While being a designer isn’t all about waiting for your muse or loafing about playing the tortured artist, there are times where you do need to summon up the powers of creativity and get motivated.
It’s not easy gearing yourself up out of a rut, but there are a few things that creatives have found to be invaluable in keeping them going when the going gets tough. Illustrator Kyle Platts says: “My motivation just comes from wanting to get better all the time, I’m always looking to better myself as an artist and push onto more ambitious projects. I rarely feel content, I often look back at work I did one month ago and feel like I could do it better in the present. It’s also good to be surrounded by artists who are totally better than you, they have a way of making you want to work harder.”
Others take a more prosaic approach to being their own carrot and stick. “Staying motivated is hard, but a lot of it rests on me working as it’s my sole income,” says illustrator and It’s Nice That 2015 graduate Michael Driver. “I think up until about a month or so ago I would have said that this idea of being admired or being really successful was something that kept me motivated but as I’ve gone on I think that my only motivation is to be comfortable enough to enjoy my work and to be happy. You can’t make millions doing this, and even if you could, you would have to work every hour god sends. If the client’s happy with the work that’s all that matters: everything else is trivial.
“Your last year of university is hard but I’m afraid your first year outside of university is just as hard. Myself and most of my friends I’ve spoken to have wobbled around a lot thinking that they should of done more with their year. If I could give any advice regarding your first year out of university I’d say just don’t worry too much, go at your own speed and enjoy every minute of it. There is no rush to be something or someone. There are no rules, there is no wrong or right, if you do something you love people will naturally start to become interested, life is too short to be creatively unhappy.”
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Some chirpier words of wisdom come from James Gilchrist and Beth Wilson, co-founders of Warriors Studio, say: “Surround yourself with good people who you believe are better than you. Set yourself targets. We have lists of targets and goals for every area of the studio. Some are small, some are big. Be competitive. Someone is always going to be better than you, so the race never stops!”
If you want more helpful advice like this, words of wisdom from past grads and ideas about places to go and websites to visit for inspiration, download our specially created Grad Pack here.
Supported by G . F Smith
It’s Nice That’s Graduates 2016 is kindly supported by G . F Smith, whose gorgeous range of papers and services can be just the thing for new and soon-to-be creative grads. The 130-year-old paper company has a long history of working with designers and artists at all stages of their careers, with its high-quality and innovative paper products offering a huge range of creative possibilities.
About the Author
Emily joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in the summer of 2014 after four years at Design Week. She is particularly interested in graphic design, branding and music. After working It's Nice That as both Online Editor and Deputy Editor, Emily left the company in 2016.