When entering the “Design World”, most designers need to face the idea of perfection. Most of us call ourselves perfectionists because we usually don’t like 100% of a project, as they all seem to have something missing or some detail that we can’t correct.
When a friend or colleague comes to praise a designer for his work, it’s not rare to see the professional mentioning some points he could have done better. On job interviews, people tend to say that perfectionism is one of their qualities. Even though most people see it as a quality, it can be totally the reverse.
Perfectionism is not the pursue to create the perfect project, it’s the fear of showing the world your weakness.
Especially if it’s a field the designer isn’t 100% certain, there will always be details needing endless adjustments, aiming for the “perfection level”. What most people don’t understand is that those imperfections are what differs a project from other, a designer from another, and what defines a style. What makes some designers stand out are the imperfections presented on their projects. Once you recognize and embrace that, you’ll start to define you and your work.
On personal relationships, the imperfections are what differ one person from another. Even our significant others aren’t perfect. We love them because we learned how to love their imperfections.
In the same way, we can start thinking about who establishes what is perfect and what isn’t. No one in the world can ever tell your work is bad because it isn’t perfect. If someone happens to show and tell you that, just thank that person… it means there’s something different and unique about your work. Discover what it is and apply it to your future works, it can be a precious tip on developing your unique style.
Think less, work more
Stop thinking and start working. Be consistent and show your work to the world. Don’t be afraid to show your “ugly” sketches. How many times you’ve spent hours and hours trying to refine an idea and a client ended up by choosing your “ugly draft”, that little piece you made in 5 minutes? Ideas are infinitely more valuable than perfection. The greatest artists and designers show their work without worrying about what others would say or think.
There’s no such a thing as perfection, embrace your mistakes, your “ugly” strokes… Learn how to love it and people will love it too.
Do you have any project on your drawer or old folders that you didn’t finish because it never gets perfect? Spread it to the world, present to other people, ask them to help you developing it better, but don’t stand too much on it. Learn how to live with that “not so symmetrical” thing and don’t be afraid to let people notice it. Deliver 90% of what you consider perfect, that’s your real work. Once you reach that number, just deliver it and move on to your next thing.
Perfection is like a unicorn.
Just too magical and perfect to be real.