I never knew I could design.

Updated: Jan 13

Was I born with it or learnt it? At this point, I can't really tell because when do we draw the line between talent and hard work?

Growing up, I wanted to be a teacher because I was inspired by some great teachers who happened to be mathematics teachers. It's so funny because any school I attended, I had this unique connection with my mathematics teachers: Sir Elvis from junior high school, Mr. Efa from senior high school, both in Ghana and Madam Van Moere in high school in Belgium. They made me fall in love with the subject. I used to own a school with my best friend then, in class, in primary 4 and also used to teach some kids at home and in senior high school. I really loved teaching and still do.

The dilemma

“Never once did it occur to me that I would be a designer.”

At a point, when I got a bit older, I wanted to be a chartered accountant, then a financial analyst and it changed to a statistician(I didn't pursue this much). Never once did it occur to me that I will be a designer. I was so confused then, maybe it is because of my multipotentiality (is that even a word?!). I wanted to be everything that caught my attention. I think it was because I studied business back in senior high school and wanted to be an accountant or financial analyst while hating accounting (can you imagine that).

In all of this, never once did it occur to me that I wanted to be a designer; I never dreamed or imagined it partly because, it wasn't something I was inclined to nor was it ever mentioned to me in my childhood that I could become a designer. I didn't even think I was creative and I still don't think so (impostor syndrome).

The clues

I used to design birthday cards for my friends back in primary school. There was this birthday card i designed for a very special friend that I vividly remember; I used an A4 sheet of paper and folded it up, created some holes at the corners and tied some green and red ribbons with some texts at the center and my contact information at the back. I was so proud of myself.

When we moved to Belgium, back in school one teacher asked us to design a portfolio and she remarked that mine was very creative. She liked how I used the colors and arranged the images on the portfolio and even asked if I planned on doing something with it. It still didn't occur to me that I could be a designer. I was all about becoming a financial analyst, taking online courses and following finance blogs and even had my career planned out. But life happened. (more on this another time)

A designer at last

“That skill or talent you are overlooking may be the purpose you are looking for.”

I would say I became a designer out of necessity. It was at a point in my life I needed to do something meaningful and thought to try visual designing and haven't looked back since. I learned to design properly online in two months(completed in March 2020) and started designing logos for friends and family. Even at that I still didn't think I was cut out for it and thought it was just to make some money to fund what I really wanted to do when I finally get to the university. (a story for another day).

I love what I do and every blessed day is an opportunity for me to build and improve my skills. Updeep (an agency I'm trying to set up) allows me to do that and even with a purpose, to empower small businesses to build brands with confidence. It also allows me to teach small business owners the value of branding and its benefits for their businesses. And now, I have added another design skill which I'm still learning and hoping to become one of the top thought leaders in the design industry. I never knew I would get here but here I am!

Get Inspired

I hope you tap into your abilities; that skill or talent you are overlooking may be the purpose you are looking for. And remember, anything you want to do can be applied in any field or industry. Don't overthink it. I get the chance to teach how design can benefit businesses and individuals so I believe I'm still a teacher at heart and haven't lost my first love.

What are you doing now that you never thought you could do? I'd love to hear from you.