Design software is readily available anywhere. With a few keystrokes and mouse clicks, anyone can own professional software and start designing, but there’s more to it than that. Besides computers, there are three things designers must possess in order to be successful—creativity, knowledge and passion, the secret weapon. One we work to express, one we work to achieve and one we put into our work. Creativity comes to us naturally, which we use to express ourselves both personally and professionally. Knowledge, however, does not come so easily. We have to work for it, research and study for it and retain it for the future. Passion is what gives us the desire to create and learn and improve ourselves.
The first key to being a successful designer is creativity. Everyone has an ability to be creative. It just so happens that we, as designers, possess a stronger creative mind than others—or rather, the ability to interpret our ideas onto the screen. Creativity should be nurtured, fed with inspiration and expressed through any outlet it requires. Without it, the human mind can become stagnant and depressed.
Creativity is nothing without the means to express it. If you’re a painter, you need to know what colors to mix to get the color you want. If you’re a hair stylist, you need to keep up on the latest trends and which hair products work best for which hair styles. If you’re an engineer, you must be aware of new safety codes being enforced. This brings us to the second key to being a successful designer: knowledge. You can be an expert at Photoshop or a guru in Flash, but the second you become unaware of the latest technology or processes, your competitors surpass you. A designer should never stop learning, given the ever-changing nature of trends and technology. If you’ve mastered web design, move on to HTML and CSS. If you’ve mastered that, try your hand at PHP. I’m not saying become a jack-of-all-trades, but instead learn as much as you can about what you do and never stop. This leads me to the third key to becoming a successful designer…
Passion is the secret weapon every successful designer possesses. You can be an extremely talented designer, know PHP, AJAX, ASP and all the other acronyms, but without the passion to apply it in your career—a drive to become better at what you do—chances are you will go nowhere. Passion alone will make you stand out from the crowd of designers with a wider creativity and more knowledge.
“Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.”
– Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Whether you are an expert or a novice, passion is what will take you to where you want to be. Its what tells you to continue when others try to hold you back. If nothing else, be passionate about what you do; it will take you places you’ve never dreamed of.