Do you ever come to the point sometimes when you are designing and the design is just simply not working so you begin to wonder why you are even a designer or could even claim to be one? This used to happen to me, but then I just surf the web and see somebody else’s ugly site and am instantly reinspired to push forward :). Now I am wise enough to have Rundle on my team.
I can see the reason for many people entering the field of web design is that they believe that designing a website is easy. Wrong. Building a website is easy, designing one takes skill. This is where the ego kicks in. There are two key elements (I am sure there are many more) that designers should possess.
The first one is that you need to be your own harshest critic. And believe me this is extremely hard to do on the web since there are many people out there who are quick to point out how wrong your design is. When you think you are done with a design, take a step back and look at it. Could you do better? If you think you could, but can’t figure out how then just step away for a bit. If you don’t think you could do better then either you are right, or you just don’t want to push yourself further.
Hopefully you don’t think your design is done because it looks like another popular site. You cannot call yourself a designer when all you do is steal other people’s designs. Sort of like thinking you can draw and placing a paper over a picture so you can trace the lines. Don’t get me wrong because it is okay to take the design elements of others to help with your own designs, but your ego cannot develop until you have your own style. Sure your style may be similar to someone else’s, but at least when you design something you know that you designed it.
The second important aspect of being a designer is knowing how to take criticism. I am fortunate to have an audience that gives excellent criticism without being too harsh or demeaning. Sure, many times I do not agree with what people say, but I have learned to listen to them because maybe in another design their ideas could work. Every once in a while you may get some jackass telling you how horrible everything looks. Why is he saying this? Who knows and who cares. When taking criticism there is always going to be signal and noise. Filter out the noise. Listen to others. Grow as a designer.
Even when your ego is too big to fit on screen and you think you are the best around or people tell you there is no one better, there is always a way to learn and get better. Every website on the web has something to teach you. Be it something good or something bad, but from every design it is possible to take some knowledge away with you. If you want to be a designer then be one. You must have an ego or else you wouldn’t be doing it (unless you just do it for fun). Just make sure to keep it in check.
Originally posted on June 9, 2006 @ 8:35 pm