Back to Top
Design Cuts

“Appreciate the genuine, real conversation – seriously chocked full of value. Looking forward to the next episode!”

Episode 6: Isolation as a Designer

Feeling isolated is something a lot of creatives go through, particularly if they’re working from home. How important is human contact as a designer? Is there a happy medium between a full-time office job or working from home alone? What are some effective ways to connect with like-minded people? How should your personality type dictate your work life? We cover all this and more in today’s episode of The Honest Designer’s Show.

Show Notes for This Episode:

[1.00] We’re all isolated
[2.00] Why your personality type dictates your level of isolation when working
[2.50] Ian’s experience working with a team
[3.15] Our collective desperation for human-connection
[4.00] Ian’s coffee breaks and Dustin’s loneliness!
[6.00] How Skype calls can help
[6.50] Adapting your situation around your mindset
[7.45] Ian escaping to London to get people time in
[9.15] Why face to face interaction matters
[10.30] Lisa’s tips for outside activities reducing isolation
[12.00] Lisa finding mental balance (talking to her pets!)
[13.20] The importance of making a non-work schedule
[14.15] Why you shouldn’t be one dimension with your interests
[15.20] Design conferences and communities
[17.20] Ian and Dustin meeting in real life at a conference
[18.30] How the average person has no idea what creatives do
[21.20] The importance of ‘doing you’
[22.20] There are options, and there can be a middle-ground
[23.30] Ian’s friend’s dad who was living the designer dream!
[24.40] The freedom of being a freelancer
[25.50] The benefits of working in an office
[29.30] How offices can also be bad for your mindset
[30.30] Why the atmosphere where you work is everything
[31.30] Dustin paying attention to his ‘biological rhythms’
[32.30] Dustin having the freedom to nap every day
[34.00] Lisa needing more balance and less isolation
[36.15] Lisa being a machine!
[38.20] How Lisa’s personality type is so determined and dedicated (dictating her work life set up)
[40.00] Being grateful for your work-life balance
[43.00] The importance of surrounding yourself with the right people
[45.30] Escaping from the daily routine

“A must for every creative freelancer (or those aspiring to freelance). Thank you for being so… honest! Such a wealth of information from people I admire who have ‘been there and done that’. Listening to the podcast every week feels like I’m among friends. Can’t wait for more episodes!”AG_GD

31 Lovely Comments from our Community:

  1. Ruth says:

    I bet this is not the first time you’re hearing this, but I have to say… I knew I was a designer. I sold myself as a designer. I made money from clients as a designer. But I didn’t feel completely validated as a designer until I started listening to your podcast. So much of my career has been working in corporate positions, within the administrative assistant group, and doing design and layout work for the associates (while also covering for the receptionist when she goes for lunch…). When I broke out and went freelance, I spent a lot of time doubting myself. Am I really an artist? Am I worth this money I’m asking for? I just work from home, flexible hours, when work comes my way. Am I a designer? When I listen, you are a talking to ME and addressing or discussing everything I go through or have doubts about. LOVE YOU GUYS! Oh yeah, and I talk to my dog (and myself) A LOT.

  2. Rena says:

    Tht’as going to make things a lot easier from here on out.

  3. Ruth says:

    I totally absolutely love the podcasts. I am not exactly a designer, but I’m finding everything you guys talk about so interesting and eye-opening and relevant. From about whether a formal education is key, to pricing, and isolation, client relationships… wow. I look forward to every show, and listening to you guys banter and talk about relatable relevant experiences. Thumbs up.

    • says:

      Hey Alana,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to give us your feedback!

      I’m really sorry to hear that you found this episode hard to follow! The 4 honest designer work very closely together and are so comfortable with one and other that their podcast recordings are often more like regular catch ups as opposed to formal discussions.

      Rest assured though, this has been noted by all of the team and as the show has had such a great response, they will definitely be more conscious of falling off topic in future 🙂

  4. Alana says:

    Was I the only one who found it hard to follow and listen because of all the joking around and side tracking that happened?
    I was hoping this would be a more serious and straight forward talk.

  5. Great fun, I really loved listening to this podcast whilst I worked, not only did I find it really helpful but it also frequently made me laugh out loud. To Lisa – yes I absolutely talk to my dogs, they’d be extremely upset with me if I didn’t! To Dustin – I couldn’t agree with you more, my afternoon nap is an essential part of my daily routine 🙂

    I think it’s made me realise that I really should make more effort to get out more, I’m one of those people who’d hate to have my computer taken away cos all my friends are in it! lol

    Many thanks to all of you for your time and input – keep ’em coming!

    Natalie 🙂

    • says:

      Hey Natalie,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave us a comment!

      I totally agree with you here- I almost feel like i’m there with them when I have them in my ears throughout the day which is pretty cool. And who doesn’t talk to their dogs? I mean, I don’t have any myself but when I see them in the street i’m the first to run over for a pet and to tell them how gorgeous they are 😀

      It’s lovely to hear that you are enjoying the show Natalie and rest assured, there’s plenty more coming 🙂

      • says:

        Hey Ruth,

        That’s awesome to hear thank you so much!

        The topics that the team cover can definitely be applied to a lot of things, not just design, so everyone is welcome to tune in and we are really glad that you have. We’ve got loads more to share with you and hope that we can continue to relate with you 🙂

  6. Tracey says:

    If for no other reason than to remind myself that I am not alone, I thoroughly enjoyed this podcast. I have been enjoying all of them, in fact. Thank you for posting them on your site!

    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks for commenting Lisa. It sounds like you’re in a similar boat to Dustin, with his young daughters. Great job on finding outside interests, that’s definitely a health approach, and that human connection is not just for extroverts, it’s necessary for most of us :).

      • Tom Ross says:

        Thanks for commenting Matt, I’m glad you enjoyed this episode. It’s all about finding your balance, and it sounds like you’ve got the self awareness to guide you on this. Good luck moving back to full time :).

  7. gabi says:

    Great show ! thank you for sharing your thoughts ! It really helps – good advices ! :))

  8. Matt says:

    Great discussion guys! I’m a freelance animator who is a bit of an introvert, so I do struggle a bit socially when I have to come out of my cave to interact with people. That never really happened when I worked full time in agencies, constantly being around a team, having lunch buddies etc. So I think I’ll be changing back to full time soon – I’ll miss the freedom of making my own hours, but being around others is so important.

    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks Wendy, that’s really appreciated :). Not to worry about the review, your lovely comment is motivation enough for us to keep going! I really hope that you continue to enjoy the show.

  9. Natalie says:

    I love this show. Seriously. YOU guys are my welcome relief from isolation!

  10. Suzanne Fleurbaaij says:

    I am a recent graduate of a web design/developer program and live in a remote area. Thank you for all of your advice. I especially enjoyed the isolation episode.

    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks a ton Becky, that’s so kind of you :). I hope you enjoying the upcoming episodes.

      • Tom Ross says:

        Aw thanks a lot Natalie, that’s so great to hear :). I hope you continue to enjoy the show!

        • Tom Ross says:

          Thanks Gabi, we really appreciate the kind words :).

          • Tom Ross says:

            Thanks so much Tracey! I’m thrilled you’re enjoying the podcast. I hope you’ll get value from the upcoming episodes, and please know that you’re not alone – we’re always here to help if you should need something.

  11. Lisa says:

    This is great 🙂 I’m listening while I work! I’m a self-employed graphic designer and at home ALL the time. I have two children and I find it hard to have ADULT conversations/interactions. I’ve made it a point to join a fitness gym and work out 5 days a week for one of the main purposes of SOCIALIZING with other adults. I’m mostly an introvert but I need that human connection 🙂

  12. Wendy says:

    Thank you for creating this show. I have enjoyed listening to all of the podcasts. I appreciate the open, honest, and direct perspectives that each of the contributors bring. I don’t have iTunes to follow or leave a review but if it ever comes to android I will.

    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks so much Mona, that means the world to us :). You’re definitely not alone, we’ve all been through what you’re feeling, and I hope this episode helped you to find some ways to overcome this isolation.

  13. becky.miles says:

    I look forward to listening every week. Love that it’s candid and honest…real. It’s inspiring!!

  14. Mona J says:

    I LOVE THIS SHOW!!!! Soooo good to know I’m now alone in all this!!! Been feeling like an alien for a while now with the isolation thing but hearing you guys talk about the same thing helped put things in perspective! Can’t wait for the next episode!

    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks a lot Jill, I’m so excited the show has been helping you and your party business. In terms of the camera, honestly, I’d say all 4 of us identify more as designers as opposed to photographers, so we may not be the best people equipped to answer this question.

      However, one thing I do believe is that it’s not about how fancy your equipment is, but rather what you do with it. It sounds like you’re already thinking along these lines, and I do think it’s wise to invest time in learning how to properly use your camera, come up with interesting compositions etc… rather than just throwing money at the latest shiny camera.

      The business man in me would also advocate that there are potentially wiser ways to spend your hard earned money as opposed to a flashy piece of kit. For example – hiring part time staff, advertising etc…

      I hope this helps :).

      • Tom Ross says:

        Thanks Suzanne, I’m so glad this episode resonated with you :). I hope you found some effective tips for overcoming your isolation.

  15. Jill Hayes says:

    Love your podcasts! I’ve been listening to the past few of them and they are wonderfully helpful for my home based handmade party business. I have a topic suggestion for a future podcast – just throwing it out here! I recently had to purchase a new camera for taking photos of my products for my website and five Etsy shops. I am NOT a photographer but I kept getting what seemed like all the wrong advice on which camera to buy??! A photographer friend almost talked me into spending around $600-$800 USD on a camera. After researching it more, I decided I did not need that type of an expensive pro camera! I would have had to take photography lessons to probably figure out how the heck to use it! Anyway, I just need a good inexpensive camera for product photos. Now, of course if I was a photographer, selling my photos on Etsy- that would be different- I would need a fancy, expensive camera. I went with basically the same Canon point and shoot camera I had with the newer version having some upgrades and more pixels (mine worked great for 3 years, but started having shutter problems- most likely because I dropped it, so I had to replace it). I got an Amazon deal for less then a $125.00. Crazy! I really almost spent way more than I needed to based on bad advice. Please help others with a round-table discussion of when and when not to buy an expensive camera for your business. Even graphic designers sometimes need to take photos of their designs- so it would certainly be a helpful podcast subject. Thanks much for all the great advice so far. I’ll keep listening! Jill Hayes

  16. Elise says:

    Your podcasts make me feel like maybe I AM actually a “Designer”as I have totally identified with the issues in each one, despite a lack official status through formal qualifications ! (as covered in a previous podcast!) thanks they are great, it’s like joining your team on coffee break!

    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks so much Elise, and take it from us, you ARE a designer! 🙂 Ultimately, the only badge of honour you need to prove your worth as a designer is to design stuff. If that’s what you love to do, you’re a designer. I’m thrilled the podcast is resonating with you so far, and all four of us really appreciate you tuning in each week.

Leave us a Comment