The 100 Songs Rule for designers

Image: Radim's speaker fabric pattern design for X-Pop.

The smell, taste or the look of something new - whether it’s music, fashion or design style - can be very tempting. However, sometimes these influences can prove to be disruptive. How do you discover what type of work you want to focus on? You need to start somewhere.

In music, there’s a piece of advice for new bedroom producers: make 100 songs in as many styles, then you’ll know what you truly like and what you’re good at. Find yourself in one of these styles.

Ten years ago, I got my first proper graphic design job in a fairly small company, where I stayed for two and a half years. When I started, I was instantly thrown in at the deep end. I went to work on pretty much everything from flyers and brochures to gig posters, logos, stationery design and much more. This was just work for regular clients with regular expectations. At the beginning, I was wide-eyed and had the opportunity to learn on the job. I made a ton of mistakes that I quickly learned from.

Gradually, I started to mould the shape of my personal style. I stopped just getting the work done and began to enjoy my work even more. It took me roughly 800 pieces of work to realise what I liked, what I disliked, what I was good at and where I wanted to go next. This was my design incubation period. When I look back, it was the best possible way to find my true voice.

This was my equivalent of 100 songs. I kept playing, breaking and exploring, and eventually found the inner voice that helped me quit my job to go freelance.

Try everything at least once. Take your time and keep exploring.

This is an extract from Book of Ideas by Radim Malinic.  Order it on Amazon

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