One of the best projects you can take is one that you feel like you cannot complete. That overwhelming, complicated and aesthetically hard to please design. But these projects are only for the brave of heart. Although in the end, can be the most rewarding.
Being challenged in your everyday design life should be taken as gold. Because as you become challenged and pushed to your limits your talent expands and you become more valuable. I believe that as long as someone has a vision for a product, design or idea that they can make it happen.
Designers should never look at a challenge as a setback, but as an opportunity to grow. If you clearly believe that a project is too far out of your expertise be honest with yourself. If you believe it is something you can learn during the process in a specific amount of time, then shoot for it. But with everything, weigh it and find if it is truly worth it for you.
Try not to overwhelm yourself with a challenge. Many times I have gotten so overwhelmed and worked up about a project that I couldn’t focus on anything. Frustration can be such a weapon against us. But going for a walk, clearing the mind, or talking to another designer about your frustrations can really help.
Taking breaks is important too. Give your mind time to rest and process information. Sometimes when you keep working on a design and move things around, everything starts to look the same. Do your best, stand back, and look at your work. Think to yourself on how it can be improved, and if not, then its time for a break. Or maybe you’ve come to a stopping point.
Being under challenged can just be as dangerous if not worse than getting frustrated with a current design challenge. When a designer becomes under challenged, they seem to lose interest in their work, don’t feel used, appreciated, or seen. They know they have talent yet their project isn’t pulling that out. Creative people can feel those creative streams flowing out of them. It’s like water flowing from a steam. But when the challenge becomes stale the water starts to trickle and designers start to feel uninterested in their projects. It’s a dangerous predicament and harder to get out of than being over challenged.
If you’re caught in a drought with design, take breaks, take it by stride and just finish it and move on. It may not be your best work, but put all that you can into it. There will be many projects that you may not want to put in your portfolio. Or even recall again. With every project, hides a lesson and a new learning process.
To avoid becoming stale in your design projects, choose ones that challenge you, are interesting and can see yourself growing. If it’s something you’ve done before, or over and over again, move away from it. If you have too, use those redundant projects as quick ones that don’t take up a lot of your time and you can move away from quickly.
Never shy away from a challenge but stand boldly at the gate. Requesting and wanting a challenge in your everyday work is one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your career. People don’t become great by sitting back and watching people pass them by. They become great by taking challenges that shape them into greatness.