You are a designer, you want to design the next big thing or the project with the highest budget. After all, these high profile projects are gonna make your name known in the industry. Right?
Well, sure it has some truth in it. However, you really don't need big or high profile projects or clients to be recognized. Especially if you are a young designer without any strong portfolio.
I want to share a bit of a personal story with you today about how I have started my career without any online presence, experience or education.
When I first started about 20 years ago, I didn't care about the scope or budget or client name. I took everything that came on my path. For a while I used to design bakery websites 🍰😁 . They weren't interesting projects and had a very low budget. You know the type of 3-page corporate websites:
- About us + Our mission
That's it :D Just to have an online presence.
Every single designer around me either didn't take these kinds of small projects or designed something simple in a few hours to collect the paycheck and move on to the next thing.
I took a different approach;
I put everything I had and more into these simple websites. I thought myself 3ds Max to design 3D objects for the homepage and Flash to animate them. I spent long hours polishing every detail and coding them with validated HTML5+CSS (yes, it was a thing at the time! 😅)
Treat every design project as an opportunity to improve and show your craft, creativity, attention to detail, not as a paycheck. Especially if you are a young designer.
Yes, what I provided was way over the budget! But then, after 2-3 small websites like this, interesting things started to happen. These simple websites started to get some attention from inspiration websites and through that, design agencies took an interest.
Then, these design agencies have started reaching out for more interesting and higher profile projects, then bigger agencies with even higher profile clients, then well-known brands for their next products... You see where I'm going with this 😁
Young designers, don't undervalue the small design projects you may be getting at the point in your creative journey. Put your heart in it. Learn new skills and improve your craft with every new small project.
I promise you, it will lead to much bigger things.
In my experience with high profile clients, they didn't really care much about my education or seeing big names in my portfolio. What they have always cared about is the craft, attention to detail, approach to the design, personal qualities, reliability, the list goes on and you can prove your value on all these matters with small projects as well. So focus on giving your very best with every project.
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