On the IxDA list this week, Lisa deBettencourt asks:
What are your fundamental tenets of design; those little bulleted phrases on the Design Vision slide of your Powerpoint, the signatures on your email footer, the philosophies you work by as you design?
A simple but interesting question. You can see all the answers here, but here’s my quick, stream- of- consciousness answer, below. Almost everything I’ve written below is something I’ve actually thought of or said before.
(I just want to be clear, though, that this is how I work, personally and professionally. I make no claim that working the way I do will lead to success for other designers, other design firms, or for the practice of design as a whole in a capitalist system.)
- Do work you can be proud of.
- Work for clients and bosses you like and can be proud of. Show sleazebags the door.
- Don’t lie.
- Understand that your audience is not you (and learn who they are), but always treat your audience how you would want to be treated.
- Don’t worry about the longevity of your ideas — much of what is truly great is perfect for the moment but ultimately ephemeral, while much of what lasts is crummy and is only remembered for nostalgic reasons.
- Generate ideas constantly. Write down every idea.
- Design can happen first, even before a need or problem is identified.
- But design isn’t just “a good idea”. It’s a good follow through, too.
- Think hard and work hard: 90% of your time will be spent dreaming up your ideas. The other 90% will be spent implementing them.
- Make ’em think: Don’t be afraid to be a snob. Some people just won’t get your idea without thinking about it. Some people just don’t want to think. But those who do will appreciate being challenged.
- Make ’em laugh: Don’t be afraid to be a goof. Some people have no sense of humor, but you’ll be surprised who does.
- Style is great. Fads and fashions are fun. There are plenty of design contexts where stylishness is critical — and there is no design context where a sense of style is completely inappropriate.
- Share your design ideas. No idea is so good that keeping it secret helps you. If you don’t build it, that’s your problem.
- Design is a funny kind of collaboration: Two designers are better than one, but only one designer can drive.
- Design is fun.
What about you?