Flourishing as a self-taught UI/UX Designer

I've always been somewhat of a creative person, when I was young I used to draw and create art, characters, stories and just had a real passion of creating something out of nothing more than my imagine or a cool idea I wanted to visualise. I'm a very visual person too which I think is what would ultimately lend me down the road to becoming a UI/UX/Visual Designer. Although my story is probably quite different from yours, maybe you were doing something else before or you're just starting out and wondering if this is right for you or even possible, let me share my thoughts of what it's like being a self-taught designer and some of the things you can do to make your experience a little easier.

Becoming a self-taught UI/UX designer can be a challenging and rewarding journey. It requires a lot of dedication, hard work, and determination to succeed in this field. However, with the right approach and mindset, it is entirely possible to become a successful self-taught designer. It all starts with you. Figure out what your strengths and weakness are, are you a visual learner, or someone who needs a mentor or someone else to help guide you through things? While theory and reading up on things is important to get a sense of things I'm a big advocate for just getting into it and experimenting, at least for me the best way to learn something is to just do it, over and over again.

Learning a new skill can seem like a lot but in the beginning it's important not to overwhelm yourself and trying to learn everything all at once. Have fun with it, enjoy the process but most importantly, be consistent with it. I mean, there's always something new to learn in this industry, I'm still learning new things all the time even though I've been doing this professionally for almost 10 years.

Fundamentally It's about learning to develop a deep understanding of design principles and concepts over time, gradually as well as staying up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in the industry. Another important aspect of becoming a self-taught designer is to practice, practice, practice. This means working on variety of projects, whether for yourself or real-world projects for clients, and constantly iterating and improving your craft. It's also important to seek feedback from other designers, both self-taught and formally trained, as this can help you identify areas for improvement and learn new techniques and approaches.

Sure, there are technical skills and best practices to master, but at the end of the day, it's all about coming up with fresh, innovative ideas and bringing them to life. And let's be real, that's not always easy. But the great thing about being a self-taught designer is that you have the freedom to explore and experiment with different approaches and techniques. You can take risks and try new things without the constraints of a traditional design agency or corporate environment.

Of course, that freedom comes with its own set of challenges. As a self-taught designer, you have to be a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. You have to be able to market yourself and find your own clients, manage your own finances and business operations, and deal with all the other nitty-gritty stuff that goes into running a freelancing business. It can be overwhelming at times, but the rewards are worth it.

Now let's talk about some of the harder stuff. Even to this day sometimes dealing with clients can be a real challenge for self-taught designers like me. I understand most than most It can be difficult to give up some independence or creative agency to work with someone who is paying you for your expertise or even intimidating being expected to deliver a top-notch product. That's why regardless of your skill level It's important to establish clear communication and set expectations from the get-go, and to be open to feedback and revisions as it can really set you apart and honestly save you from a lot of headache. It's also crucial to be professional and respectful, even if you feel like a client is being a bit of a pain or limiting your creative freedom. Remember, they're paying for your expertise and experience, so it's important to listen to their needs and concerns while also offering your own insights and recommendations.

Everyone has their moments of creative block, and even as an experienced designer, I'm no exception. When I'm feeling stuck, I like to take a break and completely step away from any work related things for a bit. Sometimes, all it takes is a couple of hours away from any reminders of work or a chat with a friend to get my creative juices flowing again. Other times, I find it helpful to just sit and listen to music, watch something on tv or even just open up Figma and design something just for fun, completely unrelated to whatever I was doing to spark some ideas. This helps me brainstorm and explore different possibilities.

Staying fresh with ideas is an ongoing process every designer deals with. One way I like to do this is by participating in design challenges or exploring what the community has to offer, whether that's going on something like, Behance or Dribbble.

One of the things I love about being a self-taught designer is the sense of independence and self-direction it gives me. I get to choose my own projects and clients, and I have the freedom to set my own schedule and work on my own terms. This can be especially liberating if you're someone who doesn't thrive in a traditional 9-to-5 environment. But with that independence comes the need to be self-motivated and disciplined. It's up to you to make things happen and to keep your business running smoothly.

Another thing I've learned is the importance of being resourceful and working with what you have. You don't always have access to the latest and greatest tools and resources, and that's okay. By learning to make the most of what you have and being creative in your problem-solving, you can create some amazing work. It's also important to be relentless in your pursuit of knowledge and improvement. There will be setbacks and obstacles along the way, but by staying focused and determined, you can overcome them and keep moving forward.

Despite these challenges, I have found that the rewards of being a self-taught UI/UX designer are well worth the effort. I have had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects, and I have learned so much along the way. I have also had the freedom to work on my own terms and to create my own schedule, which has been incredibly rewarding. In conclusion, being any type of designer, including a UI/UX designer requires a real sense of passion, along with dedication, hard work, and being relentless. It can be challenging at times, but by staying curious, proactive, and open to new ideas, it is possible to succeed as a self-taught designer and build a successful career in this dynamic and rewarding field.