Starting out in the design industry, it’s easy to feel like you have to fit a certain mould – that of the ‘creative’ creative. Whether it’s the type of work we do, or how we go about coming up with ideas in the first place, there are all sorts of things that can make us feel insecure, or that we’re simply not creative enough.
There’s the well-known stereotype that people are governed either by the right brain (imaginative, creative) or by the left brain (analytical, methodical). Add that to the popular opinion that design is a primarily creative industry, and the idea of a left-brained designer becomes almost an oxymoron. There’s an overwhelming pressure to be as creative as possible – the implication being that, if you’re not, you are unlikely to succeed in this ever-growing design industry.
Now, nearly a decade into my design career, I feel more comfortable about myself and more confident in the skill set I bring to the table - it’s easier to push through the fear of not fitting the stereotypical designer mould. But for several years, I felt like a fish out of water – I couldn’t look past the imposed binary system of ‘left brain’ vs ‘right brain’, and I worried that my more analytic approach to design wouldn’t compete with the more artistically creative flair of my colleagues. When I think about my first steps into the world of design – fresh out of uni, eager and bright-eyed – it would have been reassuring to know that there is no single way to be a designer.
With all of this in mind, I’d like to rethink, and redefine, the typical profile of a modern designer. Not only is there a world of invaluable skills and assets beyond creativity, but there’s also the potential for a more fulfilling and enjoyable career once you reject the notion of fitting into any sort of mould.