As digital designers we are in an interesting time. The craft is young, and standards (if you want to call them that) are changing every few months.
If you are like me, we sometimes have to make the call whether to solidify the experience or give in to the pressure of clients/bosses to make it look “beautiful”.
When I was a young designer it was very hard not to design the most beautiful thing I could, its what we are taught in design school right? Remember those design reviews you’d have in class? This is the place where we learned how to design for designers. Whether we were told to tighten our kerning or stop using those terrible photoshop filters, we were starting to learn that good design was making other designers “ooh and aah”.
Thankfully, over time I’ve learned how dangerous doing this can actually be. Design is just one component to a product. There are so many other things that contribute to a product’s success. Dribbble is full of gorgeous UI elements and animations that look great as 400x300 thumbnails but would they work for legacy hardware/software or slow connections speeds? While success itself can be measured in many ways the beauty of a product can’t be the sole purpose.
Design is a business. Clients depend on our ability to help their businesses. We owe them that as long as they continue to pay us. This means that sometimes we may have to provide solutions that won’t look good as a dribbble shot.
Don’t get me wrong create beautiful things, make your work look like a professional made it, but don’t design to impress other designers.
I still love making other designers “ooh and aah”, but when a client can attribute success to their business by your design solutions its the best feeling in the world.