in which you want to improve.
  • Last, and most importantly, look back at your work from 3 months, 6 months or a year ago (maybe even further) and look at how far you’ve already come.

To paraphrase the words of a friend of mine: you may not be where you want to be, but as long as you’re not where you used to be, you know you’re moving forward. That, dear reader, is progress, and if you’ve come that far already, just imagine where you’ll be a few years down the road. For me, it’s that kind of thinking that really helps keep me going.

Unfortunately, there isn’t really any magic pill you can take, switch you can turn or book you can read that will transform you into the next Jason Santa Maria or Elliot Jay Stocks overnight.

Nor should there be. Despite their relative fame and influence within the community, I’m sure neither of them just woke up one morning, decided to become designers and immediately started rocking of the kind of quality material that we’re so used to seeing from them these days. It almost certainly took a lot of time, hard work and dedication to refine their skills to the point that they’re at now.

I wonder if either Jason or Elliot still have their very first designs in their portfolios?

Getting Better

The point (if you haven’t caught it), is to find strength and validation in your own work, whatever level your at. If you know you’re getting better, and if you can actually and visually trace the course of your own development, then stand firmly on that. It will help establish a strong foundation of confidence, so that when the storms and torrents of insecurity come back again, hopefully they won’t have the strength or force to topple you.

Beyond that, just keep working at improving. Last year, I wrote an article about the one thing that everyone needs to do to become a better designer (and the answer is: practice), in which I offered some practical steps for those who wanted to make a very conscious and deliberate effort to improve. If that’s you, please feel free to have a read.

Otherwise, I simply hope that you’ve enjoyed this article, and that some of you may actually be able to relate to what I’m saying here (if not, do I ever feel like a fool). If I’m really lucky, maybe a few of your will even benefit from it!

As always, I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to share your thoughts, reactions and experiences by leaving a comment below. Looking forward to reading your responses!

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Also from Echo Enduring Media:

An Unfolding Tale

About the Author

Matt Ward is a digital artist who lances freely under the moniker of Echo Enduring Media, and specializes in graphics design, illustration and writing. He is also the Creative Director for Highland Marketing, a creative direct marketing company based out of Waterloo, Ontario. You can follow Matt on Twitter

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Jul 12, 2010

Lewis Nyman says:

I always feel that kind of pressure.

I’d like to think it’s a good thing, that instinct is what makes you a good designer today and a great designer tomorrow.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed if I can’t figure out how to fix a design or get the visuals in my head into photoshop and start breaking a sweat and falling into a pit of self doubt.

You just have to learn to handle that kind of pressure and turn it into something productive.

Jul 13, 2010

Matt Ward says:

I agree, Lewis. Learning to deal with the pressure of these kind of stresses id definitely and important aspect of learning to deal with them, and hopefully overcome them and become more productive. And I totally hear what you’re saying about the frustration of transferring things from the cinema of the mind onto the page! That can be a tough one!

Jul 12, 2010

Gabrielle says:

I get this feeling every now and then.
I was successful in my previous industry but I just didn’t LOVE what I was doing and although I absolutely love what I do now, occasionally I’ll get a bit frustrated.

Another great and insightful post.

Jul 13, 2010

Matt Ward says:

Being able to love what you do is definitely important. Hope you’re loving what you’re doing now.

Jul 12, 2010

Alex says:

Hey Matt,

when I read those first lines I didn’t feel like continue reading your article – it just sounded too depressive and negative.

But I continued – due to my curiosity I guess – and returned from this quite sad mood into one which I would call hope.

If your article was a movie I would call it a 66% tragedy and 33% Never-Give-Up one (e.g. the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness).

However, I see your point and think it’s brave to share those thoughts and “weaknesses”. Nobody is continuously strong, that’s my personal essence of your writing.

Good Luck with your further designing!
Greetings from Berlin, Germany
– Alex

Jul 13, 2010

Matt Ward says:

Thanks Alex. I definitely felt that the article was a bit on the depressing side, especially through the first little bit. I’m glad I was able to turn it around and provide a little bit of hope towards the end though.

Jul 12, 2010

Nicky Tillyer (@artrox) says:

Snap!!! Thank you for sharing, it’s good to know I am not alone! I love the connections we are able to make through these fabulous resources, but I totally agree as I often look at illustrations and designs of the talented people I have been introduced to and languish over my own lack of talent…
But as you rightly point out…learning is progress…and I have come such a long way and the journey is far from over!

Jul 13, 2010

Matt Ward says:

Yes, Nicky – it’s all about the journey and progress. Glad to hear that you’ve come a long way in your own work, and are looking to get even better in the future!

Jul 12, 2010

Cindy says:

I think creatives always feel like this because of the constant critiquing we get not only externally (clients) but also from our own field. Instead of “Am I really good?” I always feel “Am I good enough?” because no matter how good you are, there is always someone better. :P

The one thing I will say about designers having a non-design background is that you actually have something DIFFERENT to fall back on. Having a degree in design and no other experience besides design means that if I’m ever not good enough, I’d have to learn another trade completely. C’est la vie. :)

Jul 13, 2010

Matt Ward says:

Yeah I guess I do have something to fall back on – though I’ve found that an English degree isn’t always the most practical thing to have in your back pocket, unless you want to be a teacher or something. Still, after 4 years of full time designing, I think I’ll be able to stay on this course for at least a few more years ;)

Jul 12, 2010

Neo says:

Wow, and I thought I was the only weirdo in this pond! Just kidding.

I’m coming off a very similar path and after getting a BSc Zoology and leaving a successful career in broadcasting, I decided to do something I’d always been passionate about – web and design.

The bonus that I bring to my designs now is a lot more life experience but you’re right, the way to get better is to practice, practice and practice some more.

Great article and thanks for sharing

Jul 12, 2010

Corie says:

Loved this post!

As an aspiring designer and current student, it is quite a relief to know even established designers feel the pressure. And I didn’t think the post was depressing at all, quite the opposite actually, very inspiring.

Thank you!

Jul 13, 2010

Manuel says:

I can understand you.
I’ve got a scientific and musical education, but during university I started to be attracted by web design. I studied and practiced and I’m sure I made important steps forward, but often I still feel myself really frustrated when I look to the BIGS’ work. But there’s one thing I learned from my previous education, in particoular from music: some things need practice, constant work and patience to be reached. I think you need to have a certain taste, but without the previous elements you’ll never go anywhere.
But it’s so easy to feel frustrated..

Jul 13, 2010

Rachel says:

Wow, this has to be one of the first blog posts I’ve read that I can REALLY identify with. Up until a few months ago, I really did have doubt that I could “make it” as a designer, and I was really struggling in feeling confident about my work. But I had a sort of turning point, and now realise that you need to be confident. If you’re confident in making your own decisions about a design, or if you’re confident and happy – to hell with what everyone else thinks. It’s not like everybody loved Vincent Van Gough or Jackson Pollock’s work when it was first brought out – but now they are worldwide recognised artists.

Really great blog post though – I loved reading it.

Jul 13, 2010

flipscyde industries says:

Hey Matt… It’s so refreshing to read such an open, & honest article for a change… Nice work!

What you have to realize is that this is in no way exclusive to the design community. No matter what field you’re in, there is likely to be somebody better than you. Just because you aren’t the best at what you do, doesn’t mean that you’re not good at it. Even legendary greats, at some point in their perspective careers, weren’t the best at what they did. They continued to forge ahead until they were the best. So just because somebody isn’t the best at what they do, should they revert to questioning their career path. As long as you’re moving forward, you’re moving in the right direction… so keep on moving!


Jul 13, 2010

Robin says:

This is so incredibly familiar to me – I’ve got a BA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing and constantly second guess myself because of it.

I agree with Cindy – some of this is just part of the biz since we are constantly evaluated and questioned and tweaking each little choice.

I didn’t find this article depressive at all – I found it honest and realistic. Thank you so much for sharing it.

Jul 14, 2010

justBcoz says:

Oh yes.

Nail. On. Head.

I have zero training, none at all, and because I work entirely on intuition, I am *constantly* wrestling with my abilities as a designer.

I doubt myself every time I start a new project, thinking “What the blazes am I doing? I’m no designer!”

I have to give myself a serious pep talk every day to boost my confidence and part of that involves looking back at work that I’ve done, how well it’s been received and how much my skill has grown.

I catch myself making comparisons to other designers’ work and I have to remind myself that that is futile! At the end of the day, I just have to do the very best I can with what I have, push myself to try new things, learn along the way and create something I can be proud of.

Not easy =)

Jul 14, 2010

Natasha says:

For those of us just starting out in this field, it’s good to know that even the pro’s sometimes doubt their work. It let’s us know that there is always room for improvement, even when we hit it big.

Thanks for the article and the good advice! It definitely put some of my doubts at rest (at least for now lol).

Jul 17, 2010

James says:

Thank you for this post.
This is a topic very close to my heart, I can relate completely to the point you are making.

I think I’ll read this again every morning to myself :^)

Jul 17, 2010

Miss Branded says:

A formal education doesn’t mean much without courage. I would hope the best success comes to those who stick their neck out and don’t rely on a piece of paper.

Very honest and exposed. Great advice and perspective. Thanks for sharing!

Jul 17, 2010

Dan H. says:

What a great article – I’ve been going through these same doubts for years now, ever since I got into college.

I know within my college I’m more than capable of most the students there, but outside of that safety and in the big ocean of design I find myself to be a very, very, very small fish.

The nature of our community sometimes encourages this feeling – with posts coming out daily saying “40 examples of great *put random thing in here” – I know these are meant to be inspirational but sometimes when I view the work there I think “Well… mine doesn’t look anything like that, so it must not be good enough” and then it’s a long quest to find a solution to the problem… when the problem had been solved all along but in my very own method.

Thanks for the bit of inspiration, and reality check.

Jul 17, 2010

Sarah says:

What a great post — its nice to see someone in the community being so honest about the confidence struggles that can come along with working in a creative field. I know this definitely hit close to home for me.

Very inspiring read! =)

Jul 17, 2010

Lucas Cobb Design says:

Nice post Matt.

I’ve got a few things to say about this.

You have to look on the bright side Matt. If you were the best designer in the world, how would you ever get better if you had no one to look up to? No one to challenge your creativity? No one to inspire you? Be thankful that there are better designers out there that help push you further in design.

Also, what you might feel as being good might not be the same for someone else. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes when it comes to design.

Lastly, the numbers are there to show that there are hundreds and thousands of people interested in design as seen on SmashingMag. How many true designers participate in the community on a consistent basis? Maybe 200. You know who the people are that stand up for design and really make it a community. Places like Smashing Mag and Abduzeedo are on top right now because they already have 3+ years on everyone and have been in the game since the beginning of the design community on the internet. We will get there too. Not all of us are going to do this whole blog thing for years, but the ones who do will be just like SmashingMag and Abduzeedo.

They are communities in themselves and that is why they work. Same with designers like Jason Santa Maria and the lot. They have been in the community for a long time, thus they have so called cred in the industry. Yes they do great designs, but a lot of that is collaboration as well. It’s all about networking and who you know online. If you are not up to that, then just give it a few years and all the new designers will worship you too.

I see myself giving back to the community and not on the hunt for fame. I could care less what people think about my designs, but if they can learn something from me, that’s priceless.

Jul 17, 2010

Jennifer says:

I also do not have a degree in design. I have a B.A. in journalism, but I started “earning” money (a whole $8 an hour!) in the design world when I was an intern. I told the editor of the paper I was working it, that I was also interested in graphic design and she let me work with their fill-time newsroom designer.

That really started it all.

I totally agree with you, it is a journey and you constantly work to improve your skills.

Jul 17, 2010

Marcell Purham says:

I think ever designer has their own style. Designers like Elliot Jay stocks are great designer but what they have done to become a great designer dose not evolve around just the computer. I know Elliot gets his inspirations from nature while others look at others work and doubt themselves. I recently wrote and article on why you should not look at others work and the reason that being said is because if there work is not better than your then you will say I can do better then that but if it is then you will say I will never be able to design a site like that so my best advice for anyone who doubt their design skills is to do what you love and like what you like because no matter what you do there will always be someone better :)

Great Article

Jul 17, 2010

Chasen says:

Ahh Matt, this whole article encapsulates the struggle, bane, and very reason why we entered into the industry. To be inspired every day by those who MAY be better than you is the driving force behind why we even exist. Well that, and the clients we do work for =)Having spent the last 6 years deeply entrenched in the industry has proven to be frustrating and also a motivating factor in becoming better.

I remember when in college, I felt like I didn’t belong in the design industry at all (went to art college). I wasn’t anywhere near as good as some of my peers who were born and raised with artsy parents… mine, we realtors (which has helped my being a marketer as well, but artsy side… not so much). Being where I am at now, I know I am good, but there is always room to grow, just as you have examined.

Great article man, will keep following your blog. Your degree in English Lit seems to have suited you well =)

Jul 17, 2010

Pixelbox Design says:

Excellent Article, keep up the good work.

Jul 17, 2010

ThePec says:

So glad i got to read this article! :)

Like James said, i might just turn this into a daily reading, just to make sure my design prowess is at its max!

Thanks for sharing!

Jul 17, 2010

Jason S. says:

Great post. I think everyone in this field is, by nature, their own worst critic.

As a formally trained and employed designer I constantly struggle with “rising above” or “raising the bar” with my own work. One thing I like to tell myself is that I’m not the best out there but nor am I the worst. The only thing I can do is continue my education and constantly, I mean daily, keep abreast of trends, techniques and styles out there.

Jul 18, 2010

Marc says:

Firstly, for me I got into this whole world of design real late in comparison to most. I’m in my mid 30’s and only a year out of school.

I’ve had my fair share of massive doubt, and loss of motivation. However, something inevitably inspires me and I go on a tear, sometimes completing projects, other times trying and failing.

Failure is such a huge part of design, most call it experimentation, I call it failing for fun. To challenge oneself to do something that for your skill set is near impossible.

Your friend’s quote is great and one day when I make it out East, or you come out west we should grab a cup of joe.


Jul 18, 2010

Kim says:

I totally relate to this post! I have not started my post-secondary design education yet, but when I was creating my entrance portfolio the doubts about my work would pop up every now and then!

As Corie and Natasha above mentioned, it’s reassuring to know that even professional designers have doubts about their work at times.

The point you made about how being a designer is a journey was a good reminder for me! I am on the very beginning of that journey and I’m excited for the road ahead. I think I’ll bookmark this post for times in the future I need a reminder to be confident in myself and my work and to just keep on working on improving my skills.

Thanks for the post! I really enjoyed it.

Jul 18, 2010

Jon Phillips says:

What a great article! I, like you, don’t have anything formal to fall back on, I’m self-taught. As much as I’d like to think I rarely compare myself, I totally do, and more often than not.

I liked that part where you wrote ‘admit that you haven’t reached the end of that journey‘ – yep, and I hope I never will ;)

Jul 19, 2010

Iulian I says:

Your article inspires me to reflect more upon my design work and be aware of my progress.
I have a BA in English myself and I’ve studied Shakespeare and Milton quite a lot, too; I used to work as an English teacher for three years…

So, as a suggestion, now maybe you can start a post on how to transition to working in the design field from a non design formal education. I would love to hear your insights or advice on that. Thanks.

Jul 19, 2010

michael soriano says:

Hi Matt.

Beautiful post. I bet hundreds of educated designers out there wish they can write as good as you.

Jul 20, 2010

The New Black says:

Your points about it being a journey are spot on. You mention Jason Santa Maria, i saw a video of a presentation he did where he showed some of his early work, lets just say its not great, but look at the amazing designer he has become. That gives us all hope :)

Jul 20, 2010

wings says:

thanks for this…feels nice to know im not alone

Jul 20, 2010

Markus Vad Flaaten says:

Wow, these comments are so long.

Thanks for a great article! :)

Jul 20, 2010

sam stephenson says:

I for one am grateful that you did a degree in English if out means you can churn out an article as fantastic as that!

I agree with you that in the design community we need more quality content rather than list after list of the same things.

Thanks again for this article, as an aspiring designer aged just 15 I suffer this feeling all the time and this article has helped me put it into perspective

Jul 20, 2010

Gabriel Velez says:

Awesome post!

What you write about here is something that I go through all the time. At first I used to chalk it up to a lack of confidence. Now, as my journey has progressed, I realize that this is part of the creative drive within all designers. 

No matter how skilled or how popular you may get in your field, there will always be some artist out there that’s work will blow your socks off and force you to question your talent. We are all competitive creatures, and in a field that is constantly scrutinized (by clients, friends, designers, etc.), what we should do is take these moments to humble ourselves and spend time to better ourselves at our craft.

What I enjoy about your post is the honesty that it brings forth that a lot of designers think about, but would usually not admit. Bravo! Now you got me thinking! 

Jul 20, 2010

Christian Ariola says:

A Very Inspiring Article for noobs like me in the community. This will be a good read everytime I feel frustrated and down. kudos matt, kudos! ^_^

Jul 20, 2010

Elisabeth Irgens says:

Designers spend so much time looking at the very best design there is out there, while the real world is filled up with lousy websites and crappy logos. I remind myself to sometimes compare my own work to the latter aswell.

Jul 20, 2010

jean says:

Thanks for sharing! I am sure there cannot be a designer who never thinks this. Otherwise how can anyone — even the greats — keep growing?

I’d like to comment on your point about not coming from a formal design background. It’s much more than “something to fall back on.” I think that for many of us like you, it’s actually something *extra* we bring to our design in some form or other. Maybe is an aesthetic that influences us or a body of work from which we draw inspiration. It may not be obvious, but perhaps on some level your English lit background helps make you special. So you didn’t study grids. Instead you were reading things that spoke to your artistic soul.

In my case, my degrees were in Japanese language, literature and culture. No, my design does not look overtly Asian (unless asked for that) but it’s no coincidence that I came to the field of design already fascinated by typography and concepts of space — the same aesthetics that drew me to my earlier studies.

When I worry about “good enough?” I consider all the many, many things I need to learn and improve on, but also remind myself what I can offer that few others can.

Jul 20, 2010

Scotty says:

Brilliant article!

I have a BSc in Computer Science and Business. I always figured that sort of degree would open the most doors IF i ever wanted to change profession. However, I sometimes regret not getting formal a design education as there is just so much to learn to understand the true arts of typography etc.

I guess it’s all part of the fun striving for perfection. Looking back 6 months at the work that was produced then can be very scary indeed! However, that’s when you realise just how far you have come in those 6 months, and just how far you could be in another 6 months from now if you keep working hard.

Jul 20, 2010

Steve says:

Hi, I want to be honest which isn’t really positive in this case, but then I think the whole article is pretty negative but has a sense of getting dragged into perspective. Your narrative seems to be that the internet is really big, and this brings you into contact with a LOT of designers who are a lot better than you (and a few who aren’t) and this depresses you. The short version of this is you want to be best, the greatest and whilst this is the bullshit that our culture feeds us, you are not and will never be, and that is ok. Your ego needs a slapdown. This isn’t me being discouraging but saying that why does the fact that you are not the worst and your are not the best have anything to do with your design career? If you are enjoying and getting satisfaction from the journey so far and more importantly are getting paid then all is well. The ride is endless, just enjoy. :)

Jul 20, 2010

Suej says:

Great article – really inspiring! Thanks for writing this – look forward to following you on Twitter:-)

Jul 20, 2010

Zoe Gillenwater says:

I completely and totally relate. One of my problems is that I have this weird idea that my sites don’t look like “real” sites. It’s like working on a site, being involved in every single detail of it, and knowing the pieces that I never got how I wanted them makes the site seem like not a finished or professional piece. I had this same problem when I made art. It never looked like “real” art to me. It’s hard to explain.

I bet if I could be given amnesia and presented with my own designs, without knowing I made them, I would like them a hell of a lot more.

Jul 21, 2010

Abhilash says:

Hey Matt, first a great article.
It was kinda -ive to read though.
From my experience, when i came into this profession, due to the lack of experience, i was a regular target of my boss. As the time went, i did more and more projects which helped me to reach where i am now. Now, i happen to be their favorite.

Still a long way to go though :)

Jul 25, 2010

RHonda Hurwitz says:

I loved your post…and I am not even in the field of design. Your post applies to anyone in any business.

restores my confidence that even if I am not as good as those at the top of my field, I am working at it and becoming better and that is what counts.

Jul 29, 2010

Ayush Kumar says:

Matt, I completely agree with you. I do get a bit jealous sometimes when peers come out with work better than mine. And like you, even I got into the the wrong career and realized it later. But I would’nt let this thing come in the way of a successful career in design related things.

An excellent article!

Aug 13, 2010

Danny says:

Great article, bud. I echo your sentiments. Onward and upward!

Aug 19, 2010

paul says:

I don’t aim to be the next Jason Santa Maria, I aim to solve my clients problems. If I manage to do that consistently, that’s good enough for me.

Feb 24, 2011

Xstefan says:

Really nice article.
Im a software developer and am trying to step into the (web)design business additional to the coding stuff.

Im getting better every day as you mentioned. so I’m on my journey. ;)

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