Oversaturation sucks. It feels like just about every creative medium is crowded these days; when you go to look for a new album to listen or a new film to watch, it’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed by all the options available. Even if you have the niche-est of niche tastes (perhaps you only listen exclusively to Japanese noise metal?), you’re still sure to have at least a dozen options to choose from.
And unfortunately, the same is true when it comes to design work. If you have trouble choosing which TV show to watch on Netflix next, imagine how much trouble businesses must have when it comes to choosing a design to represent their company? Because of this, it’s more important than ever to make sure you stand out. Don’t get lost in the crowd. You need to show people that your design work is something special – as we’re sure it is – and that you have something to offer that no else has.
Luckily, we’ve got some advice for when it comes to proving that you’re a cut above the rest. Do More is here to help make sure that your work doesn’t get caught in a sea of similar designs – we want your unique voice to shine.
Familiar Yet Different
Understanding what the client wants is incredibly important. You need to understand what their business is about and how they want you to represent it through your design work. If you aren’t on the same page, then there’s probably going to be some issues…
Yet, at the same time, you almost need to be one step ahead of them in terms of what they want. By ‘familiar yet different’, we mean that you need to give them want they want – and something extra. It’s important to follow a prompt closely, but if you only follow it and do nothing else then you’re likely to produce something samey. It’s important to find a balance between giving them what they want and what you and only you can offer with your unique voice. Make sense?
Tying into our previous point – it’s almost always better to play it risky than to play it safe. Generally, the designs that people remember are the ones that take risks. Safe ones are more likely to simply fade into the background. Going beyond the prompt – giving the client what you think they want but maybe haven’t realised yet – is an important way to show off that you’re not just another designer. And even if it doesn’t pay off, they’re likely to respect you for trying to deliver something more.
As we said before, it’s all about finding a balance. Delivering something wildly out of the design brief, while gutsy, isn’t worth doing if you know it’s incredibly unlikely to appeal to the client. If you’re designing a logo for an old-fashioned ale brand, you know that a rustic logo is probably going to go over a lot better than a flashy modern one. Take risks – but just make sure there’s a reasonable chance they’ll pay off.
Check What Others Are Doing
The best way to stand out from the crowd? Get a better understanding of what the crowd looks like. Having an awareness of what other designers are doing is a great way to help improve your own work’s visibility. You might think that a design you’re currently working on is unique and groundbreaking… only to discover that someone else is doing something incredibly similar.
Dissecting other people’s work is also a good habit to get into. Take some time to look at it, examine it and make notes. What works about it for you? What doesn’t? Focusing on what you like and dislike about other people’s designs is a great way to improve your own ones. Maybe you’ll discover something you hate in someone else’s work and then realise you’re doing the exact same thing in your own? As with any creative medium, your work doesn’t exist in a vacuum; understanding other people’s work is understanding how your work can stand out.
Sit On Your Ideas
Potentially the most important part of designing comes before, y’know, you actually start designing. We can’t stress the importance of giving yourself plenty of time to come up with ideas and ensuring that you have the right one before jump into designing. Whether you come up with design ideas by sitting at a desk and brainstorming or by going about your life and letting them come to you naturally, make sure you give yourself enough time to find the right one for a project.
You might come up with what you’re certain is the best design idea ever. It’s perfect, it can’t be topped – so there’s no point in considering any other ones. But even if your idea feels like pure gold when you first come up with it, it might not in a few days’ time. A truly good idea is one that still excites you after you’ve sat on it for a little while. Before you fully commit to a design, roll it around in your mind for a little bit and try to pick holes in it. If it still feels just as great after a few days, then go for it. If not, you’ve just saved yourself some valuable time.
Go the Extra Mile
We’ll end things with a very straight-forward and general point: go the extra mile. If you want to stand out from everyone else, you need to try to do more than everyone else. Don’t settle for a design that’s just OK, make sure it’s as great as it can possibly be.
Even if it means starting a project over from scratch or putting in more hours than you intended to, it’s important to make sure you give it 100%. And, if we’re honest, this is more for you than it is for the client; if you try your hardest on a project, then you know you’ve done all you can. If your design doesn’t end up being chosen, you won’t walk away asking ‘what ifs’ about what would’ve happened if you’d gone a little further. To put it simply, what we’re trying to say is: Do More!
Feel free to share your advice with us when it comes to standing out as a designer – we’d love to hear from you! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and remember to check out some of the great design opportunities we have available.