Secrets to Success: Leading By Design Part I

In an effort to maintain a viable art-based business I must constantly strive to be on the cutting edge of product development and design.  In that respect, I’m obliged to consider what attributes play a part in the making of a successful designer. I’ve put forward some of my thoughts below.
  • Designing is a journey, not a destination.  A successful designer must continually update and evolve to remain trend forward, i.e., ahead of the trends.  Assuming you have embraced the journey, see point number two.
  • Once you have developed a following, you cannot expect to remain at the forefront if you become stagnant.  It can be tempting to rest on your laurels when you have experienced a measure of success but, even when you are on the right track, you will be run over if you are just sitting there.  Which leads into my next point.
  • No matter what you did yesterday, it is not good enough for tomorrow.  Everyone is looking for the latest show-stopping designs.  If you are only offering yesteryear’s finest, it may as well be week-old bread.  And on to point number four.
  • To lead, you must be willing to fail!  Not all designs will be winners.  Some may not even make it off the drawing board.  But if you don’t experiment and try new techniques your art will become stagnant; review point two as needed.  On a side note, I have to chuckle when some share their perception that everything I do is brilliant, gorgeous, etc.  I don't publish the ugly ones!  My failures work great as a learning experience and for kindling. You can interpret that as you wish, kindling to spark the fire of creativity and/or the wood stove; it's all good.
  • Sometimes you can be too far ahead of the crowd; be patient. Truly innovative ideas can take time to be embraced as they push people beyond their comfort zone.  Don’t give up!  If your art is truly unique and pleasing to behold, the demand will soon catch up.

Now that we have established that becoming stagnant is undesirable and a detriment to success, what say you?  Are there strategies you use to stay fresh?  In part two of my Leading By Design posts I’ll share some of my own.

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