Social Media and Makers: Design Team Rejects

Today I’m going to talk about design teams; in particular those for the paper crafting industry (although I feel this would pertain to design teams in other creative industries as well).

Unlike what you’re probably accustomed to I’m not going to get into what to do and what not to do when you apply for a team. There are tons of videos and blog posts already available on that matter.

Today I’m going to talk about how it feels to NOT be chosen, to be rejected. It isn’t something that I’ve seen openly discussed.

Design teams can be great. I’m currently on a few for some truly wonderful companies and I feel incredibly fortunate for that. I’m not putting them down and if it comes across that way it is not my intention.

One thing that really bothers me about applying for design teams is that often after you’ve applied (more often than not in my personal experience) they don’t tell you “thanks but no thanks” when they’ve decided against you.

You won’t know that you weren’t selected until you see them announce the new design team and your name isn’t on that list.

Some design teams get hundreds and hundreds of applications. I get that. I do.

It would be overwhelming to email every person back and it’s definitely got to be easier to make a general announcement or no announcement at all.

I can see it from the companies’ points of view.

After all, they’re a business. Not your friend.

However, each application is still attached to a real person. A person whose heart is in their work. Someone who’s waiting to hear something back.

To hear nothing hurts. Even though we understand that it wasn’t personal it hurts all the same. That is something we all must contend with in our own manner.

It’s hard to see your friends being chosen for design teams, especially when you’d applied as well and were turned down. That’s happened to me. It shakes your confidence.

You look at the social media pages of the people who were selected and wonder “What are they doing that I’m not? Why are they better than me? What makes their work more valued than mine?”

It’s painful and I don’t have any advice on dealing with that pain. I’ve been there (I’ve lost count of all the times I’ve been rejected) and I just want you to know that you aren’t alone.

Not being on a design team doesn’t mean your work isn’t good, it doesn’t mean you aren’t talented.

People who are on design teams are not better than you. They aren’t superior.

Things to remember:

  • Rejection hurts. There is no way to avoid it.
  • Being rejected is not a reflection on you or your work.
  • You can be a talented artist and not be on a design team.
  • Design teams (while a great opportunity) are not the be all end all in terms of living a fulfilled creative life.
  • The right opportunity will show up for you.
  • When companies don’t tell you “thanks but no thanks” it hurts but it isn’t personal.

My one bit of advice regarding what to do when applying for a  team is; just be yourself. The right company will want you for exactly who you are.

Create what you love and strive to live your most authentic life.


Until next time,

Dogs, cats, flying rats,