Yesterday I published the first part of my interview with Tim Hankins, a multidisciplinary designer of both physical and digital products. He loves developing new brands and extending or refreshing existing ones. The work he has done so far has impacted customers and fans of models, musicians, startups, consumer goods companies, and cultural institutions, among many others. You can read the first part here.
When I asked Tim ‘What have you learned over the years?‘, he told me the following:
TH: I gave a talk in Nashville a couple of years ago and I finished the talk with things I’ve learned over the years as a designer. I still have a lot to learn. But here are some of the things that have stayed with me over time:
- Attack every project like it’s the biggest thing you’ve ever worked on – or will ever work on. Commit to the idea and go. Every job matters no matter how big or small it is.
- Use good design as the gateway for your message. Bad design will turn people away from all the good you have to share. Good, informed design is inherently trustworthy. People are skeptical of something that looks void of any thought, skill or effort.
- Create an environment where you have the freedom to play with ideas and fail in the open. Great ideas aren’t typically created in a vacuum. Ask for an opinion from people you respect.
- Fear is of course a part of the process. Creating something new and different is scary. Fear of failure should not be a part of your process.
- Step away from the computer whenever you can. Use your hands more often. Make something.
- I used to be all digital, all the time, but I’ve drawn more in the last few years than I have in most of my time as a designer and I truly enjoy the experience of putting pencil to paper again whenever I can for a project. You should try it more often.
- Don’t get comfortable. Comfortable is easy. Comfortable is the path someone has already taken. If it feels uncomfortable you’re probably headed in the right direction. I’m always pushed to do my greatest work when I feel uncomfortable. Break it down and start over if you’re finding it too comfortable.
- Don’t expect to do your job well if your job is all you do. Learn a new skill or take up a hobby. Fail miserably at it, but don’t quit. Keep at it.
- I took it upon myself to learn how to take a decent photo with my camera. I knew I was doing it wrong, but once I learned just a little about how to actually use a camera I kept going because I truly enjoyed the process of experimentation and creating photos.
- Never stop learning. Never stop. You don’t know everything and don’t ever act like you do. If you did know everything, your job & life would be incredibly boring.
- Stay humble. Get rid of the ego. Don’t be an asshole. It’s not a good look.
- Finally, you must absolutely be authentic in your work. Without that, people will lose their trust in you. They will eventually figure it out if you’re faking it. Holding onto and building the trust you’ve created will always be key to your continuing success.
I believe that the best answer to a question is not always going to be the fastest or easiest answer.
Do give Tim a follow on his social media channels – Twitter – Instagram – Facebook – Website. He started a cool personal project on Instagram this year. He asked himself ‘how many different ways can I design a sun?’ So he set out to create a new graphic treatment of a sun every weekend. He was inspired after discovering Tad Carpenter’s beautiful project, but wanted to set a boundary for himself; He has to use the same color scheme for every design. It’s great to see how the styles of the sun has progressed. Definitely amazing to see!
Thank you Tim for this interview! Looking forward to see more of your work!
Credit pictures: Tim Hankins!