My offer letter said "web designer." At the time, two and a half years ago, I protested. "I'm not a web designer. Just 'designer' is fine." Here I was, brought into a fledgling startup as the fourth employee, tasked with designing a product with zero product design experience. Designing and building websites by utilizing a lot of trial and error. Making user experience decisions based on my gut. And so far, hey, it's worked out.
So now that I've designed a platform that's used (and loved) by over 400 brands, would I call myself a product designer or interactive designer? No. It still feels weird to me. And that's because...here's my secret...I've been faking it the entire time.
But when does faking something turn into actually doing something?
I read this great article yesterday about how creative people feel "impostor syndrome," and it resonated with me. I've been waiting this entire time for someone to call me out. "You're not a REAL designer! You're just pretending! Boooo! BOOOOOOO!" And then tomatoes get thrown at my face.
How many years do I have to be doing this before I can confidently label myself? What books or articles can I read? What classes can I take? When will I finally feel like I've reached the "make it" part? Judging by the self-esteem issues I've endured my entire life, I can comfortably say, "never."
As I prepare to attend a conference tomorrow attended by some of the best, most talented product designers, whom I admire greatly, I feel the nerves churning in my tummy, awaiting that first tomato.
My only comfort comes in the fact that maybe, just maybe, everyone else is a phony too.