The marketing design industry is a strange and savage beast and it’s hard to know whence it will strike next. As designers, we, in particular, go into projects knowing full well the design beast can turn on us at any moment, slashing us to ribbons.
So, what makes design so beastly? Simply put, it’s the multitude of valid opinions about what makes good design. It’s preconceived notions. And it’s fear.
I can tell you from experience that the best protection from the beast is confidence.
3 tips for confronting the Design Beast with confidence
Know if your designs solve a problem: Design in this day and age is a mish mash of many things, and often times what matters most can be lost. It’s easy to get mixed up in the hullabaloo and try to be all things to all people. Above all good design should solve a problem or why would it exist? The design beast doesn’t always understand the complexities of the work.
Know if your design is quality work: We’ve all heard the expression, “we want quality over quantity,” but many designers don’t live by these words. It can be easy to confuse personal taste or uniqueness with effectiveness and quality. I’ve heard it before a hundred times, “well, this is, uh, unique,” or, “it’s one of a kind,” or “it reminds me of a poster I saw on vacation.”
This is fine and good, but as a design for a brand, these things may have nothing to do with the real task at hand. Being unique and one of a kind is, of course, good. But we can’t forget that we need to be effective too?
Know if your design meets simplicity principles: There is a balancing point where when creative work is both beautiful and functional. Having a focused stripped-down approach is much more difficult than it appears. Simplicity adds contrast and clarity and both of those things help work resonate and communicate confidence. Focusing on what’s working and removing elements that don’t serve a real purpose is a hallmark of good design and communication in general.
Owning anything of quality takes time and hard work. It’s a commitment. And good design is no different. Expecting immediate gratification when rolling out an identity, campaign or any other large brand endeavor is unrealistic, but it still happens every day.
Work with professionals you trust, do your research, believe in the work, let it breathe, be seen and have time to do its job.
Every now and then if you’re pushing the boundaries the design beast won’t like it. The beast might even lash out and you’ll get a badass scar you can wear with pride. On the other hand, if you’re too afraid to approach the beast with confidence it will never respect you. And you need respect to survive in this jungle.