What I learned about myself as a designer in 2020

Hayley Smith
2 min readJan 3, 2021
Credit: GracieMariePhoto

2020 needs no further explanation. In the spirit of 2021, I’ve been reflecting on the year and trying to pull out some positives, so here are some positive things I learned about myself in regards to being a designer.

I’m not afraid to take chances on myself

Changing careers, following my gut, learning something new and exciting. It was a big year and I’m proud of myself for taking the many leaps I did, both personally and professionally.

Patience, especially with myself, is key.

Being a beginner is tough sometimes. It’s a bit of an ego check and it can be really frustrating. Software isn’t always intuitive (sometimes I forget a shortcut or don’t know how to manipulate it quite right) but it’s ok! Learning and building skills take time and effort. If you don’t put in those skills or time, it shows.

Critiques make you better.

Here’s one that was always a little bit of a slap in the face in a sales culture, but not in design! Your team, cohort, boss, etc are most likely advocating for the user or a more simplistic approach based on their experience. It is not a cut to your work, just an opportunity to make a design cleaner and more effective.

Empathy is everything

I wrote a blog post about this earlier, but it is still so important to include here too. In addition to empathy for users, empathy for stakeholders and the business is important too. Communicating design decisions and research is so much easier if you’re able to understand the different perspectives and fears at play.