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A Designer’s Inspiration: Envy is a Great Motivator

Posted on Categories DesignTags

Designer’s envy. We’ve all had it. Even non-designers get it. It’s that feeling you get when you see something so brilliant or so simple that it is just plain genius that you wish you had thought of it. Or maybe it’s just a beautiful design that is completely out of your comfort zone, and you’re so jealous that you can’t do that.

As a designer, seeing another designer’s excellent work is both good and bad – but either way, it’s motivating.

On the one hand, sometimes being confronted with amazing design can be frustrating because it feels so out of my league. When I start to think I can never live up to that standard or create something of that quality, it can feel discouraging. This is especially hard when it’s the work of a mentor that you’re comparing yourself against. I frequently have that feeling of kicking myself when thumbing through Behance or UnderConsideration – For Print Only.

AIGA even has a curated blog – Design Envy, from designers, for designers, that taps into our emotional core to seek what others are doing, and well, be downright envious.

But, rather than letting it bring me down, I’ve decided to use it as fuel to make me stronger and more versatile. Seeing another designer interpret something in a way that I would have never thought of forces me to try to think about things differently. It helps me make connections I wouldn’t have made otherwise. Seeing how they told a story visually makes me want to try new design approaches that are out of my comfort zone, like digital illustration or gritty, layered design.

When I take the time to pore over great design and learn from it, it’s motivating and inspiring because I know there are things I can immediately use to improve my own work. It’s important to remember that every designer goes through that thought process too. No designer is immune to the thought that someone else’s work is leagues beyond their own. But great designers don’t get discouraged; they get motivated.

By constantly improving my skills, testing my creativity and honing my craft, I work toward reaching the level of those designers I envy – and beyond!

Avatar photoAshley is a Design Director creating unique visual solutions for identities, print collateral, and with a special emphasis on websites. Ashley has applied her talents to projects for companies like Sysco Corporation, Quanex Building Products, HTS and Albemarle. Ashley received her BA in Mass Communication Advertising Sequence from Texas State University and is an active member of AIGA Houston.


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