As friendly as we may be with our peers and contemporaries, at the end of the day they are still competition to us. No one is saying that competition automatically requires us to be heartless, cut-throat jackasses. That’s just wrong and immature. However, viewing our fellow designers as competition can act as inspiration and motivate us to do even better than them, but more importantly do better than ourselves.

Some of my closest friends are fellow graphic designers. We’ve all participated in the same competitions before and, of course, not everyone can come out on top. We understand that and we don’t allow it to get anywhere near to polluting our already corrupted, yet genuine, friendships. We’re happy for the winner(s) and go on with our peculiar lives as usual. Competition is just one of the natures of the design field. I think one of the reasons that many of my peers and I became such close friends is due to the massive respect that I have for their design work. Their work is extremely incredible, and as incompetent as I may feel by being around them, my being around them allows me to push myself passed my own self-imposed boundaries.

When left alone to our own musings, we need to think, “Okay, how can I make this project one of my best yet?” while keeping our peers at the back of our minds. Copying what they do is, first of all, wrong and immature, but secondly, won’t make us better designers. We all have the potential inside of us to create work that is out of this world. If we didn’t have such potential, there’s no way we could have stumbled into this industry. Pushing ourselves to do our best work will grant us the reciprocation of the respect that we have for our peers by our peers.

Applying this principle not only helps us to grow as designers, but it also helps us to learn more about ourselves. By using competition as motivation to push ourselves we begin to learn more about our personal styles, understand our strengths and weaknesses, as well as appreciate the time and effort we invest into our own work. Once we can get our heads down and work as hard as we can, when we lift our heads periodically we shall see that we have a striking portfolio of which we will have no choice but to feel proud, as well as realise that we developed some irreplaceable friendships, which may also be seen as intense rivalries, along the way.

Inspiration comes from many different nooks and crannies. In order to fully explore our potential we need to find inspiration from more than within a book, nature, or good, old Google Images. Inspiration comes from being able to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Rather than simply respecting the work of our peers, let’s begin to use that respect we have as motivation to do better. Finding various ways to motivate ourselves is key to realising our full, ever-growing design potential.