As a key (but sometimes overlooked) tool in the designer’s toolkit, creative confidence is defined as the conviction that you can achieve what you set out to do. Whether that be inspiring change in your community or simply meeting your next deadline, we’ve put together a list of our five top tips to help you unlock your full creative potential.
Understand that failure is a natural part of the creative process. Don’t be afraid to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them as every iteration brings you closer to a better solution. As stated by design strategist Sam Nii Adjaidoo, “failure is a creative confidence ally since it provides access to possible problem areas and better alternative options.The more times we fail in the creative journey, the more we learn about the solutions that don’t work and the more chances we have to succeed.”
Creative confidence involves curiosity, seeking answers and asking difficult questions, so why not expand your sources of inspiration. Explore different design trends, tools, and techniques. Attend workshops, courses, and seminars to enhance your skills. As shared by Scott Belsky, Chief Strategy Officer at Adobe “creativity is not just the output, it is the inputs — the ideas and the ingenuity. It’s the judgment to know when something is good and when it’s done. It is the creative control to modify and iterate based on your fine-tuned intuition.”
Sometimes, limitations can lead to increased creativity. Embrace constraints as opportunities to think outside the box and find innovative solutions. Whether it’s a tight deadline, a limited budget or specific guidelines, these constraints can boost your confidence by demonstrating your ability to create within limitations. As the award-winning American industrial designer Mark Dziersk stated: “As counterintuitive as it might seem, innovation comes from a world of paradox — a world where it is constraint that sparks the genius of the designer, where the pressure of limits and demands provides a combustible combination of direction and inspiration.”
Like any skill, creativity improves with practice. Set aside dedicated time for creative exploration, whether it’s sketching, brainstorming or experimenting with new design tools and techniques. According to Tom Kelley, the best-selling co-author of Creative Confidence, “you break challenges down into small steps and then build confidence by succeeding on one after another. Creativity is something you practice, not just a talent you’re born with. The process may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but the discomfort quickly fades away and is replaced with new confidence and capabilities.”
Constructive feedback is your friend, so why not share your work with peers, mentors, and clients? Collaborating with others can provide fresh perspectives and insights that can inspire your creativity and help you refine your ideas. “Accepting feedback as constructive criticism will help you eventually see the faults in your work, and make you both a stronger designer and collaborator,” shares Fabricio Teixeira, Design Partner at Work & Co.