An Open Letter to Designers of Unsolicited Redesigns and Unbuildable Apps

Keep doing what you’re doing.

Don’t pay attention to the haters, the trolls, or the folks who think they know better. You’re giving other designers something to think about. And that’s good.

I’m a designer. Like most designers I have a design process. Mine typically starts with questions, sketching, wireframes, and prototyping in the browser. This paves the way for a style guide and design tone with which to build a site or app. But at some point I look to optimize and polish the design. That’s where you come in.

When I browse sites like dribbble, I’m usually looking for inspiration to help with a current project. A project whose foundation and core experience is already established. I’m looking for ideas to improve what I’ve already got. I’m not redesigning Craigslist, but maybe your redesign has a navigation pattern that could fit my work. Perhaps the data visualizations in your faux banking concept are appropriate for my medical app. You’ve inspired me and provided insight to solve my design problem (which will ship).

Thank you.

Thank you for giving me something to think about. Thank you for helping me frame my design problem in a different way. Your design doesn’t have to solve an immediate problem or be sold to someone who needs it in order to help people like me.

It doesn’t matter if your Facebook redesign is impractical. I don’t care if you never build that photo sharing app. It doesn’t mean you’re wasting your time. You’re not.

And of course, there’s the part about developing your own skills. That’s super important too. “Just! Build! Websites!” as ShopTalk would say. Here’s a tweet storm that sums up my feelings on that.

You may have read about the dribbblisation of design, but don’t let the dribbblisation of dribbblers get to you.

I’m often on Twitter talking shop about designing the web, hacking on emails, and trying not to take things too seriously.