Getting a job in a creative field can feel stifling. You have your own unique style, but employers have their own ideas. However, you need your personal weirdness to keep those creative juices flowing.
Photo by mike krzeszak
As artist Becky Murphy explains, trying to conform your art to someone else’s style is a quick way to short-circuit your own creativity. Your ideas are part of what inspires you to do creative work in the first place. Even if your employer or clients don’t necessarily need the more “out there” things you think of, experiment with them to keep your mind loose and the ideas flowing:
I worked at a design firm with these guys who were really good. The ‘problem’ is that they were good at the stuff I wasn’t wired to do. I was frustrated I wasn’t as talented as them and that I wasn’t getting the kind of projects they were. Fast forward, and eventually I started REALLY embracing my goofy illustrative style, I started getting comfortable in my own drawing skin. Our boss started giving me the kind of projects that allowed me to draw monsters and make weird lettering. It wasn’t slick branding, but it was exactly what made my work come alive. We all excelled designing the way we were created to create. That shift helped me celebrate their successes (and not see them as failures).
Creativity isn’t a mechanical process. You can’t always just turn it on and force something brilliant to come out. Inspiration takes work, but forcing yourself into a box won’t do anyone any good. Don’t be afraid of your ideas. Who knows? Your boss may find the thing you were so worried about pitching to be the best thing ever.