As designers, we live, breath, and feed off applause and accolades for our creative work. Awards and recognition from our esteemed colleagues name a few. We are motivated and inspired by this to push the boundaries toward newer and better design.
That’s OK. Or is it?
I raise the question, is this the right way to our approach our design projects? Sure, a Graphic Designer would love to be known for having creating the Nike swoosh. The Fashion Designer wants to become a household name. Every Interior Designer would love to have their own furniture line.
And there is nothing wrong with this expect perhaps how we go about achieving it.
Accept applause, yes, please do.
But when you expect applause, when you do your work in order (and because of) applause, you have sold yourself short.
My experience has taught me in all fields of design, “Be True to Yourself”, to your own individual style and aesthetic. Who decides if your work is good? You do when you are at your best.
As designers, we walk a fine line between expressing our own style and keeping in line with what our clients want. If the work doesn't deliver on its purpose, if the pot you made leaks or the hammer your forged breaks, then you should learn to make a better one. If our interior design has not satisfied our clients’ goal of their ideal form and function, then we were only designing in search of applause and recognition from our market leaders. And that my friends is not doing our best work. Can we blame the nail for breaking the hammer or the water for leaking from the pot? They are part of the system just as the market embracing your product is part of marketing.
Cherry Blossom Hand Painted and Embroidered Wallpaper – by Fromental
If it's finished, the applause, the thanks, the gratitude are something else.
Something extra and not part of what you created. To play a beautiful song for two people or for a thousand is the same song, and the amount of thanks you receive isn't part of that song.
So it goes too for design. Do your best work to fulfill your contracted goal and you may just be surprised to find a rolling snowball effect of payback that exceeds your wildest expectations.