The 7 Heavenly Virtues of Design

Wdd Logo.
November 24, 2010

thumb 11-32-07No one intends for their business to stagnate. In an attempt to advance their freelance work, many people turn to the wealth of advice on the Internet.

But several age-old virtues seem to be lacking from the online conversation. This post is an attempt to rediscover them.

There is more to the success or failure of a business than attracting new clients. Reputation is also important.

How do you ensure that people say good things about you?

Applying the seven virtues to your freelance enterprise could boost its reach and image among the masses online. Do your virtues need a bit of polishing?

Are you a freelance saint?

1. Chastity

In this case, we're not talking about the personal lives of designers, but rather how designers relate to others in the field. Designers should strive to be honest with themselves and their clients. Our intentions need to be pure.

Trustworthiness is fundamental to building a business. Progress is difficult without it. Once people trust you, then they'll know you won't mislead them about your capabilities or a project's requirements. Word will spread.

Avoid false posturing. Be honest about who you are.

2. Temperance

A temperate person has self-restraint and acts in moderation. Keep the truism "all things in moderation" in mind for the sake of your business' reputation.

Just as squirrels store nuts for the winter, freelancers take on too much work at once out of a fear of dry spells. Instead, take responsibility by not taking on more jobs than you can handle. Moderation will keep you sane. Not having time to do a job properly will hurt the project, the client and your reputation.

When you're overworked, the fire burns out.

3. Charity

Nowadays, charity tends to mean contributing to a non-profit organization. We're not suggesting you go out right now and do this (unless you want to, of course). Rather, the essence of charity is self-sacrifice, generosity and love. And freelancers can certainly apply these to their work.

Delivering more than is expected on a project is an example of what we're talking about. By surpassing the expectations of both clients and users, both are likely to return regularly. So, whether it means finishing a project before it's due or creating one more mock-up for the client, a charitable disposition wins people over. Being generous is easy if you love what you do.

If you love your work, you'll make the most of every project.

4. Diligence

A diligent person constantly guards against laziness. Budget your time and stick to a schedule, even when no one is watching.

Freelancers are their own boss; the responsibility to stay on task falls to them, but some have difficulty policing themselves. The best strategy is to maintain a fixed schedule. This will keep you on task and away from surfing and social media. Allot time for email, RSS feeds and other time eaters.

Working from home doesn't mean it's play time.

5. Patience

Most people tend to think of patience as meaning tolerance for what irritates them. In the context of design, fostering a healthy and supportive community requires patience, too.

When establishing your presence as a freelancer, try to appreciate the rich, thriving community that's already online. Work for the community, not against it, and don't alienate anyone. Patience is vital in this. Also, try to foster a sense of community around your brand.

You are one of a vibrant cast of characters.

6. Kindness

This one's not hard to figure out. Being kind and gentle draws people to your business. Maintaining a pleasant demeanor and being courteous will inspire kindness in those you interact with.

Harboring a grudge or using a harsh tone of voice will cause you to suffer in the end. Clients remember abrasive manners and and defensive postures, and they're the sort of thing they tell their colleagues about.

Kindness will enhance your reputation.

7. Humility

The last one is humility, often considered a weakness in the design community. While not many seek it out, humility is about giving credit where it's due, which sometimes means refraining from putting yourself on a pedestal.

Freelancers have to promote themselves, but too many are inclined to hype. Self-promotion is acceptable to clients, while bragging turns them off, because clients are led to expect too much. Balance the urge to promote yourself with a healthy dose of humility.

Exaggerating your abilities leads to disappointed clients.

Written exclusively for WDD by Rob Bowen. He is an emerging author and the co-founder and imaginative co-contributor of the creative design and blogging duo at the Arbenting Freebies Blog and Dead Wings Designs.

Have you embraced these virtues in your career? Why or why not? Please share below...

WDD Staff

WDD staff are proud to be able to bring you this daily blog about web design and development. If there's something you think we should be talking about let us know @DesignerDepot.

Read Next

3 Essential Design Trends, December 2023

While we love the holidays, too much of a seasonal theme can get overwhelming. Thankfully, these design trends strike a…

10 Easy Ways to Make Money as a Web Designer

When you’re a web designer, the logical way to make money is designing websites; you can apply for a job at an agency,…

The 10 Most Hated Fonts of All Time

Remember when Comic Sans wasn’t the butt of the jokes? Long for the days when we actually enjoyed using the Impact…

15 Best New Fonts, November 2023

2023 is almost over, and the new fonts are still coming thick and fast. This month, we’ve found some awesome variable…

Old School Web Techniques Best Forgotten

When the web first entered the public consciousness back in the 90s, it was primarily text-based with minimal design…

20 Best New Websites, November 2023

As the nights draw in for the Northern hemisphere, what better way to brighten your day than by soaking up some design…

30 Amazing Chrome Extensions for Designers and Developers

Searching for a tool to make cross-platform design a breeze? Desperate for an extension that helps you figure out the…

Exciting New Tools for Designers, November 2023

We’ve got a mix of handy image helpers, useful design assets, and clever productivity tools, amongst other treats. Some…

The Dangers of Doomscrolling for Designers and How to Break Free

As a creative professional, navigating the digital realm is second nature to you. It’s normal to follow an endless…

From Image Adjustments to AI: Photoshop Through the Years

Remember when Merriam-Webster added Photoshop to the dictionary back in 2008? Want to learn how AI is changing design…

3 Essential Design Trends, November 2023

In the season of giving thanks, we often think of comfort and tradition. These are common themes with each of our three…

30 Obsolete Technologies that will Perplex Post-2000s Kids

Remember the screech of dial-up internet? Hold fond memories of arcade machines? In this list, we’re condensing down 30…