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What sets the criteria for “good” design? Is there such thing as “good” design or is it in the eye of the designer or viewer? Aesthetic questions are personal to the designer, client and audience — the answers will always be subjective and unclear. So how should your work be evaluated? Instead of focusing on descriptive words, I usually ask myself, How to I measure my level of success as a designer?

1. Is the client happy?

While it’s hard enough yourself and even more difficult to please the whole world, especially other designer’s, aim to please the client. If your client’s not happy, then your in trouble and you’re not doing your job.

You risk the possibility of loosing the client for future work, not being paid for your work, not gaining referrals… the list goes on — and those things are never “good”.

Also note that it is important to make sure their happy and not just assume so. Ask for their feedback or testimonials.

2. Am I happy with the level of my own work?

The way I measure my overall happiness of my work is by asking, “Am I taking steps to becoming a better designer and working towards improving my skills? Have I improved from last year? Do I learn from my mistakes?”

I know first hand that being pleased with your own work is extremely hard, but in my opinion this is a good thing. It should give us the motivation to improve and become better designers… thus making us happier designers and more satisfied with our own level of work. 🙂

If you feel there’s room for improvement (and there always is!) and not working towards it, then you fail in terms of measuring your own level of work as a designer.

3. Are your jobs profitable?

Are the jobs you’re taking on earning you exposure, as well as a steady income? Without gaining the proper exposure and recognition you cannot succeed as a independent designer, or any business for that matter. I’ve competed for plenty of jobs where I’ve low-balled my price in order to gain a client that would gain me better recognition and more work in the end.

4. Are your designs serving its purpose?

Is your work attracting attention? Does it communicate a message to the target audience? In a world where everything is evaluated by the level of it’s success, so is design. You can have the “best” designs in the world, but what good is it if it doesn’t attract attention and capture an audience?

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