Sharing Work in Progress

Sharing work in progress with scribbled arrows on yellow background

Sharing your unfinished design work publicly can be nerve-wracking! It can be challenging to put something out into the world that’s not quite polished and perfect yet.

So why do it?

I created a sandbox, a low-stakes creative hub where I can post all of my work without worrying about being perfect. I recently started a series called typeLab where I post about my progress designing a typography magazine. Usually, I would wait until I had a finished portfolio-ready design with a curated case study about my design decisions. The downside of this is that it makes the design process look like a polished and linear outcome, instead of the messy ever-changing cycle that it is. When I first started out as a designer I was convinced that my design process should look like the curated portfolios I saw online, and it wasn’t until I gained more experience that I learned creativity is a process of trial and error. By sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly I hope I can help other beginner designers develop their own unique processes and break the invisible layer of online perfectionism.

Here are a few of the benefits of sharing your work-in-progress designs:

Getting Feedback

Firstly, you receive feedback from a whole community of people. This feedback can range from minor suggestions on color choices or typography to larger conceptual critiques that can help you take your design to the next level. It’s like having a team of people who are invested in your work. Sharing your in-progress design work publicly also allows you to learn from others. You get exposed to the work of other designers and see the design from different perspectives. Seeing the work of others can inspire you and teach you new techniques that you can apply to your own work.

Build an Audience

Sharing your in-progress design work publicly can also help you build your portfolio and showcase your skills to a wider audience. It can make you stand out in a crowded job market and demonstrate your design process and problem-solving skills, which are equally important as the final product. Sharing your in-progress design work publicly can also help you stay accountable and motivated to complete the project. When you share your work, you make a commitment to your community, which can help you stay motivated to see the project through to completion. You’re also accountable to your community, which can help you meet deadlines.

Overcoming the Fear

Overcoming the fear of sharing unfinished work can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that everyone starts somewhere. Your work isn’t a reflection of who you are as a person, it’s just a project. Take negative feedback constructively and remember that everyone makes mistakes. Starting small can help you overcome the fear of sharing unfinished work. Sharing small snippets or iterations of the project can help you get used to the idea of sharing your work publicly and build up the confidence to share larger pieces in the future. Consider sharing your work with a smaller, trusted group of people before sharing it with a wider audience.

In conclusion, sharing your in-progress design work publicly can be scary, but the benefits far outweigh the potential downsides. It can help you receive valuable feedback, learn from others, build your portfolio, and stay motivated to complete your project. Moreover, you will be helping to democratize the field of design by showing new designs that not all their work can or should be perfect, at the end of the day it’s about learning!

So, give it a try and watch yourself grow!

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