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I'm a self-learning graphic designer. I work with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign and I thought I was doing fine until I got this big shock at work. I've been working for a year at some web design company and just now they tell me I'm inexperienced and that I failed with the task that I've been assigned to me.

Now from my perspective, I want to know how to sharpen my talent. I know I have the talent, but I think I maybe missed some basic concepts and principles which I would have studied had I attended the a graphic design school. I want to spot my weaknesses and I desperately need a good mentor who is willing to help me find them and guide me in fixing them.

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    I think your first step should be to ask them where they think you fell short. Once you know your weaknesses, then you can work on strengthening those aspects of your designing. – Manly Oct 15 '14 at 19:22
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    After a year??? Honestly, if it's been an on-going issue then the company is at fault for not bringing it up. If it's just something new which you've discovered you don't know how to do... then everyone requires training -- even experienced long term employees. Are you sure this wasn't merely an excuse to not give you a raise? Or to terminate your position? – Scott Oct 15 '14 at 20:28
  • You've brought an important point Scott thank you, I do believe part of it is to throw their mistake on my back and so not to have to give me a raise. But I also know I have some weaknesses that I need to spot to be able to work on. – Odor Of Jasmine Oct 15 '14 at 21:33
  • Also see here: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/53570/… – Scott May 14 '15 at 20:00
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Well among what could be many answers—right here.

We're all different levels of experience, and in different aspects of graphic design. Some more web, others more print, others more technical drawings, etc... But we're all here to help people just like you (and each other, because we don't know everything either).

I agree with John Manly's comment. You should ask them where you fell short. Was it on creativity? On something technical? Was it riddled with typos? Poor alignment? Not print ready? What exactly was the issue?

Barring that, ask us. You'll have to be willing and able to show your work. Might want to edit out any information you don't want us knowing such as address or telephone number.

We do allow Critique Questions, but please read our guidelines, and follow them:

Guidelines for critique questions


New and exciting

We have introduced a place for people to post whatever random piece they want to let people comment and discuss on: Post your Work In Progress (FKA: The Looking Glass)


We're also fairly welcoming in our chatroom, Ink Spot. You only need 20 rep to chat, which you have already exceeded. Come on in, the water's fine.


Alternatively the AIGA Mentorship

Some Chapters of the AIGA have started offering Mentorship programs. I believe you must be a member yourself, and apply. Here's the link: http://www.aiga.org/mentorship-programs/

  • Solid answer Ryan! – Jenna Oct 15 '14 at 19:57
  • Thank you Ryan, I will make sure to have their comments and share with you guys. I'm also okay with sharing some of my work and see what think. Thanks for insuring me that it's normal and that it can be fixed. – Odor Of Jasmine Oct 15 '14 at 21:39
  • I'm a wee bit late to the party, but wouldn't this Q&A be better off on Graphic Design Meta? The answers read very much meta anyway ;-) – Mathieu Guindon Apr 12 '18 at 3:12
  • @MathieuGuindon Since Meta is for questions and answers about the workings of the main site, no, this would not be better suited on Meta. – PieBie Sep 13 at 14:39
  • @PieBie IDK, to me a question whose answer links to meta Q&A and main-site chat while covering a subject that is tangentially related to the main-site subject matter, sounds a lot like meta to me. But, your site, your rules. Cheers! – Mathieu Guindon Sep 13 at 14:43
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This is very good question, regardless the weakness in your company. giving you no training plan that steps together with your career path.

You said "I failed with the task that I've been assigned to me" .. this statement stopped me ... how a designer fails in an assigned task? does your design are bad? or you just spent so many time doing your job? where exactly your fail is?? your statement is a fussy one. you should ask your company about your exact fail.

Anyway ... the important question is "how to sharpen your talent?" this is not an easy question to answer but I will try.

Actually there is no way to sharp your talent but to work and work and do more work. train your "third eye" the eye of the wisdom.

In the beginning of the renaissance age. "Philibert de L'Orme" a French Architect has drawn two illustration hereunder showing a "bad architect" and a "good architect" .. I will explain that based on my background and as an approach to answer your question.

The "Bad Architect" illustration shows a blind homeless man with no hands lost in a Goth land and the style of the buildings in the background are Gothic. The Style which was representing the dark ages and ignorance.

enter image description here

The "Good Architect" illustrations show a wise man that walk in a paradise with classical style land having four hands and a third eye Above his forehead and give advises to a young man most probably a disciple.

enter image description here

What "de L'Orme" whated is a revolution over the old Gothic architectural style with a symbolic and philosophic way.

The Good Architect have 4 hands that's mean he works so hard, having a third eye mean he is enlightened -the third eye by the way exist in the old Indiana culture representing the enlightenment eye of Buddha.

Anyway What I want to say, you must work hard as if you have 4 hands and train your mind for observation. be a good observer. and once you did you will look into the same things of ordinary people see but in a different way. and be sure that everything you do, there is so many ways to do faster and better. design is an endless process.

you should do the 3L's (Look, Listen and learn)

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    Verey interesting tale! – Rafael May 15 '15 at 0:59
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Some issues here.

You need to separate where your flaws are.

  • Are they technical? Specific for web design?

  • Are they as part of the process? Are the web design flaws to the next step in the process?

  • Are they of methodology? Do you have a good method and it shows the result?

  • Are they of creative nature?

  • Are they in the fine detail? Do your design look cheap, or not "concluded"?

When someone make a critique, including your "boss" you need to ask what they mean or in what part there is the inexperience or fail.


Ryan mentioned to have critique here. Do it.

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