Design Rules And Pushing The Boundaries

Originally posted on my website

This topic has its pros and cons, but let’s clarify what kind of rules do we have and how to not put ourselves into a box and stop being creative using design rules.

First of all, why creatives don’t like rules? I can say about my experience and what I noticed from what other creatives say about rules and most commonly how do they break them.

We learn rules from the moment we started to learn how the world works. Some of them, such as: “Don’t stick a fork in the electrical socket” saved our lives, but some of them, as for example, “Empty the dishwasher” or “Take out trash” sound boring and don’t motivate us much. And as adults, the rules just keep coming and strike us from almost every step we do.

However, we need rules to interact well with other people. Otherwise, we would have chaos. The same with design. We need rules in design to create things that will serve for other people.

You can think of design rules as “truths” to make it sounds better. Some truths are very helpful. Take a look. Blue complements orange. Vertical text is difficult for Western readers. Kerning makes words easier to read. In some way rules like this help us automate design process and to not invent things like this once again. Experienced designers just know them and apply automatically without thinking too much about essentials like this.

We have to know rules, but we shouldn’t follow them all the time. Moreover, we can bend or break them intentionally, but to do that we should know why these specific rules exist and how they can be applied.

Boundary-pushing proves that you are a thinker and a doer, not a follow-the-leader-er.

Every design problem has multiple solutions. If you don’t explore a variety of possible solutions, you’re not doing your job. Exploring design means looking at the rules. Which means investigating your options. And investigating your options means thinking about breaking the rules. Breaking design rules mean pushing the limits. It’s usually a challenging work.

Every good design process consists of research, exploration, innovation and, of course, creation. I always start with research. It gives me a knowledge about existing solutions. I can see the boundaries. And then I understand how can I push those boundaries and create something better or something new.

Breaking any rules come with an experience. I believe that every designer or creative should be in the industry for a while and learn how things are going before start doing it differently.

Words like: unexpected, infectious, viral, unusual, shocking, spectacular, double-take, visual surprise, usually help to push boundaries.

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week,

Max

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