Just Two Questions to Push Your Designs

April 29, 2013

I am very, very lucky to work with some really talented designers at my internship, and sometimes (just sometimes) I pick up some words of wisdom from them. Here are six:

1) Would You Dribbble This?*

     So one day, I was working on a web design, and admittedly wasn’t very inspired (lets be real, this happens more often than we’d like to admit). So I asked one of the designers here for a crit, and he looked over my layout, looked at me, and simply asked “well, would you Dribbble this?”.

     Wow. Well other than that being frustrating :P he was absolutely right, DAMN IT. 

     Even though it was a pretty trivial element, him asking me that question made me realize that I was kind of just putting it together to appease a client on a tight deadline. I wasn’t actually that excited about what I had shown him. Why would you ever want to put your name on something you’re not proud of? 

     This situation actually reminded me of an event I went to last night, where at the end, one of the audience members asked “I’ve heard to put a small, deliberate mistake in your client comps to have them focus on that, and criticize the overall design less.” Ok, I get where they’re coming from. But hearing this PISSED ME OFF. Why would you ever want to submit something that you KNOW is flawed? Is it that big of a crime to put your honest design out there for judgement? Who knows — the client may have some fair points. WORK with them to make your work something you can both be proud of.

     What I’m saying is — don’t allow yourself to just coast and be okay with it.  That means you’ve just given up. Always ask if you are satisfied enough with your work to put it in that little 400 x 300 (now 800 x 600 px) square — it’ll reaffirm that you have something really cool in the works.

2) Yes, And?**

     Ok, so you’re design is now perfect, and you’re proud of it, and YES, you’d Dribbble that, the client is happy. Hurrah! It works. It answers the problem, but you should always be looking to push your designs even further. NOW is the time you take a step back, look at your work and think “yes. AND?”

     You should be asking: 

     What makes it unique? How is it new? Will other people think this is special? What am I contributing to the community? Will people be inspired by this? <— okay so that’s more words than I initially promised, but it’s what the all-encompasing “yes, and..?” really means.

     Continually asking this makes you twist and turn the constraints presented to create a truly influential and unique design. Isn’t that what you always want to strive for?

Ok, now go bother these people who inspired the post:
* Jim Basio @jimboi
** Max Leyzerovich @DUQE