Design simple — That’s art not design.


Design simple — That’s art not design

“Good design…Is as little design as possible” — Dieter Rams

 

I’ve been designing in varying fields since 2006, start as graphic design, after web designer front-end, move my way up, But it’s only since around 2008 that I feel like I have grown as a designer, probably because of the boom of the iPhone and digital services, mobile first etc…

 

Here is my observations from how I’ve grow and how I’ve see other people grow around me.

 

Good design is not just about what something looks like. Good design is as well about how something works, and about how appropriate it is for the problem it is solving.

 

In the last years I’ve reviewed a lot of product design work from job applicants, and I’ve noticed a worrying pattern. Too many designers are designing to impress their peers rather than address real business problems.
Most of the portfolios neither outlined what they actually did on the project, they were simply isometric screens, no wireframes no case study at all.

 

 

When working for bigger clients this is a common issue, but it can be solved easily by adding a detailed description about your responsibilities on each project, plus the people you collaborated with and show the raw concept.

 

Im going straight to the point, If you’re designing for likes on Dribbble, you’re doing it wrong. Your thousands followers on Dribbble and Twitter aren’t the audience you’re designing for, so don’t design for them, design for the real problem in your business, design something you actually can be build with a good user flow/experience. If some element is really pretty and doesn’t work at all, it’s useless, correct?

 

That’s art not design. You’re a digital artist, not a designer.

 

Don’t waste time reinventing common UI patterns or paradigms unless they are at least 2x better, or you have some critical brand reason to do so.

 

I’m not saying to not do that, do it is good to training your skills and master some tools, but have some racional behind and make sure it will work.

 

If you’re designing a module area which has white text over an image, consider what would happen if that the image below it has a light background. This buttons looks good on desktop what happen on other breakpoints? Come up with a solution that works for both light and dark images and you’re onto a winner.
This page i’m designing going to have significant impacts on page speed, and is it a reasonable module to expect the developers to code? They might not have time in the budget to create it, so don’t expect them to.

 

Don’t do everything by yourself get some feedback from people on your team from developers, product owners to the users… I’ve gone from being a selfish designer, to be more corporative with others.

 

Some points i take from my experience,

 

Outcome:
Start with the intended outcome. This you designing will make easier or better for users? Most of the projects without a clearly defined intended outcome don’t end well.

 

Structure
Next design the system, Work out the required components to meet the intended outcome, and map the relationships between them.

 

Interaction
After the outcome and system are figured out, design the interaction details. What is the micro interactions? What are the UI components and how people interact with or manipulate them? How will things move, change or animate? Revisit the system, evolve it to match the interactions. Keep iterating but at the right amount of.

 

Visual
System and interactions are well defined and working (ideally prototyped), design the visual details. Make it look and feel beautiful, enjoyable. Now it’s time for beautiful grids, colour, typography, iconography, modules. At last but not least don’t forgot the data.

 

 

The grid, font, colour, and aesthetic style are irrelevant if the other three layers haven’t been resolved first. It’s just more fun to draw nice pictures and bury oneself in pixels than deal with complicated business decisions and people with different opinions.

 

 

Note:
I’m not against dribbble whatsoever is just my thoughts around this theme, If you had fun making it, or did it to expand their boundaries then I see no issue, i do that as well, we are here to learn and expande our knowledge with each other.

Have a wonderful week,
Marco Lopes

Thank you for reading, if you have anything to add please send a response or add a note!

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