Comparing your work to others

On the last day of my week long takeover of the Motion Hatch podcast Instagram account, I had an idea to post my latest motion design reel alongside the first ever reel/promo I did… all the way back from 2010!

For those of you that weren’t following here they are:

My 2018 motion design reel:

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And the first one:

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Quite the difference, don’t you think!

As well as being quite a funny exercise, it got me thinking about the amount of time I’ve spent looking at the reels of other motion designers, and even studios, and thinking to myself: I’m not good enough, or that I need to try and be more like them and do what they’re doing.

I don’t think I’m alone in this either, I think it’s pretty common in the world of motion design, and the field of design in general, to focus too much on what the competition is doing. To look at the work of another freelancer, or another company and think “man, they are killing it, how can I change to be more like them!?” or “how did they land that client!? Am I not good enough? Maybe I should do more of what they’re doing”. We take this little excerpt of finished work, and with no knowledge of what’s gone on behind the scenes, judge our own work against it.

This mindset, which is very easy to fall into, can be incredibly demoralising and even a hindrance when it comes to moving forward as a designer. Ultimately, this constant comparison is only ever going to result in a feeling of inadequacy in your own work because your focus is on where the competition has already been, rather than where you are, and more importantly: where you could be going.

The work of others can be incredibly inspiring, no doubt about that, but it should never be the benchmark to which you compare your own work. There is no happiness to be gained there. Instead, focus on doing your own thing! Learn from every project you work on, and use your last project as the benchmark for the next. It’s this comparison- with yourself, building on your own strengths and unique qualities, that not only sets you apart from the competition, but also brings with it much more enjoyment when you look back on the work you’ve done and how far you’ve come.

I only hope I can look back at my current reel in 2026 and think - wow what was I thinking!?

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