This week I read ‘Show your Work’ by Austin Kleon. It’s a great read that suggests ‘10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered.’ I like books like this because each chapter has actionable advice that leaves you feeling like you could take on the world! Practical chapters like ‘You don’t have to be a genius’ are encouraging for someone like myself who is trying to decide the best way to show my work.
It can be incredibly overwhelming sometimes when you look on Behance and see such amazing, beautifully curated pieces of design with over 100,000 likes in their first week! You can quickly feel inferior when you first start out posting your work online. It's shitty when you have to ask your sister to watch your latest YouTube video so it looks like one person has watched it!
In saying that no one is going to see your work if you are not there at all so the question is how, where and what to show? Kleon has a chapter called ‘Think process, not product’ which suggests we should focus more on the journey rather than the destination - ‘Become a documentarian of what you do’. Collecting content as you create (images of sketches, work in progress shots) means you will easily be able to post daily - which is the next step…
Posting daily seems like alot but not every post needs to be perfect (which is my main barrier to starting). It's important to get our work in front of others to see how they react. Like not being able to see the forest for the trees - being able to step back and show a stranger could lead to discoveries you never would’ve made working in isolation.
Kleon talks about ‘Turning your Flow into Stock’ which is an economic concept that writer Robin Sloan coined as a metaphor for media. Flow is what is shown on a daily basis, slowly creating interest and followers. Stock is the durable stuff, like the finished designs at the end of a project. The key is to maintain the flow while working on your stock in the background. If you can maintain regular posting you will hopefully open yourself up to like minded people who are happy to engage with your work and ideas in a positive way the you can hopefully do in return for them. This is how online communities start.
Another chapter that resonated with me was ‘Teach what you know’ - Share your trade secrets. It’s such an ingrained idea that you need to keep your skills and processes secret because if someone knows how you made something, then they would no longer need you. This idea has taken me longer to embrace than I’d like to admit but I took a step in the right direction this week.
I handed over designs for a social media campaign in Canva (which is frustrating as hell if you know how to use illustrator and photoshop) and Keynote. The client was unsure about some of the final images to be used so I set them up with everything they’d need to edit their own posts and created a Loom video explaining how to use each of the programs. While it may not sound groundbreaking, it's the first time I’ve handed over unfinished designs to be worked on more by the client - without me! It felt good. The job doesn’t get drawn out for my own vanity! And in doing so I hope the marketing manager I’ve been working with feels empowder to take full control of the campaign.