I am a successful freelance web designer. I find client projects easy, I usually hit the nail on the head first time for 90% of the design work I do - regardless of what style it is: boutique cake shops, regional waste management companies, dog trainers, public healthcare services.

But when it comes to my own web design business website I can't decide on style, layout, typography, colour scheme, logo, image. I guess it's a form of designers' block.

Do any other designers have this problem? If so how do you overcome it?

2 Answers 2


Every designer has the problem, but...

That cake business, yeah you didn't get it right the first time. The dog trainer? Nope you didn't get it perfect either. You know what did happen? You got something up and running that was good enough. They don't care if the UX isn't flawless, the design isn't cutting edge, and the markup isn't beautiful... whatever that means.

They care about it getting done well enough so it looks professional and conveys their goals. You have to figure out what "good enough is" and follow their lead. If you obsess over every detail you'll never get anything up and running. Get something good enough up, you can improve later ( and improve does not mean tear down and start over).

  • thanks a lot that is really useful. Would you be bale to give any actual advice on overcoming that need for perfection - maybe I need a psychiatrist.
    – johncarter
    Jun 10, 2016 at 15:30

You hold yourself to a higher standard.

Rightly or wrongly, you hold yourself to a higher standard when working for yourself. If your clients are happy with the work then you are happy with the work, but your clients generally don't have the same eye for design as you do.

We probably all believe (consciously or not) that our own website, logo, branding and anything we put out there to represent ourself should be the very best of our work.

You don't need a design, you need a brand.

As a freelance designer, you are branding yourself. Whether you are presenting yourself as person or as a company, it is still you. The branding will reflect on you as a designer and as a person. Figuring out who you are, as a designer and as a person, isn't something everyone is comfortable with. Even if you are comfortable with that, that doesn't make it easy to honestly represent that.

Your brand and design needs to be truthful to who you are. You could design the best looking website and logo but if in your heart you know it doesn't represent who you are, it won't feel right and you rightly won't be happy with it.

A brand isn't a design, it is an idea.

My advice—take a step back and find out who you are. Forget about a website design or anything that specific to begin with. Creating a brand is like telling a story, and that story is your story. A brand isn't a logo, it is an idea. Start basic—who are you? What food do you like? What music do you listen to? What is your work ethic? It all adds up to a big picture of you. From that story you build an image of yourself and build your brand around that.

From there your website and business cards and whatever else will come easy.

  • Thanks for your answer, it's a positive way of thinking. I agree with what you are saying but at the same time there is a conflict between a personality and what is relevant and appealing to potential clients. "in your heart you know it doesn't represent who you are, it won't feel right and you rightly won't be happy with it." - That is certainly true, but I also feel if I am not attracting the right client with my style then there needs to be a compromise -and there in lies the problem. Do you have any practical tips on overcoming the need for self gratification?
    – johncarter
    Jun 10, 2016 at 15:34

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