It comes a moment in life when you will channel (almost) all of your energies in achieving a fundamental goal that will dictate how others will perceive YOU and how YOU will perceive the future YOU. For me, it has been a rollercoaster of emotions for the past decade, but finally, I can say I’m embracing a new journey in teaching what I know. Do I intend to “destroy” it? Of course! Until I can’t teach no more.
A few years back
Here’s a little bit of history on how the passion for teaching has begun. It all started more than a decade ago when I shared my design knowledge with a very good friend of mine. The result was a web design portfolio, which helped him get hired for the first time in a development company, as a web designer. His background consisted of being a waiter in a coffee shop. During that time I didn’t have a job. I was still a student in the Construction University, doing design gigs with a friend.
The feeling I had after my friend told me he got hired was ecstatic. It felt I did something right for someone. It felt I made the right choice to share my knowledge. I don’t know about you, but in my community at the time, I haven’t had a single person to talk to about design, to share thoughts, to understand the other person design idea. All I wanted to do, besides helping a friend out, was to exercise the knowledge I gained and hear his feedback. I wanted to see how he will respond to specific questions and how I will give better answers. I tried to play smart, I felt wiser than him regarding how much design I knew, so I leveraged that. In any case, the feeling I had, the happiness that surrounded me for his success stuck with me and probably will be there forever.
Life kicked in, and I got a job. At some point, I felt I knew some interesting things regarding design, but I didn’t have anyone to share them with. It was sad. I was the only designer in the company with no one to talk about design. So, I ceased some opportunities to bring in some friends who were willing to learn from me, and I started to teach web design and logo design as best as I could, with my deductions and methods. After the “course” was over, I had the exact same ecstatic feeling of accomplishment. It felt good. It felt even better to see the results in the people you trained. One of them got a new job because of that. I mean heck, it was amazing!
Eventually, I developed a way I could talk to people much more clearly, or at least this is how I felt. Many of them backed up this assumption, but I knew I wasn’t there yet and I wanted more. So, each time I had the chance to explain something to anyone, whether was on a walk, over a beer or a coffee, I would try to exercise my new skills and see where it will lead me. To be honest, I do this every day now.
In 2017 I needed to push further and wanted to teach what I learned, at least a part of it. The Honest Design Course was born. But why this name? First of all, it’s what I identify myself with – being honest. Honest in thought, true in action. I want to communicate that to all those who will take the course, or interact with me in any way. My mission is to help other designers leverage their skills and bring them together as an honest community. I’ve been there, in need of an honest opinion about my work and all I got was “yeah yeah, it’s so nice”. Everything I did was so nice; everybody loved it. But come on! There has to be something that can be done better. I was asking the wrong people. As I said I was not surrounded by other designers better than me (I wished I was), so I could learn from. It’s a tough place to be in, and it’s also a trap. Not being able to exchange ideas, compare yourself a bit with others better than you and see where you stand, learn from all of these, after a while, it’s easy to believe that you are the best and you’re at the top of the world. You’re blinded by yourself really.
Designers need approval; they need guidance and feedback to learn new things and climb the ladder quickly. I said “quickly” because they shouldn’t make the same mistakes you did, right? Time is valuable. I know problems that designers have, I’ve been there (and in some aspects I still have them). Lack of confidence, anxiety, disorganization, not having a clear process, not willing to put in the effort, trapped in their bubble, afraid to show their work, happy with little they have, not collaborating, not questioning enough and lots more.
I outlined the course in a way I could resolve a lot of these problems or at least create awareness to make the participants’ decisions much easier. In essence, I believe that design can be taught to anyone who is willing to learn and put on the effort. Creating this course became a personal goal that I wanted to achieve. I wanted to learn by teaching others. Let me emphasize “personal goal.” It became my focus, working on it every single day until it was finished. I wanted to see if I put myself under pressure what will it happen. Will I quit? Will I procrastinate? Will I reconsider? None of these happened. I wanted to be alone with my thoughts on creating all of this. Didn’t need or accepted any distractions. I wanted to prove to myself I can do it and do it right. Will I do it again? You’re damn right I will.
2018 is the year I challenged myself the hardest. Literally, I had no idea in which direction I was going, but I started working on my first online design course, that will be available for everyone in this world. It is an incredible journey. From now on my new mantra will be Learning by teaching others. Now I have the courage to adopt it.
Have a great productive day!