Hmmm, where to begin. It’s been a while. I feel like I’ve been in hibernation pretty much since the middle of summer when I decided to step away from writing in my journal here to focus more on my work. And when I say focus on my work, I don’t mean so much working more as much as trying to figure out my identity in terms of my work. In other words, how do I differentiate myself from other web designers, instead of just being another “web guy”.
Back in May, I think I came close when I came up with the mantra of Connect. Empower. Inspire. This felt right to me but it felt like something was still missing. Since that time, I’ve been struggling with my site, trying to come up with some designs for it but no matter what I do, it just feels wrong. And this past week, I think I figured out why.
You see at first I thought maybe I wasn’t cut out for design work. But then I looked at my portfolio and asked myself why was I able to come up with designs for others that feel so right. I mean with a lot of my design work, I really try to understand the identity of the company or product first and then try to carry that across genuinely in my work without trying to hype it up too much. At the same time, I know that the most difficult design work a web designer can do is their own website.
And then last week, I was sitting there thinking about my work identity some more when I finally thought to myself, “I’m tired of having to think about my work / business identity! I just want to be myself!” Of course when I said this to myself, I realized that was the answer I had been waiting for. You see for the longest time, I kept looking at what other designers were doing and tried to pull identity ideas from them for my own site. Well of course their ideas didn’t work for me because I’m not them and their not me. Hilariously enough, for me to be myself, I just needed to stop trying to be someone else. That’s it.
“Easier said than done!” I’m sure those in the known are saying and you’re absolutely right. We live in a world where we are bombarded daily by multiple mediums to be someone else because that will make us cool, beautiful, rich, whatever. And that’s exactly what I meant the other day when I wrote about being real clear. When you finally get the chance to clear your head of all of this mental bombardment around you, it’s actually quite liberating and exhilarating. For it was at this point, that I believe I took another important step closer to my true identity of who I really am and what I’d really like to do with my work.
“I want to be real.” Yes that’s what I want to do. And believe me there’s a lot more to that statement than meets the eye. I’ll reveal more tomorrow just exactly what I mean by this.