Have you ever done this? Have you looked at designers, studios or agencies that you admire and wonder “how do they get this cool gigs?” or “why can’t I get great gigs like that?” We all suffer from designer envy from time to time. It’s that little green (or PMS 15-0343 2017’s Color of the year) monster inside of us that makes us question ourselves, our work and ultimately our ability to produce.
Jessica Walsh of Sagmeister & Walsh, David Droga of Droga5, Pentagram, Louise Fili, Steven Heller, Jessica Helfand, Paula Scher and the list goes on and on. Design greats who we admire and who have accomplished a lot. It's quite stressful.
Something that we've used to get ourselves off the ledge is a phrase posted on Instagram by Sophia Amorusa of Nasty Gal that reads, “Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes with someone else’s highlight reel.”
None of them are overnight successes. They worked hard to get where they are. While we want to believe everything posted is true, social media is a pit of fake lives and imaginary successes put out into the world to make people feel better about themselves (or make others jealous).
Reality check: Is there a chance they had some opportunities or help that you or I didn’t? Maybe. Were they in the right place a the right time? Could be. Are they really enjoying their lives or is it a burden to always have to outdo their last accomplishment? Uhm... maybe? In the end we take our own paths and build our own careers. No two design careers are alike.
What we’ve learned is everyone can make the best of their careers and do great things whether they are in New York City, Portland, Oregon or Miami, Florida. There is no such thing as a small client, only small thinking.
Do what you do. Do your best. Make a difference.