What are your thoughts on imposter syndrome?
Kerri: I think everyone has imposter syndrome. Even seasoned professionals, because it kind of keeps you grounded.
Dian: And also I think what’s nice, to the point of what Kerri’s saying about the fact that everybody has it… people have it, but not everybody acknowledges it. And I think what’s refreshing is when you have these rock star designers who are willing to be vulnerable and willing to tell you that they suffer from it.
One of my idols is Gail Anderson, and she is not afraid to get on to the stage in front of hundreds of people and tell them that she suffers from imposter syndrome, and having some conversations offline with her… she fully expresses that and what she does to go through it. And I just think that’s real interesting, because I and so many other people see her at a certain level, and so it’s like, “How is it possible? If you have a mentor like Paula Scher, how could you? Really? How?”
Kerri: I was going to say, it humanizes you–it humanizes them.
Dian: Yeah. And then to hear them say that, it humanizes them in our eyes. Like who they are, and what they do and the fact that they put their pants on just like we do and they tackle jobs just like we do. The difference is just that they have some years on them, but they never don’t have those moments. I think it’s really refreshing when you can have people like that who are afraid to say that, because then you can look internally to yourself and say, “Well if they’re going through that, and I’m going through that, then I’m okay. This is normal.”
Kerri: It also makes day-to-day people, or people who you see who are leading boards and things like that and think “Oh they’re amazing! How did they get there? That’s not me–I could never be that way.” It makes everybody seem like “Okay it’s all doable,” like everybody’s playing on the same playing field, and understand that people didn’t just get there to that position. They had to work, to take the steps and put some time and hours into that.
Dian: I also think that mental health is real. It’s something that other professions may tackle, but as designers we don’t really tackle self care. Especially the mental health area, and that is real. It falls into the imposter syndrome. We should do a better job as designers to take care of ourselves and our mental health. We suffer just like everybody else, especially considering the visibility of some of the projects we’re working on, the brands that we’re affiliated with, and the social media presence. That can really take a toll on a person’s psyche, and I don’t think we’ve really acknowledged that as a design community–locally and nationally. We should be as cognizant of that as we are considering diversity and inclusion going forward.