On a weekly basis Ofazomi receives an illegible text, desperate email, drunken late night voicemail or, horrifyingly, personal visit from a disturbed young designer in a classroom where they are enrolled for university credit. This is never a pretty encounter regardless of the context. Although it’s a pleasure to shred you people personally in critique week after week, your self esteem sometimes takes a hit. (Sorry. I’m happy to walk you down to the Wellness Center, as I am in no way qualified to help anyone, let alone myself.) Short of psychiatric intervention, let me serve up some truth:
1. You are (mostly) talented.
2. Your work (mostly) sucks.
3. That one girl is indeed exponentially better than you are at this design stuff.
4. You should stick with it.
The best student designers, like that one girl, use to their advantage all educational opportunities. For example:
They may attend a public college but they will train themselves with tutorials they find in magazines and online. (Alternately, they may attend an art school but will read about “gen-ed” topics outside their field like history or nature.) They sit in on an art class at the local community center. They ask the retired mechanic painting in the park how he makes his greens look so vibrant. They attend public events at other schools. They enter student design contests. They attend conferences or watch via web feed. They create digital networks of professional peers by contacting people whose work they saw and liked in a design periodicals. What are the best student designers doing? They are working hard.
You’ve got the chops. Part of making work that soars is making ten fold times work that sucks. You just have to get down to business and crank out a bunch of stuff. For the next ten years. That’s the secret. Don’t chuck it all for a career in accounting. Talent isn’t intrinsic, it is acquired.