I remember embarking on my design career sixteen years ago banking on raw talent to make me irresistible to potential employers. Ever since elementary school my ability to draw, create, etc. had been noted by fellow students, teachers and parents. And now, with my well-crafted portfolio in hand, I was set to change the world. After all, I was talented. Everyone (including my grandmother) told me so.
Since then I've learned (sometimes the hard way) that my level of "raw" talent would never have gotten me very far. That romanticized idealism has been replaced with a pragmatic realism: we work in the real world with people, problems, and limits.
Talent only gets you so far. But how far? What percentage of success as a designer comes from talent and how much do you attribute to other factors: business sense, people skills, networking, marketing, etc? Specifically, how heavily do you rely on talent for your success?
Please leave your comments. All are welcome to respond. However, unkind, unhelpful or inappropriate comments will be subject to deletion.
Beginning today, I plan to post an ongoing series of questions aimed at book designers as a way of opening discussion about various topics related to our industry. One thing that I so appreciate about the book design "community" is that though diverse in background, location, workstyle, etc, there is a strong camaraderie. The number of us who claim this profession is relatively small and I'm always appreciative of the respect and admiration that is shared. While the business of book design is competitive, the competition tends to breed better work all-around.
Others outside of book design are certainly free to field the questions or give input. I hope that together we can compile a nice collection of discussions for the benefit of those in the profession now and in the future.