A few weeks back I wrote about where ideas come from. Since then I've thought a lot about what happens after you've come up with THE IDEA.
We want design to be easy. And we already have THE IDEA! It should be smooth sailing, right?
When I taught, this was the point in the design process where students frequently got hung up. I remember walking into the classroom expecting near-finished work, only to be presented with a fresh batch of rough sketches—again. Of course, going back to the drawing board is an option. But think about it, isn't sketching just going to bring you back to the same point? Ultimately projects have to be executed. A lot of hard work needs to take place to launch that idea off into the world. To be successful you have to be able to put in the work and see your projects through to completion.
I really believe that being a good designer is often less about design and more about developing a tolerance for doggedly pursuing a solution. Whether that solution involves print techniques you are unfamiliar with, convincing a tentative client that the idea has merit, endlessly tweaking relationships of brand elements, or redrawing a curve for the one hundredth time. It can be challenging, exasperating and difficult to get the idea from your head and heart onto the screen AND have it meet your expectations.
Perseverance is a skill I developed in design school. (Did you see that recent article about undergraduate work loads?) Creatives know how to work hard. Sometimes we just need to remember to:
- Focus our work
- Trust our abilities
- Learn new skills if we need to
- Be confident that the solution will come.
- Remain flexible and open
Since school I've learned that EVERYTHING takes longer than I expect it to. The work after the "Aha!" moment is no exception.
Like coming up with ideas, bringing those ideas to the marketplace is a process. It takes concerted effort and time. So, if you get frustrated, cut yourself some slack. Knock off a couple of easy tasks (my favorite is billing) and come back at your work with a small feeling of accomplishment.