Ever now and then I get students or people starting out asking my for tips, advice or interviews about my design processes. I still young in the industry myself, and not exactly an ‘expert’ and since some of what I do is self taught or developed through experimentation, I’m not always sure it is really the right/normal way of doing things, if there even is a right way! But anyway I thought since I have learnt so much from other people on the web, perhaps I should give back and share some thoughts and tips from time to time.
So my first thought tip, is about developing a design and letting go of fear. When you first approach a project, and stare at the blank page, it can be hard to make that first step. It almost feels like you have to do something amazing or just right first go. But i find the only way to truly create something amazing and perfect is to first make some bloopers. You don’t have to be a design super star, where everything you ever jot on paper is incredible. Often the best work comes from first making lots of mistakes.
And if you are thinking.. ‘But I don’t want my clients to see all my silly ideas’ . Well you don’t have to show them. Don’t feel you need to show people every little thing you did, you can make your mistakes and then as you get into the groove and start producing better ideas, you can put together all the better ones to show. I find you often just have to get the bad stuff out of your system to reach something better. It’s a process, you have to begin at the bottom and work up, because as you go along you will tweak and improve upon earlier ideas.
I’ve had clients say ‘Wow how do you come up with such amazing ideas right away’.. well they didn’t see all the mess I started out with!! hehe
it’s really about letting go of the fear of failure, to set your self free to experiment and try things that may not necessarily work. Because maybe the mistake will inspire something better, but if you never first tried it, you will never reach that better idea. If you don’t set your ideas free, you will only ever go with the ‘safe’ option, and the ‘safe’ option will never push things and bring you to an exciting result.
Also on a side note, never show a client something you don’t want them to choose, because they might just pick the one you hate!! Always show the ideas you’d be proud to say you designed. But of course this doesn’t mean don’t show only the ones you like, as different people have different tastes, but only show the ones you’d be proud to call your work.
Sometimes clients can also help develop the design to something better, by making suggestions based on your concepts, like ‘lets put the top bit of idea A with the bottom of idea B and use the colour from C’. Its all a process, you can never produce the perfect thing straight off the bat. It may occasionally happen, but its rare!
So basically my little piece of advise is not be be afraid to make mistakes and be open to experimentation.