How we stand in front of our audience immediately reflects how we feel: insecure, confident, nervous, on the verge of flight, or joyful anticipation. But more importantly, our stance and posture directly affect ourselves.
A secure and firm stance means that both feet are shoulder-width apart. This automatically means that the knees are pushed through, and the back is straight. Through this stand, completely different energy flows in our bodies. Our voice becomes minimally deeper, our gaze more concentrated. Shoes with a stiff sole can support this, as we are not as flexible wearing them as soft sneakers.
With the firm stand, we give our body and our head the signal: Now it gets serious! We go into communication mode. We are facing the audience head-on. Our total concentration belongs to them, and we start to talk consciously and thoughtfully about what we have planned.
No matter how the audience perceives us, sympathetic, arrogant, friendly, or hardened, there is one thing we do not appear to be: insecure.
We all know that nagging feeling of procrastination when we put off a job, a study project, or a simple call to the tax office. The task is stuck in our head and keeps popping up, whether we wake up, work, watch a movie, or are at the gym.
The best solution is to just get it done. But sometimes, things get in the way and make it difficult or even impossible. There comes the point when we think about the task and feel more pressure to get it done than we did yesterday. Perhaps the client or professor has asked about the status, or the deadline of the tax office is about to expire.
Suddenly, an uncomfortable heat rises inside us that stirs us up. We should never ignore this moment. Our subconscious fires a final warning shot that we should listen to. It means that it is not too late yet… but it will be very soon. Even if our head could suppress or postpone it for a long time to do the task, our subconscious does not.
Maybe you don’t feel blessed with creative talent or are not yet exceptional in your skills. But there is a hack that allows us to see the world differently and with a new view. It allows us to see it through the eyes of an artist right here and now. Are you ready? Ok.
Look for something natural in your environment, for example, a cloud or a leaf. Your task now is:
How would you explain what you see to a blind person?
Give it a try. I will go into more detail in a future post.
Florian Schroeder (reproduced quote from his friend)
This quote contains everything required to give and receive criticism. When we create something, it is basically to be valued. Provided is the abstinence from laziness and that it is not intended to be destructive in nature. It is, first of all, a contribution and, therefore, something positive. It is unimportant at what level the creator is. A student, as well as a professional, both deserve a minimum of respect.
The most significant difference between school and a design and art degree is that it’s no longer primarily about getting good grades. Studying is about experimenting, developing joy and ambition in creative work, gaining new perspectives, and learning from others.
It may happen that our vision of a project does not match the professor’s vision. This is fine, as long as we have considered and tried out his objections and idea in the creative process. After all, the long experience of professors is a gold mine for us. The chance to benefit from them is a privilege. But design and art are harder to measure in their impact than a math path or a Spanish exam.
So instead of chasing good grades as usual while satisfying parents and teachers, it’s all about being creative. In this way, we come closer to our own voice and calling. This is what makes us interesting for future clients and job applications. Once we have achieved this, no one is interested in grades anymore.
Our portfolio should only present the works that we like to repeat. Especially as beginners, we tend to show everything we have created. We should definitely resist this. Especially if the response to one of our works was strikingly positive, but we felt little ambition and passion about the work itself. Being good at something does not obligate us to do it for life.
Goethe says, “I can’t get rid of the spirits I called.” If we are not careful, we find ourselves doing years of work that do not fulfill us. Our hands may do it well, but our heart longs for something else. This will not make us happy.
A small change can make much bigger changes happen in the future. That’s the idea behind the butterfly effect. Likewise, a minimal change in our daily routine can have a massive impact on our lives in the long run. The best part is that it doesn’t take much effort to drastically change our lives and achieve our goals. All it takes is some consistency and perseverance.
In his book “The Art of Game Design,” Jesse Schell writes about this formula. I read it in my 20s when I was thinking about becoming a game designer. Even though I eventually took a different path, I often think of passages from the book, especially this formula.
Originally it came from the experiential design of roller coasters and thrill rides and is a trademark of Sotto Studios. Horror movies, survival games, and even harmless pranks that scare our friends are based on this simple formula. This brief thrill and adrenaline rush are usually followed by relieved laughter. I think this is because we feel very alive at that moment.
There are always situations that can make us sweat. Even as designers and freelancers, whether it’s before client presentations, harsh criticism of our work, or when we feel that tasks are overwhelming us. In those moments, I try to think of this formula. Despite the external “threat,” we are never at real risk of losing our lives.
It helps me to take things a little easier. Stage fright and the tingling in the stomach before a presentation are exciting emotions. If I can suppress the initial panic and flight instinct, I start to enjoy it. This formula helps me do that because I realize that there is nothing that can really harm me.
Competition stimulates business is an old saying in economics. I had a D- (4- in Germany) in my Abitur in geography. But for some reason, I have not forgotten one thing: The agglomeration advantage. In retail, an agglomeration advantage is an increase in sales through spatial proximity to stores with a similar assortment or a similarly pursued pricing strategy (source: onpulson.com). A street full of restaurants and snack bars attracts the hungry. Even though each vendor is in competition, they all benefit equally.
Can it be a coincidence that some of mankind’s most significant artists lived in the same place in the same era? Names like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, or Botticelli ring bells even to the art philistine. The great masters learned with and from each other. And they were also in competition with each other. For example, Da Vinci found his personal and professional rival in the young Michelangelo. Both of them were commissioned in the early 1500s to each decorate a wall for the Florence’s Council Hall in the Palazzo della Signora with their art. The mere presence of the other will have affected and motivated them somehow. They will have benefited from it. How exciting it must have been to watch these two ambitious geniuses at work in direct comparison.
Our environment affects us, and we affect our environment. Depending on where we move or who we meet, the place and the people influence our path. For my studies in communication design, I moved to Dusseldorf, the fashion city par excellence. As a graphic design student with a passion for illustration, it’s no surprise that I ended up creating t-shirt graphics for fashion brands like Esprit while studying.
“Do it once to lose the fear of it. Do it twice to understand how it works. Do it three times to see if you even want to do it.”
To find your own style, a series of work on a particular subject is mainly, but not only valuable in illustration. Whether for the application portfolio for college or for the first job afterward. Series not only help us in our personal development, but they also say a lot about ourselves. More about this topic soon.
At first, it tastes bitter, and you want to spit it out. But once it is down, it works wonders.
This only applies to constructive criticism. Criticism has the sole purpose of bringing the criticized person closer to her goal. This can be during the logo design process, the realization of a business idea, or the improvement of shooting techniques in football.