Creative confidence is defined as the belief in your ability to create change in the world around you – and the impact of this can never be underestimated. As designers there are often times when we lack confidence in our abilities – after all, it takes tremendous courage to put our authentic creative selves out into the world.
The good news is that creative confidence is something we can all develop and grow. In the latest issue of MOYO, we asked Christine Llewellyn from Brooklyn-based print design studio Christine Joy Design, to share her 10 top tips for building confidence as a designer.
1. UNPLUG FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
While social media is an awesome tool for growing your brand and getting your work out there it can also make you feel as though you aren’t good enough. When you see so many other designers achieving great things it’s easy to doubt yourself, wonder if you are doing enough or feel hurt if people aren’t as enthusiastic about your work as they are about another designer’s. Sometimes, in order to stop those niggling voices of self-doubt, it helps to cut off for a few days and remind yourself that every one is on their own creative journey.
2. EMBRACE THE THINGS THAT MAKE YOU UNIQUE
While it is good to know what other designers are doing, never forget what makes you different from other artists. What is it about your work that makes it special? What makes it stand out? How can you use these qualities to grow your audience? Stay true to yourself, your style and your followers, and your confidence will increase.
3. SHARE YOUR WORK
Grab every opportunity to show your work with open arms. Whether that means participating in a local art show, networking and making new contacts or just being more present on social media – you never know where it might lead. A few of my collaborations have come from someone seeing my Instagram posts. The more you talk about and share your work, the more confident you begin to sound. Just make sure you’ve officially copyrighted any final pieces before you share them publicly.
4. KEEP A RUNNING LIST OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
We could all do with being reminded of all the things we’ve accomplished from time to time – especially on days where nothing seems to be going right. Keeping a list of your ‘proud ofs’ is a great way to boost your confidence and will also come in handy when you come to update your resume, or you speak to potential clients, collaborators or companies you’d like to work with.
5. LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
We all have times in life when we feel we have failed. Maybe you pitched to a company and got rejected, or someone criticized your work, but instead of wallowing in self-pity try and see the positive in the situation. Keep a note of what happened, how you felt and what you learnt from the experience. Understanding what went wrong means you’ll be better equipped to deal with similar situations in the future.
6. PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD
In all your communications – online via social media, emails and Skype and in phone conversations and face-to-face meetings – represent yourself in the best possible light. Even if you don’t feel it, try and appear self-assured and confident if you want others to see you that way. It helps to think about your brand here and all the ways that consumers might interact with it. What are your values and what message do you want to send? And does everything you write, say and do fall in line with this?
7. OWN YOUR TITLE
Call yourself a designer – whether you think you are or not. The more you think of yourself as an artist, and say it with confidence and conviction, the more people will see you as one.
8. FIND – OR CREATE – YOUR OWN SUPPORT SYSTEM
If you’re someone who feels isolated or lonely when you work from home or a in a private studio space it helps to connect with other artists. Joining a community of like-minded individuals with whom you can celebrate your successes as well as share your insecurities and challenges will boost your mood and your confidence. Search online for local artist groups, connect with fellow designers via social media or experiment with co-working spaces. And if you can’t find a group to join, you could always reach out to some local creatives you admire and see if they’d be interested in starting a small artists group with you.
9. GET A MENTOR
Nothing beats receiving advice and guidance from an expert in the design world: someone who has been there and done it. Just imagine all the things they now know! If you don’t personally know anyone who would make a 93 good mentor, consider reaching out to a designer you admire – someone there is a distant connection to or even someone you have never met. Even if they can’t commit to a long-term mentor/mentee relationship, they might be open to a phone call or meeting you in person for a chat so you can ask them questions. It never hurts to reach out and they’ll probably feel honoured that you’ve been inspired by their journey.
10. HONE YOUR SKILLS AND HELP OTHERS
Even if you have a clear, strong and well-developed artistic voice, it is important to keep creating so that you continue to grow as an artist. Naturally, as you become more skilled in certain techniques and mediums, you gain confidence in your artistic abilities so at this point maybe you could consider teaching a class or sharing your skills with emerging talent. Sharing your gift with others is extremely satisfying and rewarding and it’s also a wonderful way to your build self-esteem and confidence.
Article from MOYO Magazine – Issue 10: The Independence Issue