Creating a thicker skin — During this transition to freelance, one of my tasks have been to learn as much through reading other’s experience as I will learn through my own. One of the recurring themes in all that I’ve read is that freelancing is tough – in any field, and in order to survive, a thick skin is an absolute must. As a freelance designer you need to be able to handle rejection (lots of it), tough clients (everyone’s a critic), and especially your own judgement (no one is a tougher critic than yourself).
Case in point: my most recent logo design for a religious institution. After researching, thinking, conceptualizing, thinking, sketching, evaluating and thinking, computer design, and more thinking, I myself wasn’t too sure of the designs I had come up with. Actually after looking at them for so long, I began to hate them. At first, I was thrilled with my first design. I felt it fit the client’s profile, it definitely conveyed it’s message, was easily recognizable, and fit most if not all of the current ideas of what a good logo design should be (JUSTCreative has a great article on good logo design) . But I thought to myself: “Self? There’s no way you could have nailed it in your first design. You need to do more.” And so I did… And lost all confidence in myself and my abilities.
This has been a lifelong struggle, you know. By nature I am a pessimistic self-doubter. It takes all my might to be just a little bit the opposite. Some days are better than others. So, with this client, as time was on my side, I decided to just let my ideas and designs sit for a while – about a week. When I went back to it, the first design was still calling to me. I even asked my husband’s opinion (and so far, everything I do looks good to him so I’m not exactly sure I can trust is opinion). He suggested (rather smartly) that I just show them what I have. His reasoning: They didn’t really give me any direction so there’s nothing to say that they won’t love what I’ve come up with on my own AND they didn’t really have a logo to begin with so just do it.
I took his advice and guess what? They loved it! They wanted to experiment with the tag line a bit but the design, they said, was solid. Can you say “ego boost”? And then say “slap in the head”. You can check it out in my portfolio. All this time I was giving myself an ulcer because I was doubtful of my design skills and I didn’t listen to myself when I initially thought my design was a good one. I let myself be my own enemy.
So, today’s lesson? Create a thick skin and that initial design has start from within. How thick is your skin?