The Lonley designer

So for all you solo designers out there weather you are independent working out of you personal whole in the wall or at a company were you are the only ID person, what do you do to get feed back.

My problem right now is I have a series of sketches that I have completed and I am staring at them and cannot seem to get them to POP like I want. But there is no one here that I can show them to for a second set of eyes.

I am sure there are other situations were individuals have needed input from other designers but there are none around… so I thought i would start a thread to see if other peoples situations and what they do to over come them can .

Chevis W.

It’s tough. I’m a lone designer working at a very Technologically heavy speaker company. There really isn’t much of a way for me to get feedback on my work. Sometimes I feel a little stagnant, so I take a little time each day and sketch something for fun that can just get me back in to the “artsy” mindset and keep up my skills.

One thing that’s nice though is that when showing sketches to all the engineers that I work with, I can just scrawl something out that’s very poor (in my eyes), and they think its amazing, just cause its in perspective and understandable without tons of explaining.

There are simple and proven ways to discuss your work via internet: Skype and TeamViewer. I usualy ask trustworthy friends for advice (most often via internet). One is in engineering, another one in Business informatics.

I’d worry about the innovation and creativity in the design rather the “POP” in the sketches. Good ideas in napkin sketches are far more useful than flashy renderings.

I keep in touch with a lot of people I went to school with. If I have question or concerns about my work I usually will just running it by them. As long as there is no issues with the information such as they work for company X but I am doing work with there direct competitor.

For some though NDA’s would need to be in place to share images and information…

Innovation and creativity can come from a variety of personalities and professions… so I have no problem brainstorming with a group of engineers or with our clients. But getting feed back on how to make an image pop requires a different more specialized skill set.

But before anyone gets off tangent yes good design on a napkin sketch is more important then a flashy rendering, but there is a balance that needs to be achieved in a presentation. Especially once the design is approved and “flashy” pictures are asked for.


Lately I’ve been sketching on colored or grey paper, and using a white colored pencil to pop the highlights, and a black sharpie marker for heavy shadows and line density. The highlights really helped me express a form better and quicker than using white paper. There’s a sample on my coroflot page:

Glad to hear there are other one man design departments out there. Maybe we need our own forum page. :slight_smile:

Very nice sketch…

As for our own forum, I was thinking more like a “skype” “goto meeting” group were in we would all sign NDA’s and iff need be call together each other for critiques and thoughts. this is a thought in process…

I would love a one-person design department conference.

Chevis: I just show my stuff to people in the company. I have a good idea now who can understand my drawings and who can’t. Moreover, I usually have a specific sort of question: what’s our market? can we make this? what will this cost?

The thing that I miss the most about having other designers around is the sharing of new trends & culture. Designers are typically out in front of everything. The more you have in one place, the most opportunity you have to have these trends brought into the studio.

I’ve found that marketing knows what was popular last year and engineering knows how next year’s products will function. It’s only the designers that know what it will look like and how we will use it.

Really nice. Never really thought about it that way. I’ve just always assumed marketing and engineering are kinda in the dark when in comes to next level cultural trends.

You would think marketing would be on this more, but I think their judgment may be more focused on numbers. They know what HAS worked and look to consumer user groups for tomorrows trends. My experience at least.

It would be fun to force them into the streets a bit more. First hand experience with the “now” can be pretty powerful.

Sorry for the hi-jack…back to lonely designer topics…

I would be in on a lonely designer conference. I don’t exactly have a suggestion on how it could be held, besides skype or goto meeting, but I don’t want the idea to die out, so I’d like to show my support.

Lonely Designers sounds kinda pathetic. How about The Lone Wolf Designers from Hell. :smiling_imp: Or something just as snappy? Ideas?

OOooo… or like “Rouge Designers” or something. Maybe something with “Maverick” in it. (Top Gun Reference, not a John McCain reference)

Okay I will agree to the Maverick ref, but only if it is associated to James Garner from the western tv series.

James Garner!!! Pshaw… . all I can think of when I hear that is “Murphy’s Romance”… . . Maverick was eons ago.

Of course, so was “Wanted Dead or Alive”, but you want “Roque Designer”, I’ll give you rogue designer… .

But a much better candidate IMO; Richard Boone from his “Have Gun Will Travel” series; suave and debonair, well spoken, well-dressed, all business, experienced freelancer, and completely branded … the Man with a Marker … . . called Paladin, far, far, from home… …

Have Wacom, will travel.

Okay so a series of 3o - 60 minute lectures done via Goto webinare with a focus on Solo Designers within company’s in between each lecture their is a skills building session which would ideally provide you with new and effective tools to get your job done quicker and easier.

Lecture 1. How to grow your department of 1

Sketch demo

Lecture 2. Effective cross cultural communication amongst dept. “Design / Diplomat / Translator”

2d Render Demo

Lecture 3. Effective team building when you are a team of 1

3D modeling demo

Lecture 4. Becoming a champion for design "a voice of one amongst the masses

3D render demo

Lecture 5. The woes of a solo Designers and how to over come them

Concept sketch work flow demo

Lecture 6. Bursting the Bubble " how to ensure you do not isolate yourself"

Lecture 7. Strength in Numbers “or is there”

Okay so this would be a rough draft that would cover a 2 - 3 day event all virtual. The topics are things that I have personal expertise and experience with so it’s not to say that we can’t add more or modify these. The speakers if we were to have them would have to have personal experience and expertise in the topic that they talk about with the ability to site specific successful hurdles that they over came as a solo designer.

I’m starting to think big now so it just may be the meds kicking in. We could get sponsors / have prize give always (im sure core would promote/sponser…) And although the topics may directly apply to solo designers it’s not to say that any designer couldn’t log in and attend.

The whole thing would be recorded for future ref.

If you would be interested in presenting let me know your thoughts or if you have a topic you think would be ideal,

anyone can email me at

Army of One.

Chevis: I’m loving it. I’m gonna let this percolate, but if there is anything I can do, let me know.

it seems I’m stucked too I feel like I dont work with myself, I have a lack of imagination and I don’t know what to do about it. If there’s some tutorials pls let me know.