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You know that exciting feeling you get when you post a new design and the likes and comments start to roll in? It’s amazing! People are actually seeing your work and they’re liking it – it’s resonating!

But what if I told you it’s actually hindering your creative output? That you’re beginning to design for popularity rather than designing for a purpose?

Hey, I’m guilty myself! Early in my graphic design career, I would put out design work for the sake of likes from my peers. That’s great for getting practice and for putting something out in the world, but not if you have the wrong mindset about it.

As designers we have this misconception that the more likes you get on a design makes you a better designer.

“Man, that design has 500 likes! How can I get 500 likes on my work?!” Or, “Man, that guy is 10,000 followers successful! How do I become that successful?!”

That’s not how it works.

You can’t gauge success by the number of followers you have.

And at the end of the day, popularity is useless!

Your likes and followers don’t pay your bills it’s your work that pays the bills.

Let me break it to you – your work will suffer if you’re in it for likes on Dribbble or retweets from your peers, because you’re in it for the attention and not for solving a real problem.

Whether you like it or not, your intentions are evident. Make sure what you’re putting out is actually what you want people to see and know you as.

You want people to know that you’re a designer that can design with a solution—that you can actually work with clients and get the job done. Not just make a pretty design, because that’s what you felt like making.

If you want to be well-known and if you want to make a living with your work, then create work with meaning.

Whether you’re doing work for a client or you’re trying to build your own audience, it’s producing work with a meaning that will naturally and rapidly growing your online presence. That’s the mindset you need to grind out quality work with reason and to keep improving and then to ignore the numbers that don’t matter. For example, the number of likes you get on something or the amount of followers you have on Twitter. That will happen naturally as you create something with meaning.

Let me know in the comments below… Have you ever found yourself creating for the sake of likes? Don’t be ashamed of it, just be aware.

Freelance since 2011Proudly working in OhioProudly working in Ohio