Why designing for yourself is a goddamn nightmare

Mar 13, 2017

When it comes to crafting cool af design concepts for your clients, you’re a goddamn maestro. Inspired, creative, original … you’re a leader, not a follower.

But when it comes to designing something that even remotely does you and your brand justice … you freeze up like the proverbial deer confronted by not-a-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel headlights.

And even though it feels like a semi-trailer has hit you, you pick yourself up, wipe the blood from your lip and get to work anyway. Because you’re a boss lady. You’ve got this.

Or … do you?

Because designing for yourself is like wringing blood from a stone. Tortured artist doesn’t even begin to cover it. Heck, you’re even beginning to empathise with Van Gogh and the whole ear-cutting-offeth debacle.

Still, it needs to happen. You need to design something. And preferably something good.

So, what do you do?

How to do brilliant design work … for yourself

First of all, put on some grown-up clothes (PJ’s need not apply), grab a coffee and then follow these step-by-step instructions:


Write yourself a brief.

How do you ensure that you weave graphic design magic and create something you know your client will truly love? You nail their brief, that’s how.

It should be no different with your own business. You won’t know what you’re creating unless you know what you want. So treat yourself like a client and spend some time diving into what you want the final product to look and feel like. Don’t skip a step – do exactly what you ask your clients to do.

You’ll be surprised how effective it is! Hey, you have those processes in place for a reason, babe.


Why are you still scrolling through Pinterest? Come back here. Inspiration time is over, my friend.

Don’t get too caught up hunting down design inspiration. Cull your collection of inspo down to your top three looks and make sure you’re super clear on what you like about each style.

Then move away from the giant ‘P’ (for ‘Pinterest’, what were you thinking!).


Take your time.

Now that you have everything you need, it’s time to get started. Set yourself a reasonable deadline – the same you would with a client – and get to work.

I know it’s probably going to be a struggle first. And you’re likely going to sway between avid enthusiasm and procrastination central, but that’s totally cool.

Your deadline is flexible. Rome (& Oprah) wasn’t built in a day. You’ve got time to do this right.


Ask trusted designer pals for feedback.

Once you’re done (celebrating your awesomeness, naturally) and the dust has died, you’ll have a design with a big chunk of your heart and soul in it.

It’s around this time that you’ll probably look at what you’ve created and mutter, “Crap, is this actually any good?

When this inevitable insecurity hits you,tap out an email to one of your trusted designer pals or jump into the Designer Boss-Ladies facebook group hosted by me. Heck, send it to a few of them. Ask them what they think and how you might – if possible, because remember you are awesome – improve your design.


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