A Guest Post by Jorge Goyco

Have you ever tried to name your rock band? How long did it take you to come up with the names of your kids? Your dog? Your company name? Your domain name?

Did you run it past anyone first?

Maybe it’s just me, but I think designing for yourself is one of the hardest things to do. I can design logos all day for other companies. In fact, I could probably come up with a decent logo for another design company, but when it comes to my own stuff, I’m mostly at a loss.

I’m thinking quite a bit about this lately because I’ve got to design a brochure for a convention I’m attending, and I don’t want to come across as ”expensive” or ”too flashy”, but ”casual” and ”affordable” and “easy” would be good for this group of potential clients.

I’m guessing it’s difficult to design for ourselves because we want to put our best foot forward. Our website or logo must be the coolest thing anyone has seen or else they might not use us. Right?

When I eventually get over myself and produce something for myself, I give it about a month and I’m wanting to change it.

That’s the other thing…finding time to design your own stuff. The moment you get a chance to update your online portfolio, you get a call from some magazine wanting you to design every ad and editorial in the book in a week, and you’re out of time.

The truth is, as of right now, I don’t even have a logo for my company, unless you call ”FuturaExtraBold” a logo.

So, what I’d like to know is: Do you go through the same process as you do with clients when designing something for yourself? You know, thumbnails, a few mock-ups, color changes, tweaks, etc. Are you as hard on yourself as your clients are? Do you have other designers look at your new designs before you launch them? Have you ever been hired by another designer to come up with something for their design company?

Maybe I should take my own advice:

1. Treat yourself like a client
Thumbnail, sketch and mock up several designs before you choose one. We do it for them, why shouldn’t we do it for ourselves.

2. Schedule your work as a project
If you schedule time to work on your own designs, just like you would a paying client, you’ll be more apt to finish it. Shouldn’t it take you only as long as it takes you to produce something for a paying client? MAybe it’s not a priority, but a couple hours a week won’t make you miss any deadlines.

3. Run it past other designers
All our designer friends have free advice and criticism for us. Sometimes you might have to wade through them trying to be polite and not hurt your feelings, but once you get past that, it’s gold. Their eyes are as critical of good design as you are. Take them out to lunch or something. This might even make them reevaluate their own design and update it, and maybe even ask you for advice. What better way can you think of to challenge ourselves to be great.

4. Put it away for a few days
Post it to a “dev” folder, hide it under job folders, whatever, but take your eyes off it for a few days, then when you look at it again, you might see something you missed or might want to change.

Hope this helps.

JorgeJorge Goyco is a designer working out of his home in College Station, Texas. He’s been making clipping paths since Photoshop 2.0.1. He likes to make things that look really cool and write children’s stories. His online portfolio is www.goycodesign.com, and please have a look at his design/webmaster blog.