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A Designer’s Identity Crisis

By April 25, 2011June 26th, 2015Branding & Design
A Designer's Identity Crisis

In a designer’s world there are two types of projects; the ones that have a deadline and the ones that last a lifetime.

The projects that have a deadline are important and sometimes challenging because you only have a certain amount of time to create good ideas and execute them properly. The projects that last a lifetime are the ones you work on for yourself because you make up the deadline. This is demanding as well because there is no definite time frame where you are expected to call it quits.

Story of my life: I start a project for myself and I love it. Then, I come back to it and want to change it. I am my biggest critic. I have so many ideas and I just want to use them all. Design is so subjective and there are so many different styles.

How do you know which style is mine? At what point do I say, “This is the design I’m going with”? Who am I as a designer? Is it possible to ever have a definite answer for this question, especially when building a brand for myself?

Clients come to me to help them decide what style is right for them. I design a style for them based on the ideas they give me and the expectations they have in mind. I need to first know my clients in order to understand their style. When the client has a vision, I go with it and flow at a quick pace while it is fresh in our heads.

Everybody knows that when you have too long to think about something, you lose sight of the original idea, which could have been the best option. Also, throwing too many ideas around can cause “information overload”, and anxiety and frustration can easily build on the designer and the client.

Believe it or not, it is actually much harder to design when you are the client yourself. I sometimes feel like I know my clients’ styles and tastes better than my own because I can create a design for them with ease.

Designs for myself are the most complex because they are constantly evolving. Maybe I’m confused about what I like at the time, or maybe my style is so diverse that I can’t figure out which one I like the best. I think I love them all, but then question my feelings and decide that I don’t like them after all; causing me to realize the design is just not my style.

I’m not eliminating it because it’s not a good design, but rather that it does not reflect what I’d like to portray. For example, why the logo below continues to develop and it has taken me so long to solidify the brand.

logo variations

Since I’ve started writing on this topic, I’ve come to realize that our design styles will constantly evolve.  Therefore, although you want to create something timeless, you want to come up with a brand that expresses who you are today. I have taken enough time to reflect on my options and determine the best design.

logo variations


In essence, it is my job to understand where a client wants to take a project visually. As a designer, I need to take that vision and not only design it to satisfy the client, but it needs to satisfy the public. Obviously, if the public is not engaged, then a product or service will not be appealing and sell.

Designing for myself? That’s its own story entirely. It is my hope that I can grab the reins and hold on for the ride, defining who I am as a designer.

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