I have a simple method for breaking down a design project. And it starts with answering these key questions.
As I sat down at my desk today pondering what to write. I came to the realisation that hey I’ve been doing this for a while. 13 years of my professional design career has kind of flown by.
That laptop beach lifestyle, exotic locations, work from anywhere in the world and have more autonomy and freedom in your life.That’s the lifestyle that’s painted & depicted, if you run your own lifestyle business, am a freelancer or remote worker. Whilst this image can be true, it is only a tiny tiny snapshot in time and the reality is not as pretty as Instagram makes it out to be. A lot the times you are just in your pjs working behind your desk, eating toast as crumbs fall off your plate and onto your keyboard - as you scream “fuck!” with toast in your mouth so more crumbs fall out as you watch YouTube. All the while you wonder whether or not you should wear proper pants for the day. And you decide ‘yes’ you should wear proper pants for the day.
3 years ago I had an idea to share all the valuable lessons I’d learnt across my career. To build a business model that didn’t revolve around helping just big clients with money but to build my own product that could help and reach many people. My kind of people. A problem that was close to my heart and that is how to forge a great career in the digital design industry. Helping and mentoring other designers with whatever knowledge I’ve acquired over the last 10-12 years. It seemed like something worth doing, thanks to the people who have helped me along the way.
Over the last 12 years I’ve seen so many changes in the design industry, my career and what I do as a designer. I guess at the heart of all it I still just make things for a living. And as designers we create things - we look at disparate pieces of data, connect the dots & make “something” within those constraints to solve a particular problem. And at our core we are creators and makers
Your standards dictate your outcome and results. That sandbox that you’re playing in and that mental ceiling that you’ve created for yourself will create the results you’ll keep getting.
After 12+ years of designing and creating things professionally for businesses of various sizes. From startups to billion dollar companies. Things are beginning to go full circle. Before I even landed my first design job in late 2006, I was always inspired by art, design, film and creativity and would be noodling and making things in paintshop pro, photoshop 6.0, powerpoint and flash. And before that I was drawing and making my own books. From primary school through to high school.
I never intended to become an indie designer, maker and full time freelancer. I quit my job as a Creative Director over 4 years ago. 2014 was meant to be a transitional year for me.
I’m extremely excited to be back in the office, back to designing and writing new articles on Verse this year. I can’t believe we’re in 2019 already. 2019 still sounds like the future to me, and yet here it is. It has become our present moment. Trippy, I know...
I’ve been reading Ray Dalio’s book Principles over the last few days. It talks about Ray’s principles and experiences of building Bridgewater Associates into one of the most successful hedge funds in history. It dissects his life and work principles which is a fascinating read. Rays humility and open mindedness is what makes him interesting. For overachievers I highly recommend picking up his book to get into the deep psyche of someone as extraordinary as Ray and to learn from his wisdom and principles. Both in investing and in life.
It’s simple do the most important tasks first, but more specifically do the thing that will give us the most amount of impact. It’s about the output of high value activities vs. time. And then try to do that everyday and track it.
11 years ago I was sitting on a tram on my way to work and contemplated whether I was good enough to be a designer. Bright eyed but a complete rookie and unfamiliar with the demands of a studio working environment. The stress was too much, the obstacles too high, I wasn’t doing well on the job and I really struggled to find my footing. If only I was good enough I thought to myself, if only things were easier and I could just go on autopilot. How much better would that be if that was the case? I really felt I wasn’t good enough that day and that maybe I should quit and not step foot off that tram. It seemed to be the easier route.
I try to share as much as I can with you on strategies, experiences and things that have helped me along the way. Both in my life and my career. It’s a way to chronicle my own journey and thoughts and as a way to help you on your own journey. Something you can read weekly to improve and bring value to your life and career.
Do you ever lay in bed and dream up ideas of fun projects you’d love to work on? Or you’re at work and you like your job but the projects aren’t exactly 100% what you’d love to be making or designing but you tread along as if sleepwalking at times
Nothing special. No incredible lifehack or productivity booster. Just plain old consistent work that eventually snowballs into some incredible results.We are an instant gratification generation. We want things now. We want things to happen fast. But sometimes we need to be patiently impatient to be able reach our highest goals and ambitions.
Lessons I've learnt so far
What's holding you back?
Answering your questions
How side projects made me a better designer
Mentors I’ve had throughout my career have been instrumental to my growth as a designer. They helped guide the way and gave me that little push that I needed to realise more of my potential. The moments where I was lost and didn’t know if I was good enough to be a designer, or how to improve my work, or whether or not I could quit my job and run my own business. I looked at my mentors who paved the way for so many of these big decisions and actions that I took. Both through their own actions and their advice.