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Pat Dryburgh

I’ve been working as a professional designer for just over 6 years now. I started at a small studio where I had the opportunity to work alongside gifted designers who helped me develop my skills. When I struck out on my own as a freelancer, I did so partly because I wanted the freedom to work on projects of my own choosing rather than having them handed down to me. While my independence certainly made the work I did much more interesting, it also left a bit of a gap in my design arsenal: a second set of eyes.

Working with the team at Perch gave me the best of both worlds—an interesting design challenge to sink my teeth into, and a team of talented and knowledgeable people who could provide a thoughtful critique to my work. While I was the only person in the company with “designer” in my job title, each team member played an integral role in how the product came to be designed.

Now that I’m freelancing again, I realize I bore easily. This has been both a blessing and a curse working in this industry. A blessing, because it’s forced me to take on multiple types of projects working in a variety of mediums, all of which have helped me become the designer I am today. A curse, because sometimes that boredom is derived from my own work; I can only look at the same design element for so long before my natural instinct is to want to look away and move on to the next thing.

Sometimes a project is expansive enough to allow for this type of hopscotching between sections. A mobile web app I’m working on right now has a plethora of views and interaction states to sink my teeth into, which means if I find myself stuck on one part of the app, I can whisk away to another section and come back when my mind has had time to unclog itself. But, if when I return my brain is unable to work through the muck, I’m left to my own devices.

Freelancing is a lonely life.

But, I’m slowly starting to work my way out of my self-imposed bubble. I’ve recently asked a couple of friends if they would look at things I’m working on, and their input has been invaluable. As someone who tends to take pride in his independence, I’m slowly learning that swallowing that pride and asking for help is of utmost importance, both to me and my clients.

If, like me, you find yourself alone, banging your head against the desk as a deadline looms and a design solution is seemingly miles out of reach, perhaps reaching out to a trusted friend (or random Internet person) will help bridge the gap.

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