We are living in a truly wonderful time and maybe I'm an optimist but I really do believe this wholeheartedly. Do you ever wish you picked up that awesome dream client? Like Nike, Adidas, Nintendo or that sexy new startup company. I used to all the time. Because I really believed that I'd create something great with those brands because I grew up loving them.
And when we won the Nintendo account for 2 years it was a dream come true. Like being able to play games at HQ before they were released, getting the 3DS before anyone else and just talking to the lovely guys at Nintendo. But above all being able to create great work for a brand I loved. And for many projects we did, but know this. When you work with big brands there are always a ton of restrictions and I mean a ton. Legal, branding, marketing etc. There is a lot of red tape. And restrictions are usually good because you have to work within those constraints and still come up with something amazing so you have to get real creative. For example. My design team had to learn about the brand guidelines of character art. Pickachu cannot be bigger than Mario and Mario always has to be in proportion to Luigi. Also you cannot overlap or crop character art. And we were ok with that. But that was just 1 little detail amongst 100 other things. However when the restrictions became so immobilising, that it took great concepts that were beautiful and could've hit all these user and business objectives at the same time. To see that get crushed by red tape and to see it get watered down to only 50% of its true potential it was disheartening at times. And this was the reality of big business.
So why the long winded story you might ask? Well we are super lucky because we are designers which means we are creators. Our dream to do cool shit and great work that makes an impact doesn't need to rely on a certain someone telling us, you have permission. A great musician doesn’t need a record label anymore to give them permission to create music for a wide audience. Soundcloud allows them to do this. A budding filmmaker doesn't need a movie studio to release their movie to a wider audience. YouTube and Vimeo allows them to do this. And as designers we don't need a big brand to create great work, because WE can do that ourselves. Like fuck we're creators, create something amazing, see how far we can take it and put it onto the web. Because of the Internet we have the ability to do that. Want to work on some cool stuff for Nike just for fun. Then do it, come up with a brief for yourself, get the assets on Google and do it yourself. You don't have to show anyone though, just get that fix out of you and learn from it but know that unsolicited designs can only take you so far. Try to create something real that can benefit others. I really like what Tobias van Schneider is doing with Semplice. What Ryan Hoover is doing with Product Hunt. What Sean McCabe is doing with SeanWes. And what Jeff Sheldon is doing at Ugmonk.
So I realized hey I don't need permission from a big brand to realize an idea. I can just do it. And that's what I'm trying to do right now. And there's nothing stopping you from doing the same, whether you just have 1 hour or 10 hours of free time. You can start doing something great now without a big client. If you are a freelancer, back yourself and start something self initiated. If you work for an agency can you create an idea that contributes to your agency and the people you work with? It doesn't have to be a huge thing either. Just something fun, useful and something you can be proud of. Get off your chair now and go grab something to drink come back to your seat chuck on your headphones, blast some heavy tunes to get you pumped OR the rocky soundtrack whichever floats your boat and create something amazing. Because at the end of the day we don't need permission from someone to tell us it's ok to do it, the Internet has given us that permission.