I’m A Graphic Designer And I’m Okay

I'm A Graphic Designer And I'm Okay | bluchickenninja.com

I’m almost certain I’ve mentioned many times before that I don’t like calling this a book blog. Yes I blog about books but I blog about other stuff too. I never want someone to come here only expecting to see posts about books. But I can’t deny that I blog about books, which in turn makes me a book blogger. It’s taken me a long while to accept it but yes I am a book blogger.

So you would think that logic would also apply to graphic design. I do graphic design so that makes me a graphic designer right? But there is still a part of me that feels like I’m pretending to be a graphic designer. I go to school for graphic design, I spend quite a lot of my free time doing graphic design related things. But I still don’t feel like I’m a proper graphic designer.

I remember my lecturer once said that doing graphic design makes you a graphic designer. Even just doing it at college makes you that thing. But it doesn’t feel real. Maybe this is just going back to that whole I-don’t-think-I’m-good-enough-to-do-this thing. But even that isn’t really true. Though I go through moments of utterly hating my work, other people tell me it’s good. Heck I even won a design competition a few weeks ago. But I can’t see that. All I see are the things wrong with whatever I’m doing.

Maybe this whole problem is that I don’t think I’m good enough yet to label myself as a graphic designer. I’m not sure that I will ever think I’m good enough to label myself as a graphic designer. But I think I also have to ignore what my brain says and admit that yes, just like with book blogging, I’m doing the graphic design thing which technically makes me a graphic designer. You never know, at some point I might end up being okay enough with it to even change my twitter bio. Maybe…

Thanks for reading.
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40 thoughts on “I’m A Graphic Designer And I’m Okay

  1. Why label though? Just do the graphic designing thing, no need to really label, or is there?
    Labelling sets limits, imho.
    And considering you initially weren’t happy being labelled as a book blogger, I’d think you don’t really like being within in a set of limits..

    Hope you’ll find self-confidence and courage 🙂

  2. Pierce Brown said this about writing. That a lot of people don’t feel that they can call themselves a writer because they haven’t been published yet. He said if you write then you’re a writer. It’s not a testament to how good or bad you are but you are one. If you’re winning design competitions and you’re getting compliments; your work definitely has merit (and from what I have seen of your graphic design work you are insanely talented). Do it when you’re confident enough to but I personally would say you are a graphic designer and should pop it in your Twitter bio 🙂

  3. I can relate to what you are saying. I’m a Literature student and I want to be part of the academic world but even after years of getting good grades, being a TA and people saying I deserve what I got, I still feel like a fraud. I think it actually has a name, something like “Impostor Syndrome”. I have to remind myself almost every day that I can be whatever I want to be. And that sometimes we are way too hard on ourselves, even more strict with our own work than with the work of others. It can be a strength but also an issue. In the end, your passion and your dedication to doing what you love weights more than any label you can assume.

    • Imposter syndrome is indeed a thing. And it never goes away . . . even after a PhD, a dissertation, multiple publications (including a scholarly book), and a decade of teaching and conferences in the field (language & lit in my case).

      (Side: Good luck with academia. I’m on my way out of the academic world, after eight years on the increasingly small job market. Adjuncting/PT is 95% of what’s out there for employment, and it doesn’t pay the bills.)

  4. I totally know how you feel. I am faking it until I make it. I didn’t even go to school for graphic design, but I have spent a lot of my personal time taking courses and practicing with photoshop and illustrator. I now have a job doing it as well. My skills are definitely not that of someone who went to school or has experience, but it is real that I am pursuing seriously. The only way I will make it is if I see myself as that.

    I don’t even read that much and I love coming to your blog 😀

  5. What shows up is your ability to do clever word play in addition to finding fun ways to express a topic. That’s the talent that goes into being a paid graphic designer (vs a lumberjack…) Seems to me you are on your way. Now it’s just practice and putting your stuff out there!

  6. Well, I can’t believe that you are feeling exactly like I do! I do graphic design too but not professionally, so I’m always reluctant on calling myself a GD or even writing it on my Twitter bio! Maybe I’m looking for social approval, or such bullshit. I wish I knew. Ha!

    I think we both have every right to call ourselves a designer, though. 🙂

  7. Perhaps you just need to feel like you’ve done it for someone impartial; conformed to someone else’s standards and brief. Have you had a look on Peopleperhour or a similar freelancing website and seen if there’s anything that sounds like it’s up your street? If that sounds a bit aggressive for you at your stage in your career, you could have a look on Gumtree/Craigslist. There’s always someone looking for something for nothing there 🙂 That way you could get a bit more professional exposure and hopefully it would build your confidence.

    • I’ve actually just finished a project which involved working with a degree student to create a logo for their project. You got that freelancing experience but still within the college. But yeah maybe I need to try more of that.

  8. I’ve spent many years feeling a fraud as I developed my career and recognise the ‘imposter’ status. However, I learned that what you tell yourself you are, you become. The NLP training I did gave me some new strategies for life and I started to focus on the things I do really well and telling myself repeatedly what is great about my work. It worked and I suddenly realised that I am really good at what I do and it brought me an inner confidence I’ve never had before. Focus on the brilliant things you do and ‘reveal your inner brilliance to the world’… You’re clearly great at what you do!

  9. Graphic design is so fun. I took a course in high school, and I feel like it would be like doing my hobby all the time.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t apply to graphic design when I was applying to University. I feel like I didn’t know that I could fully pursue that as a career.

    I am thinking of opening a business with my family (when I am much older) and handling the graphic design aspects of it myself. That would be fun, wouldn’t it?

    Really appreciated your blog post! And yes, you should definitely consider yourself a graphic designer! I call myself a painter, even though I only occasionally paint.

  10. I totally get where you’re coming from. Most of my life I’ve worked as a PA but described myself as ‘just’ a secretary. I’d love to introduce myself by saying I’m a travel blogger or a writer but it still feels fraudulent!

  11. All the best people think they are not quite good enough. That’s why they strive to get better all the time.
    As a perceptive graphic designer, with that eye for what’s good, I would really value your input on my book designs.
    Cheers
    Opher

  12. Enjoyed your blog! Many thanks for ‘liking’ my blog post about long-listing with the Fish International Short Story Prize. It’s a new area of writing for me and was quite a thrill.

  13. As others have said, it is part of the creative psyche to feel you are still only a learner however much work you have done in your chosen field. And that’s a good thing so long as it makes you keep on striving to be better and don’t ever let it stop you.
    Thanks for liking my post this morning.

  14. I know exactly what you mean. In addition to blogging, I write content marketing and job search tools like resumes and LinkedIn profiles, but I don’t feel like a writer. Maybe that’s because it’s my part-time gig. Full-time, my title is project manager, but most people associate that with software and my projects are to on-board clients, so I don’t feel comfortable touting that title either. At my age, I shouldn’t be having an identity crisis😳

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