So when do you consider you are a successful designer –
book When you are making good money?
When you enjoy what you do?
When you win awards?
When you go freelance?
When you own your own company?

This is a subject posed by Lauren at www.laurenmarie.net who said
I struggle a lot with seeing other designers who have been around for 5 or 10 or 35 years and thinking “Gosh, I wish I my designs were that good.” It’s hard to keep in mind that they have been at this for so many years and I am brand new. I want to be that good now!

I have been working as a designer for about 15 years now, these are my answers to Lauren’s questions

1. How did you get started in the business?
I went the traditional route in the UK, general art and design course (foundation) followed by an HND in Graphic Design. I can remember being totally elated when I got my first job after sending off about 100 letters and CVs. My first job was a graphic design one year internship in the marketing department at the college producing marketing materials.

2. What kept you going in those early years?
I had always wanted to do something related in some way to art – at five years old I wanted to be a famous artist. I sold a few watercolours at 14 years old but the famous artist thing didn’t quite work out πŸ™‚ .

I have always moved jobs a lot, I am not necessarily saying this is a good thing but after a couple of years, once I had learned all I could at a company, I would move somewhere new. This meant I was constantly learning new things and working on different projects.

3a. Did you ever feel like you weren’t good enough or you would never make it in this industry?
One of my worst moments, when I thought I should perhaps give up was while I was still at college. One of my tutors suggested I go and see a design company in Leicester to show them my portfolio. They completely ripped me to pieces saying I would be unlikely to get a job in the industry.

3b. How did you work through that?
It was something I wanted to do, I couldn’t think of anything else I would have preferred. I knew it was all worthwhile when a few years later I went to an interview for a design job at another company. The company interviewed me and said they were interested in me coming back for a second interview with one of the other directors. I asked to see their portfolio of work and realised my work was better than theirs, so turned down the second interview.

4. Do you look at others today and think “Wow, I wish I were that good”?
That’s easy – yes.

I used to work at a company where I sat next to a designer, who to be honest was the best designer I have ever seen. He could make the most beautiful layouts you have ever seen and it was effortless. I would sit there for twice as long and it still wouldn’t be as good. He was wasted at the agency we worked in, he should have been working in a big city agency. Seeing loads of fantastic online designer’s portfolios makes me green with envy too.

Whereas new designers worry about their lack of experience I am always aware that I need to stay in touch with what is happening in the industry. I need to try and learn some of the new technologies and become more au fait with web development.

5. How do you measure success?
If you are happy doing what you do, to me you are successful.

6. By your standard, do you think you are successful?
In the sense that I have always wanted to be a freelance designer and work from home, yes.

In the sense that ultimately I would have liked to have made my fortune by now with a big idea and have loads of free time, no πŸ™‚

I would love to hear other designers’ answers to Lauren’s six questions and so would like to start a meme – “When do you Consider you are a Successful Designer?”. To take part just answer the 6 questions as listed above. Please give Lauren at www.laurenmarie.net a mention. Anyone who would like to take part is welcome to, but to start things off we would like to tag:

Vivien at www.inspirationbit.com
Johno at www.redsil.com
David at www.davidairey.com
Char at www.essentialkeystrokes.com/
Charity at www.designadaptations.com
Paul at www.paulenderson.com
Steve at www.cymru66.com/
Ahsan at www.ars.barelyaverage.com

I hope some of you have time, no problem if you don’t I know you are all busy people πŸ™‚

Thank you to everyone who is taking part, these are links to some of the posts:

David Airey’s post
Paul Enderson’s post
Char’s post
Vivien’s post
Randa’s post
Marc’s post
Aaron’s post
Charity’s post