For many, it’s understandable to want to fast-forward through all the rookie mistakes and the fumbles at the beginning of our careers. We all want to be great designers and creatives right away. But there’s something to be said about being a beginner that you just can’t get when you have a few notches under your belt. Here’s why you should cherish being a beginner designer:
1) Beginner Gains
In weightlifting, there is a phenomenon that happens with beginners when they first start lifting weights called “beginner gains.”
In a nutshell, beginner gains are huge observable improvements (or “gains”) in strength, muscle growth, and size. These huge improvements tend to only happen for the first 3-6 months of your training regimen as your body rapidly responds and adapts to the new stimuli you are putting it through. Simply put, you get stronger and bigger much faster as a beginner than if you’re an experienced lifter.
This phenomenon could apply to being a beginner designer (or beginner anything, really) as well. Being a beginner is where you’ll see the most improvements in your work. Your mind isn’t bogged down with jargon, or “the right way” to do things, or the battle scars that comes with working with a long list of clients. When you’re a beginner, all you’re worried about is improving and adapting to your new environment and if you commit to really learning from this point in your career, you’ll be better equipped the handle what comes next.
2) Mistakes Will Seem Huge, But Are Not
When you first start out as a designer or a creative, you will make mistakes and they will feel like you’ve just ruined your whole life. That poor choice in font or that horrendously put-together poster you designed for a friend will seem like a mistake that you just won’t be able to recover from, ever (but that is hardly ever the case, though).
This is a good thing.
Those small mistakes you make as a beginner designer will haunt you and prevent you from making them again in the future when the stakes are higher for you. Learning from these early mistakes is what’s going to make you a great designer.
3) Fresh Eyes
You might have good taste (which is probably why you’re a designer in the first place). However, you don’t really know what you like or don’t like yet. Which means you’re able to see design and think about design more open-mindedly. Your opinions are not rigid yet when you’re a beginner and you’re more willing to take risks and explore new solutions.
This “freshness” is an asset that you have to hold onto for as long as you can because it will fade sooner or later.
4) You Have Something to Prove
Having something to prove is a great motivator. Maybe you just want to prove to yourself that you can be great or to the people who doubted you. Maybe you just want to make mom and dad proud. In any case, that hunger to prove yourself is an asset that experienced and “proven” artists rarely have anymore in the same intensity and the same volume.
5) Freedom to Be Exactly the Designer You Want to Be
Again, not being held down by rigid ways of thinking or learning about design means you’re free to pursue exactly the kind of designer you want to be.
When you become a battle-hardened veteran creative, it gets much harder to stray from the formula that works for you and your clients. As with any job, the longer one does it, patterns begin to emerge and it becomes increasingly difficult to break from those patterns especially when they’ve been working for you. Beginners don’t have to worry about that yet.
While being a beginner is fantastic, unfortunately no one stays a beginner forever (and who would want that, anyway?). Being a beginner is a process; a transition period into being the designer you’re meant to be. And while most of us would probably rather skip all of the embarrassing and cringe-worthy moments that come with being a beginner, embracing this transition and leaning into your beginner status is something you’ll never be able to do again. So cherish it and learn from it while you still can… but don’t forget to move on be the fantastic designer you’ve always wanted to be.