Recently, I came to the realization that I have to let go of the idea of achieving perfection, in order to increase my productivity as an artist and designer.
Although I wrote briefly about this topic in my blog post: 5 Lessons I Learned From Architecture School, to be honest, I still struggle with letting go of the idea of perfection. It didn’t resonate with me that I had a serious problem with letting go of perfectionism, until, I failed to complete a project I had been working on, because I was unhappy with the results.
For the past three weeks, I have been working on a project for an international design contest. Although I won’t mention the name of the design contest, the design contest required that I create a packaging design concept that could be used as a tool to solve an important social issue.
Here is a short overview of my packaging design concept that I planned on submitting:
I decided to create a packaging design concept that could be used as a tool to combat hate and bigotry running rampant in the United States and around the world.
The main idea of my project was that people from around the world could use sticky notes to exchange ideas, and inspire each other to unite and connect.
The packaging design would consist of artwork and quotes.
Throughout the design process, I spent a lot of my time focusing on the small details. I wanted to produce the best work possible for this competition.
However, the closer I came to the deadline, the more I started to realize that I didn’t have enough time to create my best work. I was going to go ahead and rush through the the project so I could submit something for the sake of submitting something, unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was unhappy with how the project was turning out, and didn’t want to stamp my name on something that was unpolished or incomplete.
When the deadline for the project expired, I remember feeling devastated. I felt like I had let myself down. I could never get back the amount of time and energy I spent working on this project.
A silver lining
Even though I disappointed myself, at least, I learned a valuable lesson about the consequences of striving for perfection.
Like I wrote in my previous blog post from a few weeks ago, there is no such thing as perfect. If you go into a creative project with the mindset of creating something perfect, you will beat yourself up when you don’t achieve a certain design quality or standard. While I do believe it is important to work hard to create your best work, sometimes, its just better to have something done than “perfect.” If you continue to practice perfectionism in your design work, you will be doing yourself a huge disservice.
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