I dislike awards because every judge is going to be entitled to their own opinions, and those opinions could be different from mine. I’ve also been crushed before, spending so much time creating work then not winning, watching other designers go home with those shiny f*cking plaques. That’s really hard when you’re young and trying to make it into a career that is very competitive, that you are very passionate about. I know what good work looks like, and I work very hard to achieve that level of craft and to create personality in my work. I don’t need approval to get there, I need to produce more work and continue to learn and improve.
I get in the flow of:
- Start a project
- Sketch, compile, research, refine, refining, refining
- Show client
- Make a few adjustments
- Finish a project
- Take a step back and analyze discrepancies
- Refine process on the next project
- I realize that if I stop for even a second I may fall behind. When I finish something, I don’t pat myself on the back, I definitely don’t want someone else to pat me on the back. This is my way of growing and pushing myself further. It seems harsh, but it works for me.
Despite this, I look at the designers I admire and I can’t help but notice that their awards continue stacking up. People don’t generally just give out awards without you submitting them. So, this is a new stage for me. Realizing that I’ve created a whole lot of work, and that work could potentially be award-winning, EVEN IF I just see it as a stepping stone in my long journey of achieving a higher level of design, to someone else it is their finished product. I want to become great at what I do. In order to do this, people need to notice this work coming out of my brain, into a computer processor, and into the world. Not only does it help me, it could help people notice my clients. These people whom I’ve spent endless hours relentlessly working for. (It will also help me grow my personal reputation and client base).
In the past few months of submitting my work, I’ve realized firsthand that
- My friends and family are SUPER proud of me. When I post about work that I’m doing people seem genuinely lifted up by the fact that I am doing this.
- I will not win everything, and I can’t cry over it, I have to figure out how I’m going to win next time.
- Submitting my work for awards is REALLY TIME CONSUMING.
- Knowing that I want recognition has actually pushed me to design in a more effective way, to make the most of every single project regardless of how I may feel about it’s significance.
- I need to narrow my scope of design. This I’m still struggling with understanding.
- I have to show grace to myself. This life is a process, and it’s okay if there’s people better than me at the moment, because I’m not giving up. I’m only getting better. I’m determined to crush all of them but I have to improve at a pace that I AM HAPPY WITH. I want to work hard, I want to work overtime, I want to be critical of myself, but I want my life to be fulfilling. I want to have time to spend with my amazing boyfriend going on snowboarding trips and going to the beach with my best friends. I just HAVE TO improve my process, and learn to focus on the right things.
So there’s that. My take on awards.
My Marketing Manager and I spent a hefty part of our work week a couple months ago submitting to the Charleston American Marketing Awards and we were finalists in three categories for traditional marketing pieces like sales brochures and direct mailings. We may not have taken home something shiny but there were A LOT of REALLY great submissions for this particular competition and we feel honored and so excited to see what we could achieve in the future. This exposed our marketing department to a bigger group of marketers doing great things and who knows what relationships this could lead to!