3 Things Every Beginning Designer Should Take to Heart
Designers who are fresh out of college or just branching out on their own will benefit from learning the art of perseverance as exemplified by industry greats who have come before them.
You’re not your best yet.
At its heart, design is about storytelling. Visual branding is just as important as the written copy that accompanies it. Color, images, white space, font and structure are all storytelling elements.
International storyteller and radio personality Ira Glass gives all creative professionals profound insight into the struggle of obtaining a successful career. Glass explains that there is a gap between style and ambition. Each person in a creative field begins with a sense of style. The sense of style not only guides our work, but also clues us into what is lacking in our creations.
“For the first couple of years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good,” says Glass in a two minute audio clip. The radio host goes on to explain that a killer sense of style serves as a radar for the gap between how good we want to be and how good we actually are.
These gaps between style and work can lead to disappointment, and many people quit once they feel this gap. For all those who have felt the overwhelming sense of disappointment, that feeling that you’re just not good enough, remember that you aren’t good enough yet.
Glass advises anyone who is struggling with this sense of disappointment to work, create and produce as much as possible. Only through producing large amounts of work will you reach the refined level of style that will match your ambition.
Be prepared to learn from your mistakes.
Although design is an art form, its functional properties make it a critical element of a wider dynamic. Good design works to support and supplement other components. This is true whether you are designing a Website, a concert hall or a vacuum cleaner.
James Dyson is a billionaire industrialist and inventor. You probably recognize his name from the Dyson vacuum. This is because, after spending 15 years and his life savings, Dyson created a bagless, transparent vacuum cleaner that rocked the market.
Dyson is an example of someone who could have resigned to great failure, but his vision and resolve were so sharp that he continued on.
“We’re taught to do things the right way,” said Dyson,” but if you want to discover something that other people haven’t, you need to do things the wrong way.”
Innovative designers seek to solve problems in unique ways. The challenge with solving any design problem is that there are external components that must be considered. Being trapped by these components can lead to stale and stagnant design, while ignoring them will offer up some fatal flaw.
Brilliant design is often a journey filled with trials and errors. The process is taking ideas, trying them, tossing them and then comparing them to other options. Some of your ideas are going to be bad, and some are going to be great. Some are going to be great in theory and heartbreakingly disappointing in application.
Regardless, each and every mistake is the opportunity to learn and refine your talent.
Good design can’t save a bad product.
Those who design for media and marketing companies will sometimes be confronted with the impossible challenge of saving a tanking product with a last ditch design effort. The best case scenario for designers is to reject any projects that seem doomed, but your company may pick something up and assign it to you.
When designing a campaign for a troublesome product, it is good to remember that it is possible to make a product stand out in a bad way. David Ogilvy (AKA, The Father of Advertising) said, “Good marketing only makes a bad product fail faster.”
There are two basic principles that make products stand out in a good way: the product will either make lives easier and more enjoyable (or both). If you simply can’t portray a product in these terms, then your best bet is to work closely with your client to give them exactly what they want. Avoid investing your heart and soul into a solution.
This type of failure can sometimes be disheartening because it is a failure that has little to do with your design capabilities. It is important to remember that fatal flaws sometimes come from external sources and are out of your control. Do you best, but don’t pressure yourself to be a miracle worker.
A freelance writer and blogging extraordinaire for seven years, Alvina Lopez now mainly contributes her expertise about online colleges to accreditedonlinecolleges.com. Her ultimate goal is to help future students discover their potential by enrolling in the right program for them. She also writes about trends in education, personal finance, and sustainable living. She loves getting feedback from her readers at firstname.lastname@example.org.