I’m a full-time professional designer in the early middle of my career — I have been working as a designer full-time for 15 years.
I create lots of work that I am very proud of. However, when I look through something like a design annual, there is so much beautiful work that it makes me want to improve even more.
I’ve been thinking about this, and I think I mean that I want to improve in an aesthetic sense (which I know is subjective). I want my design to look more beautiful and pleasing. I’m very confident with achieving the communication goals of my design, and I even like how a lot of my design looks. But I would love to reach that higher level of beauty the masters seem capable of.
What should I do? How do I take my daily work to what I consider the next aesthetic level?
In addition, I’d say that to get off a plateau, it helps to get out of one’s comfort zone and do some serious perspective changing. Engage (at least for a while) in something you’d hardly consider doing under normal circumstances. It does not need to be anything purely contrived for the sake of exercise. Instead if there’s something you never thought you would or could do – give it a go. I’m talking about physical activities as well (if not mostly). Wanted to try flying? Sign up for a ‘solo course’. Scuba diving? Are you predominantly a ‘2-d’ artist? Take a sculpting or pottery class. Do you paint? Pick an artist you love to hate and give their style/methodology an honestly fair shake. Architecture? Computer programming? Last but not least, if you can find a mentor. That can have the most significant and most long reaching impact.