This article was written exclusively for Webdesigner Depot by Preston D Lee, a web designer and lover of all things web and tech. Preston manages GraphicDesignBlender.com, where designers go to master the business of design. You can follow Preston on Twitter (@prestondlee) or visit his personal website, prestondlee.com.
Being a designer has never been easy. Working with clients, creative directors, marketing managers and other designers can take a toll on your patience and passion.
It’s important, as a professional designer, to avoid practices that could hurt your career or the company you work for.Whether you work as a freelance designer or in a firm, avoid the following 15 bad habits that might be killing your design career.
What other habits do you think should be avoided in your design career? Please let us know in the comments section.
1. Poor People Skills
Few things will kill your design business faster than poor people skills. Clients want a friendly face to greet them and someone who is enthusiastic about their project. Avoid complaining, bad-mouthing, whining and making excuses.
Maybe you’re a whiz at social media, and maybe you’ve got a fancy email signature, but sometimes being able to interact professionally with people online just doesn’t cut it. In order to succeed as a designer, you must have strong people skills: you must be able to communicate a thought, frustration or message clearly and efficiently.
Learn how to handle difficult clients, overbearing creative directors and pestering marketing departments—you’ll have to do it all, while managing the inevitable stress of deadlines.
2. Not Setting Boundaries With Clients
If you work on a per-project basis, avoid excessive revisions proposed by clients. If you fail to set limitations, your clients will request frequent revisions, which can eat away at your time and patience.
Allowing clients to request anything might seem like a good policy, but you’ll come off as more professional by setting limits with them during the design process. These should be outlined in your terms of agreement or contract.
I once worked with a designer who insisted on using tables in the design process. We all know that tables have a place in the work flow, but we were dealing with a layout and style that could have been achieved with some pretty simple CSS. This designer had become complacent; following the same path will kill your own design career.
Begin by identifying aspects of the job that you’ve grown complacent about. Perhaps you are satisfied with your current number of clients, so you make little effort to market your business. Perhaps your standards have fallen, and you’ve stopped giving your best and care to do only enough to get paid.
Whatever you’re complacent about, conquer it. Start caring. Shift your paradigm, and arouse in yourself a desire to always do your best.