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Are Designers bad at building their brand?

Earlier in the month while on holiday break, outside of spending time with my family, I took some time to reflect on myself, my lengthy career (16+ years), and the incredible journey it has been. In those moments of self-reflection, it occurred to me that while we (Designers) are incredible at building brands for others, we are often pretty bad at building our own brand. Myself included. 

Sound familiar?

If you were to search the web for yourself right now, I’m assuming most of us might not feel super confident that the search results accurately reflected our professional career up to this point or tell the story we want it to tell. After all, search engines are crawling at-will based on ML algorithms with fuzzy criteria along with loose definitions and rulesets deemed correct” by search providers.

Compound that with the high-chance you have lost work over time that can never be recovered. This due in part to the ephemeral nature of our craft (software always evolving and technology constantly changing), but more likely, it coming down to you not taking the time to archive or document achievements and work as it happened. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t practice this good hygiene like we should (me too).

For example, if you wanted to learn the full breadth of my work spanning across my whole career, I wouldn’t be able to do more than talk to most of it in brevity and high notes. Even then, it would be summed up to highlights with much of the interesting compelling parts missing.

Make the change

We are selling ourselves short. We are losing all those moments and achievements that have built us up to who we are, the growth we’ve undergone, and who we are becoming. Those meaningful moments where you create a huge impact for the business you work on, the co-workers you work with, and the customers you serve. They should all be captured to tell your story to the world and you should be owning that narrative.

By not actively sharing, we are leaving our story to be told by someone else or something else, in the case of search engine results. Maybe even worse than that, to never be told at all. This trivializes your history and might reduce your opportunities.

This isn’t meant to come off preachy. Moreso, a reminder for all Designers in Tech (myself included), new or seasoned, to do better, share more, and continue to build your brand. What will be your next steps for that?

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