In dreaded job interviews or in portfolio documents, many designers under sell themselves. It’s a tough world and if we want the job or the project, we will need to go for it, hustle, if you like.
Strangely, many creative people are too polite or uncomfortable to talk about their achievements. I know, I’m one of them. Not only that, many designers get turned off by marketing engines like Phillip Starck, or don’t want to be in a position to get challenged.
Let’s look at this in another way.
Designers have been always taught in school to justify our work, and as a result we tend to over compensate and justify everything, sometimes in an almost defensive manner. You know what? I’ve learnt that there is really no need to justify everything.
Even Paul Rand told Steve Jobs, “I will give you one design and you will pay me”. Not only did Mr. Rand not bother with multiple concept options, he was probably not willing to waste his time justifying his designs. This might be an extreme example, but we could learn from him. Knowing when to justify and when not to, helps your credibility as a designer.
So let’s turn things around, grit your teeth, and say that you designed that thing for a change. Tell them how you won that award or resolved that detail. Don’t be shy! It can be a nice boost to your confidence as well.
Do sell, but don’t oversell. Selling is about stating facts, which means if you can validate that you designed that detail, were responsible for managing that design, or even attributed to that award, then there is really no need to be shy, defend or even justify it.
So say it like it is!