The isolated design

It’s been one year since I joined the field of designing. The journey was quite amazing and I thought of sharing my experience. So, I have started writing articles for my blog. Before beginning with the article, I would like to confess that I am not an expert in this field and didn’t mean to offend anyone’s working style. The views are personal and I would beg forgiveness for the same.

During the initial phase, designers usually stumble upon the idea of designing the product alone, see the results and try to escape from the feedback. If you have done that, you may have found that the designs do not produce desirable results. The possible reason could be that you care deeply about the product you create and understand that your work is a reflection of you. We always like to hear good feedback about our designs and really love to be appreciated for our efforts. But this is not true every time. In the initial phase, it’s more important to commit mistakes as it’s an integral part of the learning process. These mistakes often make you receive feedback that question your design and your thinking abilities (which may hurt you). What we do then? Stop taking feedback and start working independently which I call “Isolated Design”.

The design made without considering the feedback of others(or stakeholders) which could have helped improve the design is Isolated Design.

How it affects our design process?

The designer can not improve his/her quality without knowing what others feel about his/her design, what the users experience while using the product. Not paying heed to others’ point of view and considering one’s ideas and style superior over others’ could be harmful in the long run as this could mislead to the wrong style of designing.

Are feedback really important?

Critique is an important part of any design process, whether you work within a diverse team or independently. The feedback you get can help get you from the outside of your own head in order to make better decisions, overcome obstacles, and strengthen your craft.

Are they really criticism?

It’s important to know the difference between helpful feedback and unhelpful criticism.

To really ensure feedback is kept helpful — truly in the form of critique and not criticism — Reeves gives us an outline for developing a clear distinction between the two:

Criticism passes judgment — Critique poses questions

Criticism finds fault — Critique uncovers opportunity

Criticism is personal — Critique is objective

Criticism is vague — Critique is concrete

Criticism tears down — Critique builds up

Criticism is ego-centric — Critique is altruistic

Criticism is adversarial — Critique is cooperative

Criticism belittles the designer — Critique improves the design

Most people get their defense up the minute they feel somebody is giving them an opinion not necessarily aligned with their own. Instead of being extra sensitive, it is essential to consider the person’s outlook and analyse whether it can be incorporated in anyway. Do not reject any idea by labeling it as criticism. It might be a stepping stone to bettering yourself.

Critique should not serve the purpose of boosting the ego or agenda of anyone.

Respect others

Respect your peers, teammates and client, and respect your “professional elders” (whether or not they’re actually older than you). Respect means recognizing the contributions of others and appreciating their value. Take advantage whenever senior people offer help or guidance. It is usually not offered lightly. But also recognize that peers, less experienced designers, and non-designers are worth listening to, and often have surprisingly good insights.

Conversely, designers who don’t value the contributions of team members, or who don’t show clients due respect are exhibiting dangerous red flags. Lack of respect shuts down collaboration and avenues to great work.

Nobody is perfect neither you are

You may be the best but there is always a scope of improving and getting better. Take feedback with a pinch of salt and don’t get offended. Dealing with criticism in a positive manner is extremely important. At some point of time in your professional life, you will be criticized. It may seem unfair and difficult. But you can use it in a positive manner — as a means to better yourself, or in a negative manner — causing yourself stress, anger and lowered self-esteem.


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More articles on the way. Stay tuned ☺