Owning Your Work is More Important than Remembering Your Lines

By Alex Lewis

Owning Your Work is Better than Remembering Your Lines.

Sitting in front of my screen, I watched the animated presentation we’d put together for the re-brand of Reprezent, a youth led social enterprise. I was focused intently on the details, alignment, timings, and the last thing that was going through my mind was actually explaining why we’d done any of it. So when asked if I’d like to present my own work, I jumped at the opportunity, not entirely realizing what would be involved. A designer does not present their own work, at least, that’s what I’ve been told is the norm in the creative industry. Challenging the norm is something that I’ve come to expect working at Champion. With a busy afternoon and limited time to prep, I was shocked to see my colleague had written himself a script which he was memorizing in the back of a Zipcar as we headed to the client meeting. The sinking feeling of a serious lack or preparation hit me and before I knew it, it was time to take to the stage.

So there I am, stood in front of 150 young confident radio presenters from Reprezent, microphone in hand, shaking like a leaf. The animation began and the logo was revealed, the entire time I was watching the crowd tentatively trying to gauge their reaction. Everyone started clapping and cheering and immediately I’d realized why we had spent many hours trying to create a visual identity that we could be proud of. Even though I’d forgotten every single one of my rehearsed lines, I was able to string some sentences together and with each line I felt more confident in what I was saying and what it meant for the people who were listening. I was able to talk them through the reasoning and virtues behind the logo as well as have a little geek out about Gotham, the typeface we’d chosen.

Although the presentation practice was invaluable, the most important thing I learnt standing in front of all those people with my heart and work on my sleeve, is that nobody should be able to present your work better than yourself. It’s a scary prospect, but to stand and take responsibility for what you’ve created is so much more rewarding than handing it over to somebody else. More importantly, you can explain your concept, which means you have to have one. There’s no hiding behind excuses of ‘it looks good’ or some post rationalization babble. You have to have a solid concept and passion for what you’re creating because if you don’t, those 150 pairs of eyes fixed solely on you are going to see straight through it!

In future, I’m determined to present as many of my own ideas as possible, to keep challenging myself with things that are not the norm and most of all, to remember who I’m designing for. Presentation skills aside, owning your work is more important than remembering your lines.