PUBLISHED JUL 09, 2023
Imagine an illusionist pulling a rabbit from a seemingly empty hat. For the first time, it appears to be magic, right? But then we learn that this 'magic' is nothing more than a blend of hard work, experience, and a dash of talent. Once you comprehend how it's done, what seemed extraordinary and unreachable suddenly becomes enticingly possible. So, also professional success doesn't just magically appear, and successful designers aren't illusionists. I spent hours studying how they pulled off their “design tricks” to achieve their level of awesomeness.
I'm eager to share some crucial steps from these learnings that have boosted my design journey, propelling me faster in my career.
Cracking Open the Magic. My design journey started with exploring art in college by emulating the styles of famous illustrators. It felt like being a mechanic who pulls apart a complex gadget, trying to figure out how it works. I dabbled with various tools, techniques, and materials until I grasped how they achieved such magnificent results. That was my great revelation - even the most spellbinding magic can be decoded. All you need to do is break each admired work into smaller pieces and attempt to recreate it in your own style.
Discovering Unseen Mentors. Before my university days, my design knowledge was as unmarked as a fresh canvas. That’s why in the beginning, the vibrant design world felt like an infinite fantasy. Bit by bit, year after year, the extraordinary became ordinary, and the impossible became doable. Every exciting and relevant designer I encountered was a hero to me. I seized every opportunity to scrutinize their professional ways. They taught and helped me a lot unknowingly. Mentors I had never met, yet their inspiration reached me from afar. Learning from them may cost you nothing now and will yield significant benefits in the future.
Uncovering Local Heroes. During this time, I developed a valuable habit of seeking out designers and following their journey until it compelled me to grow. After college, with my first job, I started immersing myself in the local design community. Due to this, I discovered several successful designers in my vicinity. I studied their professional paths, read their articles, and attended their talks. I meticulously examined their work. All these steps gave me confidence and an understanding of what it meant to be a successful designer. Decoding their success illuminated essential steps for me to emulate. Don’t hesitate to try it because you will do it your way in any case.
Remember the roots. Visualizing that you can achieve the same success is tremendously inspiring. It's fascinating how the closer you get to your heroes, the more your horizons expand. And you feel again the extraordinary became ordinary, and the impossible became doable. I still remember them and check how they are doing from time to time, and it always warms my heart to see that they continue to create, innovate, and inspire others.
If you have heroes from the past, visit them too!