Taking the Personal out of the Professional

Every creative finds themselves in an interesting position. Whether you’re a designer, developer, or entrepreneur – you’re creating something – and creating things is personal.

It’s a difficult balance, right? Inevitably there will be a time where your UI is not meant for the Louvre, your client will hate it, and you’ll feel like a piece of garbage. Other days you’ll feel like a psychic, reading your customer’s mind, knocking a clickable prototype design right out of the park like you belong in the MLB. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think I’m alone here.



If you’re anything like me, you need some help taking the personal out of the professional. Despite my own belief at times, it is possible to care incredibly deeply about your creative work, and be okay with criticism. Consider this a pep talk.

Below I’ve identified a couple ways to combat the unpredictable pit in your creative stomach.


This one is self explanatory. Your mockups and logo options aren’t about you. Ultimately you are Gandalf leading your client to good design. Remember: they are looking to you for help. You are the expert. Feel the confidence of being the designer they trusted with their ideas.

Is your client being a grump? Guess what: that’s not about you either! Take a deep breath, smile, and create good work.


It’s a bummer when I hear other designers seeing one another as competition. If you’re the type of person who tends to lean towards this idea, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. There’s plenty of work to go around

2. You have so much in common!

We all need encouragement, and let’s be real: your friends in sales and accounting don’t give a crap about your new Photoshop plugin. Go to Creative Mornings, join AIGA, go to the Meetups. Engage and find events that inspire you. No one has ever become a better designer by wearing a frowny face, sizing up the creatives they know on Dribbble.

I’ll conclude by offering you a moment to take a deep breath.

Being a creative offers so many amazing opportunities. Don’t take it so personally, enjoy the freedom making things. There’s a reason revisions exist. Surround yourself with people that are on the grind with you, and don’t forget to celebrate wins with a good brew.


Kandace Parker
Kandace Parker