To help minimize the stress and maximize the fun!
Although design can be a fun job with plenty of artistic freedom and rewarding interactions with clients, like all jobs, it comes with its headaches. In the digital age, almost all designing is done with computers — which makes the job easier, faster, and more efficient most of the time — but if you’re not a complete tech expert, you can run into some problems that may make you want to scream and pull your hair out. We know what that’s like, so to help you keep your hair firmly in your head, we’re going to go over some common challenges you may face — and how to overcome them with minimal frustration.
1. File Loss
Did you perhaps forget to backup your most recent project? And did you forget to backup that backup? When you’re in the groove, it can be difficult to remember file security, then one wrong click, or one malfunction and poof — your file has suddenly disappeared into the ether! A complete disaster, right?
Let’s face it — with the touch-and-go nature of technology, you’re going to need a storage solution that has built-in file recovery. File loss can happen in the blink of an eye, but file recovery can be just as fast with the right platform. With Dropbox, you’ll never have to waste time wrestling with technology, and you can spend more time on the part of your job that you actually enjoy — the design!
2. Delivering Large Files
As you work on your project, your file size will likely balloon until it’s too large to send in an email, or share in any other convenient way. You might try any manner of roundabout, techy ways of sending your project to your client, and likely all of them will leave you frustrated and stressed. Since this is such a frequent issue, it would be worth investing in a service with file-sharing built in. Not only will this save you a lot of hair-pulling, it may also save your relationship with your client.
3. Managing Client Expectations
Working with a client may not always be rainbows and unicorns — their imaginations can often run away with them, and they may begin to make demands that are out of the realm of possibility. The first step in managing these unrealistic expectations is to prevent them from being created in the first place. Although it may be tempting to exaggerate in your pitch, doing so may land you in a pinch later. You can be optimistic without giving your client the wrong idea — just stick to what you know you can do, then surprise them later!
When the project begins moving forward, make sure to keep your client constantly updated and be transparent about your work. A regularly-scheduled report is the best way to achieve this, and make sure that it will be comprehensible and interesting to your client. Although it is important to listen to what the client wants throughout this process, if they begin to make unrealistic demands, don’t be afraid to say no, or make it clear that such demands come along with a price tag. Above all, the design process requires collaboration, not simply the following of orders.
4. Dealing With Negative Feedback
We as humans are not always the best at taking criticism, especially on hard work that has taken a lot of our precious time and effort. However, it is important to realize that negative feedback is not necessarily a personal attack, although it may feel like one. If you take criticism too personally, it can stop you from doing good work and make you doubt yourself, instead of helping you become a better designer. Instead of berating yourself, ask yourself what you’ve learned from the situation. Frame it as a positive rather than a negative. It’s a difficult habit to teach yourself, but it’s possible, and necessary for growth.
5. Standing Out From The Crowd
With so many quirky and talented designers out there, it can sometimes seem nearly impossible to make yourself stand out, but there are several really effective approaches you can take to marketing yourself. You want to be unique, right? So make yourself unique! Make sure you have your own style, and center all of your marketing — whether that be your portfolio, your website, or your social media — around that particular style.
Different styles will appeal to different people, of course, so make sure that you know who your target audience is and consider them in everything you do. That way the playing field will be narrowed a bit, and it will be easier to stand out among your competitors.
Network, network, network — always be networking, whether online or in person. Put yourself in the back of people’s minds, and showcase your work wherever you can. Not only are your usual social media platforms useful in this regard, you could even start your own blog, with insights about your projects, the industry, or even your life in general — whatever gets your name out there.
6. Coping With Creative Blocks
When being creative is your entire job, having a block can not only be frustrating, it can put your income at risk. While there’s no avoiding them, there are several ways that you can push through, and hopefully break out of it.
You have to do something — it doesn’t have to be good, or even mediocre, just put pen to paper (literally or figuratively) and fill up that blank canvas with a whole lot of something. Most creative blocks come from being tense and placing pressure on yourself to do well, so just loosen up for a while. Who knows, maybe your something will actually be good after all.
It’s all in your head. Truly. And you know what’s great about that? Only you can change the way you think. Don’t think of it as running out of ideas — your brain is just pushing you to create better ones. Or, just don’t think about it for a while. Go off and do your laundry, wash the dishes, go grocery shopping, and just think about anything else, then come back with a clear and optimistic mind to the task at hand.
Don’t limit yourself to that one perfect “ah-ha!” moment, either. Chances are that moment will never come. Instead, come up with many ideas — naturally, not all of them will be good — and choose the one that you like the most. If your mind wants to create trash for a while, let it create trash, then you can go dumpster-diving to find the treasure later.
So that’s our advice for all you frustrated designers out there. What do you think? If you have any advice of your own, feel free to tell us below.
Sarah Stager is a cat lover, tea drinker, and turtleneck enthusiast currently studying at the University of Pittsburgh.
This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own. Dropbox is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.