5 lessons you can learn from Pirates of Caribbean to become a top designer

No medium leaves such a profound and deep impact on our heart and mind as the movies.

Photo by Luke Southern on Unsplash

Whether it’s Tony Stark telling Thanos that “He is the Ironman” or Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings not allowing a certain demon to pass through to save his friends, all these moments stir emotions within us that no other medium ever can.

I love the Pirates movie series from Disney. With an awe-inspiring background score the movie never fails to entertain and the dialogues are funny & witty. Moreover, who doesn’t love our beloved Captain Jack? 🙂

Now, we go to the movies to entertain ourselves and to be lost in the story that it weaves around its characters. But sometimes movies do teach us valuable lessons that we can apply in our life and careers to become a better version of ourselves.

So, are ye ready, matey?

Here’s what we can learn from the Pirates of Caribbean movies to become better designers:

“The code is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.” -Hector Barbossa

“Don’t be a sucker for rules”

Rules are meant to be broken. Captain Barbossa uses this to his advantage in the very first Pirates movie and captures Elizabeth Swann on his ship. Elizabeth thought everyone would obey them but alas not everyone adheres to the rules every time. And as designers we can learn from this that we need not obey certain rules every time.

Agreed, that the rules are meant for our benefit and provide a structure to our work. But you need not follow them for every design project. No need to design every project in a grid. That is how most of the websites now end up looking the same. Break free from the grid once in a while to give wings to your creativity. Flex your creative muscles and design something unique without adhering to the rules once in a while. It will improve your design skills and who knows maybe you will invent some new design trend.

Don’t become a slave to the rules. Be an innovator. Know the rules but know when to break them too. Use rules as guidelines to your advantage.

“You are without a doubt the worst pirate I’ve ever heard of.” (James Norrington) “But you have heard of me.” -Jack Sparrow

“Get known — Build your brand”

Any publicity is good publicity. Everyone is on social media these days. It has penetrated the design world also where design platforms allow each one of us now to become a design influencer. We can showcase our work to the world and get instant recognition. It helps in building your personal brand. You would be able to build your brand quickly if your views go contrary to the popular opinion. Or your design process, design thinking is quite different than the normal. If you stick to your true self then even if you go against the majority you will find your audience. People will hear about you sooner than later.

Now this doesn’t mean that you go ahead and mock every popular opinion out there in order to gain popularity. That will hurt in the long term because you are being dishonest about it.

The whole point is to be honest to yourself and don’t be afraid to challenge the existing norms. Some people may criticise you who don’t understand you yet, but you will gain a loyal following of fans who resonate with you. To be known is an asset and if a client is able to recognise your name online that will be the greatest asset you can possess because work will come to you in spite of you searching every corner of the earth for it.

“For certain you have to be lost to find something that cannot be found, else everyone would know where it is” — Captain Barbossa

“Be ready to lose in order to win”

Want to become a pro designer and a master of your craft? Well, get ready then to face failure, and many losses before you achieve your dream. Every top designer knows that you have to be obsessed and prepared to take the hits while you struggle in the lower ranks in order to move up. You have to be prepared to be so lost in your hard work that there is nothing left. Endless, countless nights spent working on your craft will be the price that you have to pay for your dream.

Not everyone does this, and hence not everyone gets to become a top dog.

There is no map, no set path to reach your destination. You can’t play safe and obey the rules to become a top designer. In order to carve your name you better be ready to lose yourself in the process. For it’s when you lose yourself in the process you would find what you are looking for at the end.

“For what we want most…there is a cost must be paid in the end”: Tia Dalma

“Every goal requires a sacrifice”

Whatever you want to achieve in life, a cost must be paid.

Only question is “Are you ready to pay?”

Want to become a top designer? Then be ready to burn the midnight oil while your peers enjoy their life.

Be ready to learn new things.

Be ready to go deep into your subject.

Be ready to go overboard for your clients. Be ready to work on those visuals until they look world class.

Be ready to shred every resource, book that you can find on excelling at your work.

If you are ready to work hard while others play then eventually you will surpass them simply due to the sacrifice and extra time that you would have spent mastering your craft. That time advantage will slowly and steadily add up and provide you an overall edge over everybody else.

That is the cost that you must be ready to pay if you want to become a top designer.

No one became a top designer by binge watching netflix on the weekends. They worked their @** off while others relaxed.

“One soul is not equal to another”: Davy Jones

“Stop comparing yourself to other designers”

This is perhaps the biggest problem with every designer or every person on this planet. We cannot resist comparing ourselves to other people.

We browse dribbble, behance and see mind blowing work of talented designers from all over the world and immediately go into comparing mode.

We see where they are now. Then we see where we are now. And then we criticise ourselves for being lesser than them.

This has to go.

As a designer at any level you must compare yourself to your previous self only. What you were yesterday and what you are now should be your only concern.

Your skills would improve as you continue working on your craft. And eventually you would reach the top too. You may surpass your idols also.

Be inspired from the work of your peers. Congratulate them on their brilliance. Ask them how you can improve your work. And most will be ready to help you.

Don’t compare yourself to others, learn from them and become better.

Alright, mateys! These were some of the lessons that we can learn from our beloved Pirates.These can easily improve the quality of our work and life. So do try to apply them in your life and see the results for yourself.


  1. Don’t be a sucker for rules”
  2. “Get known — Build your brand”
  3. “Be ready to lose in order to win”
  4. “Every goal requires a sacrifice”
  5. “Stop comparing yourself to other designers”

Thank you for reading. I hope I was able to provide some value in this article.:)