The importance of keeping self-creative
23 June 2018
Self-initiated projects are a great way of showing off your creative thought processes and what you are capable of – it’s also a great way to show you’re passionate about the industry. We designers shy away from creating our own self-initiated projects because we’re afraid that if the brief isn’t real, it doesn’t count OR it won’t pay the bills so I’m wasting my time, right? WRONG, it will be worth the effort if it means we end up with a portfolio that we can be proud to share and attracts the right projects.
Be True to Yourself
I’m a supporter of self-initiated projects. My personal projects have included: creating my own brand (Missie Cindz), writing every day notes (#Cindy365Notes) to develop a meaningful stationery range, curating pudding ‘meet up’ clubs (Missie’s Pud Inn) in my local area to build a more engaging community — projects that stretch us on a personal level give us the chance to share our skills and passions to the fullest, where client work may not.
When I first started out, I struggled to find satisfaction in my day job, I wasn’t being pushed creatively as a designer: (believe it or not) I was shy and had little conviction about the work I was doing at the time. There were wonderful agencies and people close by, and doing personal work helped to provide a path for reaching out to them (Vintage Preserves and The Sheffield Egg) creating a portfolio I was more proud to share and attracting the right opportunities. Curating a series of personal creative projects – including this blog, an online space to share my creative endeavours and connect with like-minded individuals, enabled me to build my relationships with the clients I loved very slowly, one tiny project at a time. Looking back, this is how powerful self-initiated projects can be: they are the intersection of our own person problems or passions with the skills and tools we possess (as designers).
I wasn’t a confident writer, and in the beginning, found it difficult to get my point across in words but as I wrote more on topics I genuinely connected with words, and then paragraphs and fuller sentences seemed to come together seamlessly – don’t get me wrong there might be the odd grammatical error here and there but every day is a ‘school day’ for all of us. My point is, personal projects are great for self development and the great thing about these projects is that you can give a chance to something edgy/playful or something you are passionate about.
After all, it’s the work we create simply because we want to, out of some deep-rooted necessity owed only to ourselves that embodies a truly refreshing and qualities most likely to attract the work we dream about. To me, personal connects with a greater number of people while trends are forgotten very fast. The portfolio, no matter the discipline, is not just a showcase of what you’ve done or can do, but more importantly, has to be a statement of intent, packed with the ideas, honesty, meaning, quirkiness and originality found only in you.
Here are my three reasons why you should start a self-initiated project – go on, do it!
- It keeps the creative fire in your belly! – use the project to assess what you really want to do and play up to your strengths
- You can form better business relationships – share knowledge and experiences
- It could lead to your dream project, business and clients – dream big!
(Illustration by Cindy Cheung)