5 Things I Didn't Expect Brandcenter to Teach Me
Updated: Apr 15
What drew me to Brandcenter was a desire to create designs with a strong, strategic basis - which is why I began Brandcenter as a strategist. I had my degree in graphic design, I'd worked as a graphic designer and I knew something was missing from my process - something that would make it more relevant and beneficial to the users of the design. I loved strategy - but I needed more opportunities to shape my design process and sharpen my design skills. So, one semester into Brandcenter I switched to Experience Design.
That in itself taught me a lot! So I decided I'd share some of those lessons here!
#1 It's okay to pivot.
Sometimes your first thought or idea ... or even your 100th idea just isn't it - and that's okay! If it's fitting like a sweater that's shrunk in the wash, it may be time to change the plan - or outfit in this metaphor. That said...
#2 That doesn't mean it's going to be easy!
My parents always taught me that nothing worth having comes easily. Even more so when you feel like you're a pace behind and need to catch up. Pivoting might be the right decision - but being right and easy aren't the same thing.
In fact, I've personally found they are often at odds. So much of the work at Brandcenter is team-driven, having to quickly acclimate to new people and new processes and a new way of thinking was exhausting. Worth it - but so hard!
#3 Self-doubt is unproductive - just be wrong, confused, clueless and dive in.
I hear it over and over and over that imposter syndrome never really goes away. Which is as reassuring as it is disheartening, especially for someone like me. I love being organized, I love doing the legwork, I love feeling prepared and competent.
But the truth is you don't know what you don't know. This is more of a habit than a lesson - but I constantly remind myself that self-doubt is passive and unproductive. Forget self-doubt and dive in, actively engage! You might be wrong, you might be confused or feel clueless at times but that's part of learning.
#4 Eat, Sleep, Exercise - Do human stuff and work in between.
This one seems so, so, so simple. Humans do human stuff to survive and I, as a human, should do human stuff to survive. My first 2 semesters of Brandcenter were so often spent "too busy to eat", working until 11 pm or later - and once the pandemic started, planted in front of a screen for more than 10 hours a day.
It starts to affect your health (the most important thing) and then of course it's going to affect the precious work you're dismissing your health for. We love a manic maker that forsakes everything to make a thing - that's great about 4 times a year. Once a month depending on the circumstances. Not daily.
#5 A good team is worlds better than being solo.
Pre-Brandcenter we'd all had the experience of carrying a team to the finish line on a group project. I think everyone has done that at least once. Not having to do that because everyone on your team is ready and proactive was like entering another world and totally changed how I see group projects. Even as someone who leans more introvert than extrovert, I can't deny the special magic that happens when you've got the right people working on the right project.