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  1. I was a subscriber of your newsletter. So I read it before. Since reading it, I have never felt lack of confidence. Every time the giant Monster “I have no talent” arises in my mind I remember you, this article. I saved it in my Inbox. I call it “The ultimate Confidence-Booster for Designers”.
    Thanks rafal. I admire your work and your words.

    • I have been told how artistically talented I am my whole life, and folks have confessed they wish they were as talented as me, and I always tell them that it is purely a result of hard work and desire. Oh, and thousands of hours of trying. Friends and family like to site the great art I was doing when I was 10, but I had been tracing my favorite cartoons by holding a piece of paper up to the TV since I was 5, and had read/browsed every how to draw book in my school library. It wasn’t till my twenties that I really dove into graphic design, and understood the science behind a lot of the principles that I stumbled upon in years of learning via process. I find people have a really difficult time committing to things, especially if they get frustrated, and I wish I had a better answer than you just have to want it more. If it is important to you, you eat, sleep, and breath it until it is spewing out of you. Find those people, because those that are truly passionate about their work, tend to want to share their knowledge.

      • Anthony, thanks for sharing this. I started learning how to draw when I was 16 or 17. I always liked to draw, but it was nothing good looking (and nobody said I had a talent to draw…) until I was like 19 years old after a couple years of “real” learning from Andrew Loomis books. Then, people started telling me that I must have a talent to draw. I feel like anyone who would just give it some practice would be able to do it at the level I was doing it.

  2. I have reinvented myself as a web designer at age 48 and feel totally inadequate every. single. day. Like someone is going to look behind the curtain and see that the Great and Powerful Oz is really just a middle aged mom who loves design and loves to learn and loves to provide excellent work and service to my clients but is still far, far away from being an Actual Designer.

    Your post is such an encouragement. I’ve never commented on a blog post anywhere but felt compelled to comment here. Your words spoke to me and gave me a boost to keep on on practicing and learning. Thank you!

    • Thank you for your comment!

      I’ve seen many people who have started something completely new later in their life, but they progressed really fast. Once we’re really motivated to do something and we like doing it, I think we’re much more productive and eager to learn more.

      “It doesn’t matter how good you are today. What really matters is how fast you progress and what steps you take every day to improve your design skills.”

      Check out my other post:

    • I’m 43 and I started taking technical VA (virtual assistant) courses last summer. I just finished a course on building WordPress Websites and enjoyed it but I’ve just started delving into the world of design so that the functional websites I build will also be beautiful.

      The only experience with design that I have so far is digital scrapbooking years ago, and I am just teaching myself to draw using The Drawing Textbook by Bruce McIntyre (which I highly, highly recommend for anybody who wants a simple, step by step method to learn how to draw!)

      Thanks so much, Rafal, for a very encouraging article and, Chris, thanks for taking a moment to reply to this article – it’s good to know there are others starting this later in life 🙂

  3. This discussion always reminds me of this quote (whether its true or not):

    Young Composer: “Herr Mozart, I am thinking of writing a symphony. How should I get started?”

    Mozart: “A symphony is a very complex musical form and you are still young. Perhaps you should start with something simpler, like a concerto.”

    Young Composer: “But Herr Mozart, you were writing symphonies when you were 8 years old.”

    Mozart: “Yes, but I never asked anyone how.”

    If you want to be a designer, just start designing stuff. Take advice when you need it, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. Just do your own thing and have fun!

  4. Thanks rafal. I admire your work and your words.

    I was a subscriber of your newsletter. So I read it before. Since reading it, I have never felt lack of confidence. Every time the giant Monster “I have no talent” arises in my mind I remember you, this article. I saved it in my Inbox. I call it “The ultimate Confidence-Booster for Designers”.

  5. This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I had a very honest conversation with one of my design professors yesterday. After looking at my work, he encouraged me to pursue other things. I graduate in 10 days. Woof.

    I was a little disheartened by his words, but I want to fight for my graphic design abilities. I love design too much to let it all just slip away into the abyss. Your article has motivated me to keep fighting, even if it takes my whole life to get somewhere good. Thank you.

  6. Great article for those who have concerns about their talent level at the outset of becoming a designer,but what if you’ve been tried and constantly proven to have no talent?
    I’ve been a professional graphic designer for the past 15 years, and feedback for my work has ranged from “meh,” to quite literally “what the hell is this?!
    At my past two design jobs, as well as my current job, I’ve been relegated to performing menial side tasks. In fact at my last job I spent most of my time archiving projects, sweeping floors and changing garbage cans. At my current job I spend most of my time wrapping already designed labels (designed by the guy on the other side of my cubicle wall who holds my exact same job description and is three years my junior at the company) onto digital bottle and package images.
    I can’t even give away my freelance work. I lose every bid for even pro-bono projects if there is so much as one other designer bidding for it, and if there isn’t I just won’t hear back and my calls will be ignored. My last freelance bid was about a year ago. It was a logo that I had to fight like hell at the negotiating table to get a whopping $200 for and in the end left my client feeling lukewarm at best and me feeling like nothing more than a wrist on a mouse. Once it was paid for he never called me again.
    I know that every designer experiences snubs, hangups and self-doubt, but how many of them after 15 years of hard work can say they’ve never experienced any level of success?
    I love design, and I don’t want to give it up, but I also feel like I’ve been hanging onto it for far too long, and that I don’t belong at this table. I don’t use this as an excuse to not try—I am still trying, but I have found that I need some excuse for the past 15 years of my life, and trying to convince myself that I still have potential isn’t really working for me anymore.

    • Thanks for sharing your story and giving us a different perspective on this subject. We all know our strengths and weaknesses. For example, I know I’m good at designing websites, but I know I’m not so great in designing logos. I don’t know if this is a matter of talent or just my own preferences, motivation and what I like doing more.

      Have you thought about taking some courses and learning more about design? I’m not sure what training you had in design, but maybe you’re missing some important design rules and you’re making the same mistakes over and over again.

      Our own judgement is important, but we can’t base our entire work on that. There are some design rules that if you follow them, you can make your design solid no matter what.

      You can email me if you want to show some samples of your work and maybe I can help you more or at least point where the problem is.


      • Thanks for offering to look over my portfolio, but I’d rather not link anything to these comments that can identify me, even privately. It’s really hard to talk about these things because if anyone in the field knew I was feeling this way, they’d be even more apprehensive about hiring me for anything.
        Perhaps I could set up a portfolio under a pseudonym to send you, but that may take some time.

      • I just realized that I didn’t talk about my training. You asked about that and I spaced it off when I replied. I have a BFA in graphic design from an accredited university with a pretty good design program. I’m considering going back to school this fall to start a second Bachelor’s degree (this time in web design) but I’m not very confident that it’s going to help me. Other than that I’ve taken courses through and, and I keep up with design blogs and podcasts, but my work isn’t improving.

  7. Thanks for this article. This is a huge relief. I’m 22 and have just finished my undergrad. I was comparing myself to everyone (even to Sagmeister & Walsh, yeah. i’m delusional) who showed up in behance newsfeed and was going suicidal, feeling that my work is hopelessly bad. This article makes so much sense. I should just stop whining, stop comparing myself to experienced designers and start working harder. Thank you so much for writing this. You made my day.

  8. Thank you for sharing. I always think designer should have talent, a sense of art or creativeness. I’m not a designer but this post motivates me to learn and practice more. Thank you.

  9. Although I am a little late to this topic, but i just want to thank you for guiding me. A friend of mine shared this with me once, I though the same, I always felt myself inferior to these other designer. But today I am confident girl, with great skills.

  10. Hey, First of all, thanks for sharing your useful information with us. I really like it very much. I am also a web designer and looking for an article that helped me to know more about website designing.
    Please keep sharing like this kind of blog.

  11. I needed this. I’m in the middle of interior design school, and I’ve never felt less creative in my life. It can suck the life out of you. It’s good to hear/know that it doesn’t matter. We’ll all get there.

  12. I went to art school and later studied design and architecture. I am working for 7 years in the industry, and I a getting worse and worse. Everybody thought I would be somebody, and I worked hard, I still do, but at 31, I can’t see solutions to problems, even have ideas for styles. I am supposed to design a logo for my friend’s company, doing that for 2 weeks, and I cant see solutions. So I am living proof that I don’t have the designer in me. And I wanted it so much, I wanted to be one since I was 11. And today I am just empty person working something that I suck at.

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