Stories are everywhere.

An open book on a blanket in a bed with lights inside the book, illuminating the pages
An open book on a blanket in a bed with lights inside the book, illuminating the pages
Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

Stories are present in all parts of our lives: Every social media platform has a story feature these days, we look for the best ones on Netflix for entertainment purposes and we even tell stories about ourselves when we interview for a new job. And you’re reading this article right now because you’re interested in the narrative around a particular topic. We were told stories when we were children, before we went to bed and our interest comes from an ancient desire to gather around a fireplace and to be taken on a dramatic adventure told in words.

As any type of designer, we’ve become pretty good at telling stories to our users, clients and customers but we’re missing out on one important fireplace: Using storytelling as a tool when it comes to interacting with our own team, the people within the business that we interact most often and most closely with. I see this happening in the form of links to designs simply being shared, rather than being presented. This leaves the receiver with the task of having to figure it out for themselves when what we should be doing is to be crafting a narrative around our solution and telling the story of it, because every solution is a story waiting to be told. …


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Photo by Papaioannou Kostas on Unsplash

We’re well into the new year and this is the time of year when people are on the move, switching companies or looking for new opportunities. If you find yourself in such a position — just starting your new job, full of excitement and joy — that’s great, congratulations. You’ve left your comfort-zone and decided to take on a new challenge!

After the initial excitement has settled, the urge to prove oneself slowly starts to kick in. We search for moments to promote our own skills and prove that the company made the right decision in hiring us. …


Why looking back is just as important as looking around.

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Photo by John Baker on Unsplash

I just spent about an hour going through my drafts on Behance which consist of about 6–8 projects that I kept on the platform but decided to unpublish/keep them to myself either because they didn’t showcase the current state of a particular skill of mine or because they didn’t fit the overall theme of the projects that I wanted to highlight in my portfolio. At the beginning, when I started browsing through the first and oldest projects I was expecting to go “What was I thinking?” quite often but to my surprise, the opposite happened. I felt an appreciation for the effort I put in to achieve what I wanted to achieve back then. Of course, as my skills developed in the past couple of years, I now look back at the end result and think about what could’ve been done better or how I would approach the same issue today. But still, I gave everything I could when I was working on that particular project and I was proud enough of the results to upload it to my Behance. …


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Photo by Paul Schafer on Unsplash

Routines are everything.

As humans, we are very habitual beings — some of us follow our schedules closer than others — but at the end of the day, we all have our routines that we stick to. Having a structure gives us a feeling of safety, comfort and familiarity. We wake up, get dressed, have breakfast, brush our teeth, go to work. We’ve been doing this hundreds and thousands of times in our lives and we are pretty good at it because we repeat these steps in mostly the same order day by day with just a few exceptions.

When we are at school or university we make studying and revision a part of our daily or weekly routine with the motivation to pass our exams and hopefully get good grades as a result of that but once we transition into work life, education is usually not something we actively focus on. Sure, there are workshops and trainings that further develop our skills or try to teach us new ones but they usually last a few days or weeks max and then it’s up to every individual to repeat the newly learned patterns and establish behavioural habits out of them. The good thing: You can establish a habit of educating yourself on your own every single day by reserving just a few minutes of your day. If your first reaction is “Well, but my schedule is so packed that I can’t find the time” — you’re wrong. …


All over the world in companies of all different shapes and sizes, designers are part of agile teams, developing products and translating business, product management, development and brand requirements into polished designs and memorable user experiences. Designers often work in agile teams because they are part of or responsible for team XYZ which is working in an agile setup. …


As designers, especially in the UX/UI and product design spheres, we often have to take part in and lead discussions about problems and possible solutions. This is a core area of our responsibility and every designer, as uncomfortable and stressful as it can be at times, should not only take part but embrace these discussions.

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“people sitting on chair in front of table while holding pens during daytime” by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

Leave your ego at the door

In our everyday jobs we sometimes forget that what we create is not for ourselves or for any single stakeholder, but for real customers out there in the real world. Especially when discussing solutions, egos can light up and cloud the judgement of a possible solution. People, when proven wrong, very rarely accept and concede that they are in the wrong. In fact what often happens is that they will defend their position far beyond the point of logic. This is playing with fire because it can lead to a negative outcome for your users. A bad decision is made because of pride and ego and the person suffering is not the colleague that vouched for a different outcome but the user interacting with your product, having three big question marks above his head. If we take this further, that customer might search for alternative products and solutions because he had a bad user experience and you loose him, possibly forever. Why? …


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Teemu Paananen — Unsplash.com

We are at a point where design has never been as important as it is today and it’s due to companies like Apple. It’s these companies that have put design at the core of their products and philosophies and really changed the influence and understand of what design is.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” — Steve Jobs

This wasn’t always the case and only during the 19th and 20th century, when the phrase ‘form follows function’ was coined by Horatio Greenough and later Henry Louis Sullivan, did the philosophy of design start to change. The essence of the phrase being that the aesthetics should transport the function of the object. …


Being a creative, you probably know what it feels like to be in the creative flow. It’s like riding a great wave that carries you along seamlessly, from one great idea to the next. The areas of your brain responsible for creative thinking are handing out high-fives to each other in celebration but then, as the wave reaches the coast, it dissolves and everything is slow and quiet again and you feel like the next wave is far, far away. Frustration soon follows:

This is known as a creative drought and it happens to creatives in all fields of work, the most famous form being the Writer’s Block. Even the most famous, influential and most productive characters of their creative field, such as Shakespeare and Mark Twain, have experienced this state of blockage — everyone does. …

About

Oliver

Product Designer. Motion Graphics Enthusiast. Illustrator.

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