As a designer, I understand the quench, passion, and lust to do great work that impresses everyone. It doesn’t mean I hit the nail on the head each time, but God knows I try!
However, if you’re in any area of the creative industry, you quickly learn you can’t simply be good at design production alone.
You have to wear multiple hats, for multiple people, in multiple scenarios.
Many designers don’t last.
Many find the pressure too difficult. A critique is an insult.
Yet, in a job that relies on focused business input meeting tangible creative output, we don’t have much room for preference, or hurt feelings. It’s less about your designs, and more about business goals.
So if being a really good designer is less about UI, graphics, or digital output, what sets us apart? How can a designer truly prove their value beyond being a skilled digital magic-maker?
The following sections aren’t terribly difficult principles to understand, but mastering them can take years.
Ready to take it to the next level? Then let’s dig in!
While studying design in college, you’re taught all about execution; all about designing premium solutions via software, design history, and other fundamentals.
When entering the industry, you quickly learn that everyone is going a million miles a minute and very few have time to stop and understand your thinking on something you’ve made.
This isn’t design critique time. The real world doesn’t have time for that. It’s just got to be right; it has to get results.
That’s not to say that people won’t question how you came up with what you did (they will), but you’ll just have to be ready to answer anything pertaining to your why. Always have this information logged in your brain, ready to dump on whoever asks for it (+2 points for saying “data” a lot).
You’re only going to help yourself if you do things that aren’t asked of you, thoroughly digging into problems until you have an appropriate solution. Sparingly call meetings, set expectations, present, and set up next steps.
Nobody wants it to be this way alone, but as you’ve been doing this for awhile, you start to understand that the only way you get to design in Sketch all day, is because you’re making that company money…which in turn, employs you.
The more you can bring the business case to justifying your design decisions, the more stakeholders, directors, and other shot-callers will trust your why. If your what contains beautiful design for the sake of beautiful design, it won’t fly. They won’t care..and might even distrust your intentions…
When it comes down to it, the pixels are the easiest part of design. If you have a solid understanding of core design principles and keep in mind the above bullets, you’ll start to make a name for yourself among peers.
Design isn’t art. It’s business psychology, and it’s damn difficult.
Anyone who thinks or tells people that design is easy, clearly has NO idea what they’re talking about.