Like most people, a video game set me on my career path.
Just kidding. That’s probably not like most people, but it’s what I did (and I can’t be alone in that).
I played a game called EverQuest. Within that game was an active fan art community, which I became a part of. By learning how to create digital art for my EverQuest character, I was able to find something that I truly enjoyed doing and was hopeful I could find a way to design for a living.
And thus, I went on to pursue graphic design,
I also picked up some valuable lessons from my EverQuest days, which has helped me throughout my career so far.
It’s ok to draw inspiration from yourself.
If using my personal interest in a game to draw inspiration for my career path doesn’t qualify this statement, I don’t know what will. But, I have literally found inspiration for website designs and blog posts by simply looking at my own interests.
Concept development was never my strong suit. While others in my college design classes were able to come up with whimsical ideas for their projects with seemingly very little effort, I really struggled in this area.
However, looking at an assignment from the perspective of my own interest in a topic has helped me with this process. If I have a question about a product or service, I think it’s safe to say others do as well.
When designing a website, I’ll think about what I would like to know first about a product or service and go from there. I understand that not everyone is going to want to know the same things I want to know, or in the same order. But, this gives me a helpful jumping point when planning how content is delivered to a viewer.
Similar to developing a blog post. I think about the products or services and the overall goals of the business. Then I think, “what do I want to know about this?” This allows me to decide on a topic and begin my research.
Do everything with a purpose.
When I started making EverQuest fan art, I had some raw artistic talent, but I had no idea what the fundamentals of design were.
I felt limitless in my “creativity.” Adding elements to my work just because I thought it looked cool. What I didn’t consider at the time was that anything you add to a piece should have a reason for being there.
Because of this, I often felt less creative after I started college and was taught basic art and design fundamentals. I’m a rule follower to a fault sometimes, and my creativity took a hit when I was inundated with what my instructors wanted to see.
Eventually, I felt more comfortable creating pieces that fell just outside of the guidelines we used in school. To bring back a little bit of my EverQuest spunk.
I became comfortable with adding some personal flair to a design piece. Or, writing conversationally instead of formally. All without feeling like I was breaking a rule.
I’ve learned to trust my own personal style and become a more confident creator, so long as I do everything with a purpose.
Teamwork and collaboration will make you a better writer and designer.
I love collaborating with a team. Problem-solving with a group is my ideal working situation. However, group projects in college really sucked and honestly, taught me nothing about collaboration.
EverQuest taught me just about everything I needed to know about letting go and trusting your team. To get anything accomplished in that game, you had to be in a group and everyone had to do their part to succeed.
I truly believe that the success of the group outweighs the success of the individual.
When working on a team, you get the benefit of hearing other ideas, as well as having people help you develop your ideas. I find this process to be very rewarding.
Playing a silly video game taught me a lot about who I am creatively and professionally. While I haven’t played in years, it is a part of me that I look back on a reference frequently in my career.