Month two as a design intern: Lessons in perfectionism
by Man-Ping Wu
Two months have flown by and I've had more responsibilities added to my plate as I train to become an efficient and more creative designer.
It is both overwhelming and exciting (especially given the surrounding global crisis) but once I got into the groove with set routines and expectations, I’ve felt more empowered and have learned more about myself. I’ve also learned some foundational practices I know I’ll take with me to every design job after this one.
Perfectionism is the enemy
One of my biggest insights so far in this internship is that perfectionism is my Achilles’ heel, and it influences every area of my work. Most significantly: It slows me down.
At the beginning of my internship, I was always concerned about overstepping my boundaries and living up to my team’s high standards. Looking back now, those hesitations and concerns only did me a disservice.
I soon learned I had to shift my mindset and look at each task as an opportunity to level up as a designer. Right now during this internship, the process is the journey. Recognizing this instead of focusing on the end result removed some pressure. Once I realized this, I welcomed each new challenge with a smile on my face.
Before, I would get mentally stuck on one idea or task as I tried to perfect it. Now I know creating ten different not-so-perfectly executed versions gets me much much further, faster. It gives me and my team a place to work from, rather than sending me down a deep hole of perfectionism.
Working with this team has helped me overcome my overthinking, perfectionist nature and “just do it.” Day by day, I am becoming a more confident designer.
Organization is underrated
This may sound like a no brainer, but not everyone on your team will understand your method of personal organization. And when you’re working with a team, you need to work within a system that makes sense to everyone.
While working on a recent article for DESK, I named the files to be quick and simple with numbers and letters. I didn’t realize how unclear and vague it was until my team kept asking me where to find assets. In trying to save time with simple naming, I created more work for myself and my team.
More than anything, naming and organization should be consistent. It streamlines the process for everyone and circumvents unnecessary mistakes and wasted time.
Save everything. Everything.
Designing DESK covers has been the perfect challenge to design within a constraint. It’s taught me to experiment and be creative within the guidelines of a brand and timeline.
After experimenting with several versions, a final cover is decided to be published. My automatic Virgo mentally at this point is to delete previous versions to make the Figma file feel more clean and organized. I’ve since learned it pays to save the “rejected ideas.” You never know what might be useful as a reference or work perfectly for a future project, or whether you’ll need a certain element from one iteration. It may only be the use of typeface or a certain color combination, but it’s a springboard to work from.
No matter how crazy or far from the brief a concept is, my new motto is that it's better to be safe than sorry. Especially when any design tool or app we use now offers essentially unlimited space.
This second month was a little lonely and scary with unexpected quarantine and social distancing, however working with the HOVS teams is a reminder how lucky I am. Lucky to have the luxury to work remotely from home and feeling productive to distract myself from the news.
In the upcoming final month, I hope to become a confident designer and proud to take on the world, making the most of my last month as a member of the HOVS team. Lastly, to constantly remind myself to be in the right mindset by being optimistic and empathic – to myself and others – because we need more of that in the world right now.