The Web Witch's Blog

Imposter Syndrome Driven Design and a Bedfordshire Clanger

The past few days have been incredibly stressful for me with more bureaucratic processes and paperwork. I can feel the stress sitting in my body despite my morning routine of yoga.

It's a necessary bureaucratic process that is now nearly complete (hooray!) but the stress is likely also coming from not being able to spend time working on other things because I'm so worn out by the end of the day. (Also the Arizona heat, despite cooling down to highs of 85F, is really terrible for me and sleeping well.)

There are side projects calling my name, ones I really want to work on (hullo Neu CSS Tricks). I'm in the process of updating my resume to be tailored more toward the two careers I'm targeting. Everything is in process and nothing is done and that's not a terribly good feeling with the year I've had.

I've been falling back to explore my roots in design because my portfolio is sparse due to focusing on product management the last few years. I've been enjoying working with freelance clients the past few months and enjoy having a creative outlet again.

But my imposter syndrome is rearing its ugly, terrible head as I relearn how to use my design muscles. And everything is in progress and nothing is done. In the case, there's nothing I can show, nothing I can add to a portfolio.

There's this anxious energy driving me from within because I want to create, but not with code, not right now. I want to design. "I can still design, I'm still a designer!"

A product manager with design skills or a designer with product management skills? Does it matter? I'm not sure, but I just need to design something to squash the imposter syndrome gnawing at my insecurities in my job search.

A Bedfordshire Clanger enters the chat. I don't know why. But this is where my mind goes.

It's a speciality pastry made in Bedforshire, dating back to the 19th century. Jhey's mentioned it to me and the last time we drove by the bakery on the High Street in Bedford, I saw that it had closed. "Home of the Bedfordshire Clanger" it said on the window. This is what I want to design a logo for. A badge. Logotype. Identity.

Something different from all the developer focused stuff. Something to remind me, that I can design. That I'm capable of working with type and color. And it just sounds cool. Something worthy of its own logo.

I want something that feels a little but old style but still modern, and fueled by imposter syndrome I start designing. It's a relief when I get the fourth one done. It's a quick exercise. And I can feel a little bit of stress leave my body. It's a first pass but...hey I can still design. I have something that's done.

alt: Four variations of a logo for a Bedfordshire Clanger. The logos all have a variation of the same phrase - Traditional Bedfordshire Clanger, Since 1800.

I don't have my printmaking supplies. I don't have my art box. I have a pen, a notebook and a laptop with Adobe Creative Suite though and that's enough to get rid of this creative energy and shoo the imposter syndrome away.

Sometimes you just need to get something out and on paper, on a screen, just out so you can go dive deep on other things.

In a year where I didn't get to see many of the projects in progress for my products at Rapid reach production (because layoffs), I want to see something done.

Even if it's a logo for an English pastry that reminds me, "hey, you can design."

Follow me on Mastodon, on Twitter or Instagram and yes I'm on Threads too. I run The Web We Want, a place for web developers and designers to submit the things they need from browsers and the web platform to make their jobs easier.

Author of Design for Developers.

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