In this week’s episode we talk all about competition in the design industry. There will always be other designers bidding for the attention of your current and potential clients, and it can be really easy to let this stress you out. However, it can also be empowering to realise that you’re ultimately in control of how much competition you encounter and how you react to this.

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Show Notes for This Episode:

[1:00] The Honest Designers are back with the first episode of 2018
[1:30] The hosts are giving Lisa a mention as she couldn’t take part in this episode
[2:00] We have a lot of exciting things prepared for you this year: listener’s questions, guests on the show etc.
[2:30] The show is fast approaching its 50th episode
[3:00] In this week’s episode we talk about the mindset of approaching competition
[3:30] This is highly dependent on your personal situation
[4:30] The hosts discuss Ian’s popularity in the design world
[5:30] Ian gets to do a lot of exciting things, like travel, but wonders if this will bring financial gains too
[6:00] Dustin thinks Ian has a lot of competition as calligraphy is a very competitive field
[6:30] The interest in the hand lettering trend has been increasing a lot in the past year
[7:10] The competition is increasing in the calligraphy and hand lettering fields
[8:00] Ian is trying to stand out using his personality and creating original work
[8:45] Social media is like a web – every piece of content will get some traction
[9:15] Everyone needs to carve out their little piece of the internet
[10:30] With the competition increasing, Ian noticed a lot of more calligraphy feeds on his social media and thinks this affected the traction his posts are getting
[11:00] Competition forces people to up their game and increase quality in their field
[11:50] Not everyone can make it to the top
[12:30] There are a lot of things you can do to surpass your competition
[13:00] Designer’s work is subjective and it’s hard to rank designers
[14:00] As opposite to other industries, you can make a living being in the long tail of design
[14:30] Even if not many people know of you, you can still sell your designs and make a living
[15:00] Ian gives the example of Ed Sheeran aiming to be No.1 everywhere in the world
[15:45] Sometimes it’s really hard to separate the craft from the business part
[16:30] You will care more about competition when you’re making a living out of your hobby
[17:30] And pay more attention to the opportunities you’ve had compared to others in your field
[18:00] Dustin’s ‘edge craft’ example from Seth Godin’s book “The Prize Inside”
[19:00] Dustin started focusing on Mid Century American retro design
[19:30] Ian is releasing a lot of design work on Procreate
[20:30] Ian will always be remembered as the designer who did lettering with vegetables
[21:00] Tom has a funny idea of Ian doing hand lettering with the iPad, but using the actual device as the hand lettering tool
[22:00] Ian believes that by planting your flag too far out on the edge, you might miss on the money as there is no business there
[23:20] he always brings a spark of his personality in his design work
[24:00] It took Ian 34 years of trying a lot of stuff before he went into calligraphy
[24:40] You can do all the fun and random stuff but make sure there is substance in your work
[25:30] You don’t have to fix yourself on the spectrum of work, you can be flexible and adjust your place depending on where your competition is
[26:30] Be more deliberate and check how much competition is in your niche and if that is the place where you want to be
[27:30] Amplify the parts of you that are unique
[28:00] The success of Dina Rodriguez and how much her personality stands out
[29:00] Be authentic in your work and show your true personality
[30:20] When things become popular they lose some of their value
[33:00] If you add a story to your post it will resonate with people more
[34:50] You need to learn to react to your competition, evolve and find new angles
[36:40] Find the thing about yourself that is special and hard for others to duplicate
[38:00] How do you stand out when everyone is screaming for attention?
[39:00] Some designers want to niche down while others want to do a variety of work
[40:00] Dustin is keen on finding out from designers that haven’t niched down and been successful
[40:40] Tom gives the example of brand agencies that do diverse work
[41:40] There is a difference between big agencies and one individual
[42:30] Make it clear for your clients that you want to do the whole package
[43:40] Think of three things you want to do and highlight those
[44:30] Every time you make a decision regarding your design work your competition is less
[45:10] The example of Steven Snow who did website design for churches
[46:00] You can always change what you are doing and how this will impact your competition levels
[47:00] Ian felt guilty that he didn’t like many different types of design
[47:45] A successful design career comes from combining your self awareness with the market awareness
[50:50] Dustin dreamed of being a singer when he was in a band, but gave up as he realised he wasn’t very good at it
[51:30] There are things that you are naturally gifted at and things you learn
[53:30] Now everyone has the ability of becoming an Olympic athlete
[54:15] Dustin doubled down on his strengths and got other people to help with things he wasn’t good at
[55:00] Quick fire round of tips on competition
[55:20] You can choose where to plant your flag and move it anytime you want
[55:40] Be aware that more money means more competition
[55:50] The more you niche down, the less competition there is
[56:30] You can always layer on top of what you’re doing
[57:00] Don’t try to photocopy your competitor
[57:30] Be aware of your market but be more
[57:50] Think of ways you can constantly innovate
[58:30] If you keep looking behind you, you’ll use track of where you’re going
[59:00] Thanks so much for listening to this week’s episode

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