Finding Your Creative Identity


The Question

An important question you want to ask yourself as a young creative who is just getting started is what kind of brand you want to permeate. Whether you’re about to graduate school or have just begun putting together an Adobe portfolio, creating your own unique mojo is integral to reaching success in the world of digital arts. 

Your particular way of narrating a story, the unexampled themes you incorporate into logo designs, or the manner in which you break down a user experience are all examples of how you might differentiate yourself from others. Differences that at the end of the day will make you unexpendable and sought after by agencies and companies alike. 

So where do you begin? How do you go about defining what you represent and building the identity you wish to portray? 

Staying True

Creating your professional identity doesn’t mean redefining yourself. The qualities that you already have are what got you here in the first place. So you’ve got to stay true to those traits even as you build out and expand who you are. 

Keep that intro to copywriting book lying around. You might not read it anymore, and you might have even grown from some of the philosophies it taught, but it will keep you humble. Remember that god awful logo you designed for class? Print it out and throw it on your fridge. It’ll give you inspiration when you see how far you’ve come. 

What you’ve got to remember as you grow and flesh out your brand identity is not to disregard what you previously knew for information, knowledge, or perspectives that you gain. Because once you start losing hold of what you were, you start becoming a reflection of other people’s ideas rather than your own. 

So whose ideas should you listen to and where can you find them? 

Get Exposed

This might surprise you, but your Professor isn’t actually the all-knowing God that they made themselves out to be. While it’s true that plenty of them have extensive research and possibly some professional experience, years of being enveloped inside academia often lead to narrow mindsets. 

So remember what they taught you, but make some room for new knowledge and inspiration. If you’re a graphic designer, start putting together a list of some of your favorite artists and follow them on social media to keep up with their work. What do you like about their work? What don’t you like about their work? Try to design and redesign some of their pieces. Experiment with it. While on the surface you might not think you’re learning anything new, you’re training your mind to see shapes and colors in different ways. Through the eyes of someone else. Someone you admire. 

Finding good exposure for a copywriter is a little easier. All you have to do is READ. Everything. As a versatile copywriter, you have to be prepared to speak in any voice to any audience about anything. So the more you know about products that are foreign to you, audiences you’re unfamiliar with or voices your unsure about, the more equipped you will be to take on any assignment. But as you’re taking on all these new projects, set aside some time to write about things that interest you. Write a car review on your favorite sports car. Put together a breakdown on how the Yankees are going to do this season. Rate a restaurant you like. 

As you continue exposing yourself to new things while simultaneously feeding your interests, your style will grow into something people everywhere will appreciate. 

Getting Appreciation

So you’ve developed your own unique swagger, you’ve experimented with theories and postulations that you’ve never considered, and you’re at a point where there’s enough creativity building up inside of you that you’re going to explode. What do you do?

You explode. Right here as a matter of fact. The Digital Shortlist houses creative explosions of every variety and we want you to show us what you got.

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