We are not creative enough, are we? The imposter syndrome and designers

Prathyusha Shastry
4 min readJul 13, 2022

As an optimistic and trying to be “self-aware” designer, I spend most of my time questioning my ability to design than the design itself. Being a designer or any kind of creative individual for that matter comes with its challenges. Not only do you express your thoughts but you also engage in thoughts about doubting your expression. There is nothing wrong with this, however, when it visits you and occupies most of your thoughts when you are no longer a rookie, then it is something to worry about.

Most notably when you indulge in thoughts that your art is not worth money because someone might not like it. The feeling that you are not worthy of your accolades and that everyone else is better than you. Of course, I am aware that asking questions about art is related to its subjectivity…after all is there any scale in the world meant to measure beauty? Is there a standard of artistry we need to surpass in order to perform at the elite level? This subjectivity of art is uncanny because it poses a question:

Can we really measure originality, individuality, and creativity?

YES! You guessed it right, I’m talking about the IMPOSTER SYNDROME, and no, you’re not the only one.

By Billy Korando

Uncovering The Harsh Truth About “Imposter Syndrome”
A study in 1978 found that despite their success, college women saw themselves as unworthy and incapable of competing with their peers. According to the study, participants attributed their accomplishments to luck, charm, or people-pleasing abilities, but not their skills, resulting in self-doubt and believing they were “faking it.”

Feeling like a fraud, giving too much credit to luck, and not knowing what you’re doing… You fear you’re about to be rumbled at any moment. This very feeling is called CREATIVE IMPOSTER SYNDROME.

Do I have imposter syndrome?

If you’re an aspiring designer or a creative individual, chances are you’ll feel like an imposter when you come across a new piece of design work that is far more impressive and skilled than the work you create yourself. If this sounds all too familiar and if it’s beginning to hinder your creativity, maybe it’s time to start arming yourself with some clever weapons against imposter syndrome.

Why me? what causes imposter syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome is a demon lurking in the shadows, with no indication of when it will erupt. It isn’t something limited to design students or even junior designers. It hits all of us at points in our careers. Identifying our “self-worth” can be the most difficult part of being a designer, especially for a self-taught genius…and this is the very thing that accentuates our demon.
Self-worth is one of those tricky things that can’t be explained with sentences, it has to be felt and understood. For some people, self-worth means being able to make enough money to pay their bills while they live in comfort; while for others it may involve traveling the world and finding your purpose. If you’re like me, it means a combination of several things from the two examples stated above.

But you are not alone…Conquering impostor feelings

When it comes to overcoming impostor feelings, it’s vital to keep our consciousness in mind and at the same time it’s not always the person who is the problem; it may also be the environment or culture.

“There are ways to build resilience to impostor syndrome, but there are also real changes that need to be made to address equity,”

Here are some habits you can start slowly incorporating into your daily life:
- The key to success is self-belief!
- Perfectionism is not something we should strive for.
- A skill-learning mindset should replace the tool-is-king mentality.
- Creative souls are literally slain by comparison.
- Keep in mind that every day is different.

It’s okay to admit that you don’t feel up to the task or that you worry about your credentials or aptitude. The majority of imposter syndrome can be worked through and passed.
For some more tips on how you can avoid letting imposter syndrome get the better of you when you’re working as a designer, let me know in the comments down below!

Here’s to all the creative souls out there. I’d love to hear your thoughts/ apprehensions/suggestions.
Always open to feedback :).
Don’t forget to check out my design work or my other articles on design, life, and design life.

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Prathyusha Shastry

Communication and Interaction designer | Masters in design from National Institute of Design | Website prathyusha.in