Hey, there! Don’t worry – this is not yet another one of those how-to-be-a-designer recipes – every designer’s process is different and that’s why this industry is so rich. This is simply a collection of ideas – or guidelines, if you will – that I always try to follow when I’m working because they help me be a better designer. I hope you can feel that this could be your manifesto as well.
If this sounds like a basic human rule – that’s because it is. But, sometimes, we can forget about that when working with others. Clients don’t need to know the importance of typography – that’s why they need you; a fellow designer might not be as good as you are in some areas and that’s ok – that’s why you are working together. Bringing empathy to the table is your ticket to success.
Being confident in the choices you make is essential to be perceived as an expert in your area (as opposed to actually saying that you are an expert). Present your ideas with the right arguments: everything you do was done with purpose and nothing was left to chance; so share your vision and defend it (just don’t forget to be kind about it).
Even when you have it all figured out, you’ll need to keep in mind that a designer’s main purpose is to solve a problem. Listen to what your clients and users have to say; try to understand their vision and then expose your own ideas on how things could be better. Just remember that they still have the final decision and things don’t always end up as great as you could have made them – that will only go as far as their own ability to listen.
Everything that matters takes time, whether it’s designing a good project, improving a skill, getting recognition or creating a good professional relationship. You need to be patient and play your part: learn with curiosity, work with dedication and share your work. Rewards take long but they always show up – sometimes in the most unexpected ways.
You can have talent as an individual, sure, but you’ll never truly be outstanding if you keep working as a lone wolf. Connecting with other designers (with people from any field of work, really) helps us shift our perspective and enhances our critical eye. Don’t be afraid to share what you think and what you know – nobody’s going to “steal your creativity”. Different visions can work out amazing solutions.
We all make mistakes – and since design involves a lot of creation and decision-making, it’s even more prone to that – and that’s ok. Take on your choices and accept their consequences; if they're positive, great, if not, you'll simply have the opportunity to learn from it and improve. Either way, the goal is to be happy with what you do, even if your results aren’t achieved in your first try (which, for the most part, they aren’t!).
Showing gratitude and appreciation is extremely important in any professional relationship – nobody is alone in success and everyone, from designers to clients, plays an important role and loves to know their work has quality. A simple comment might give someone just the right motivation to keep going, to try new things and maybe even risk doing something bigger. Let them know.
As mentioned, collaboration is one of my favourite things in this industry and this manifesto is not just mine – so if you have any other ideas to add to this manifesto, share your artwork on Instagram using the hashtag #adesignersmanifesto.