For some reason, I'm still surprised when the skills I learn in school turn out to be skills I can actually use in the real world. I've been at my summer internship for a few days, and while I'm not going to tell you exactly where it is, I can tell you that it is a small design studio that does a lot of work on magazines and websites. Anyway, for the past 2 days, I was working on a logo design, and it was still so odd that I'm being paid (not much, but still) to do the things that I've been practicing and doing for fun for the last six years. However, no matter how big or small the client is, I always find myself doubting my own skill and being convinced my work is a complete mess until I hear that they are happy with it, or at least happy with the direction it is going.
Anyway, back to the logo I was working on - after I had a fair amount of concepts, I met with my boss and another designer in the studio to go over it. It felt just like I was back at a RISD critique, with the things we talked about and the suggestions they gave. I guess that could also be partially because the other designer I was talking to graduated from RISD just a few years ago and in fact did many of the same projects I just finished last semester (though his work was much better than mine is), but it was still surreal to be having a crit in the middle of New York City with "real" designers for a fairly large client.
When I'm working for a client as big as this one, it comes with a lot of pressure to do a good job. One of my weaknesses as a designer, which I know I need to work on, is to not be happy with the first decent design I come up with, and instead to push myself to make it great. It can be frustrating when you think you've come up with a successful solution, but a couple more painful hours tweaking it and pushing it into a new direction can be the difference between competent and brilliant.
I try not to show it too much, but a lot of the time I just completely lose faith in myself as a designer. There is so much good design out there that it just becomes overwhelming. I know that I can never be the best, but why can't I make my work look as good as all the people I admire? It can be kind of scary actually - if I can't even get this logo looking decent, what hope is there that I will ever get a real job? I suppose this is something everyone must feel at some point in their respective fields. There is just so much out there to learn, and the graphic design field is so incredibly competitive that it's scary to think that soon I'll have to make my own way through it, and just hope that I've gathered enough skills and knowledge to be qualified for the kind of job I want to get.
I guess the only thing left to do now is to keep on going, to try to learn as much as I can without realizing just how much I will never learn at all. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter either as a comment here or on Twitter. I may do a follow-up to this blog soon, so get commenting so I have something to actually respond to. And thank you so much for reading my rambling thoughts even when I'm not just showing you artwork.