Be a UX design enthusiast
Having enthusiasm for design is like having the flu — you can't hide it, and it can even be contagious to listen to you talking about the latest trends in design or your achievements in this field. Authentic interest in design demonstrates you're genuinely passionate about what you do. Even if no one had paid you for this job, you'd keep doing it.
Referencing the Collins Dictionary, an enthusiast is a person who is very interested in a particular activity or subject and who spends a lot of time on it. Thus, being a design enthusiast implies being passionate about design and treating it not as a job but as a lifestyle.
Design enthusiasts accept the fact that design is not just about moving elements in Figma or selecting typefaces for a project. It's about looking at the world around you and noticing how things work (and how they can be improved).
What do design enthusiasts do to keep this feeling alive?
Look at experts' solutions
Consume design every day in large doses everywhere. Explore new apps, websites, and features updates on existing products, paying attention to all details from microcopy to typography choice, from selection controls to form design, and ask yourself questions: "Why did they choose this solution? How do users benefit from it?" It's always a good idea to look at how experts do their work, analyze, and adopt their best approaches to your own projects.
Consume design in numerous ways
Design is everywhere and exists in different forms. Look for inspiration from architecture in your town, visit museums, read fiction and non-fiction, or watch movies and documentaries. Find things around you that make you gasp in amazement, amuse you, or entices your attention in an unexplainable way.
Look at the things around you with the eyes of a 3-year-old, or as if you're a visitor from another planet and ask yourself questions: "What makes me buy this product? Is it its colors, illustrations on a package, typography, or something else? How does this new toaster work? Is it intuitive enough or does it require reading instructions? What makes those road signs be so noticeable and helpful? Would I notice them if I go on a high speed?"
Train your designer eye
Look at other designers' work on Dribbble or Behance, brainstorming on how things can be done better. Become a member of design communities and help other designers by giving feedback on prototypes or ask other people's opinions on your ideas. You can train your designer eye by taking on challenges on various topics and evaluating your skills. You can also use Uxcel’s Arcade for more designer eye training opportunities.
Constantly seek new information and new ways of looking at things
Each time you're designing a solution, fight the urge to take the most evident path and try to find alternative ways. When you implement similar tasks every day, like prototyping or analyzing user interviews, you stop noticing unusual things and tasks become routine. To break this pattern, develop new routes of doing your usual work.
For example, you can ask your colleagues, family members, or friends and listen to their take on the problem. Search for new viewpoints away from your desk. Go for a walk or a run, physically distancing yourself from thoughts about work, and the inspiration might strike you when you don't expect it.
If you're indeed attached to the idea of becoming a good UX, product, graphic, or any other kind of designer, train yourself to never stop learning new things and doubting traditional ways of doing things around you. The legendary designer Milton Glaser, best known for the "I ❤️ NY" logo, believed that certainty is the worst advisor for those who want to create. "I think what I feel fortunate about is that I am still astonished—that things still amaze me. And I think that that's a great benefit of being in the arts, where the possibility for learning never disappears; where you basically have to admit you never learn it."
Stay open to new ideas and develop a habit of learning at least one new thing every day. It's a great trait for designers to understand that each failure isn't a failure at all; it's an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve.