Designing through the eyes of a non-designer

Think of your favorite children’s song. Now grab a coworker and tap the tune of the song on their hand while you sing it silently to yourself. After you finish, ask them to name the song you just tapped out. According to “Made to Stick“, a book I recently read about why some ideas thrive and others fail, your friend will most likely not know which song you were tapping. Why? The curse of knowledge. The designer’s curse of knowledge

Finding your voice in the design community

If the online design community were an actual city, it would be a thriving metropolis. Complete with skyscrapers, huge arenas and enormous shopping centers. But as in any large community, the value of the community lies in each person–each individual, contributing member.Sometimes you may feel like all the “skyscraper” designers crowd out your little back-alley shop or street-corner soapbox. Perhaps you blog and tweet trying to share your opinion in the design community but people figuratively walk by, occasionally dropping

Design Essentials 2: Originality

This chapter of Design Essentials will cover the topic of  Originality in design. Originality is the ability to think independently and creatively. So why is it so important that we, as designers, are original thinkers? Put most simply, original designs are more effective. Let’s take a look at the concept of originality in design: But don’t great designers copy? It’s been a popular topic of discussion here on GDB and throughout the design community: do great designers really copy other

Design Essentials 1: Attention to detail

This chapter of Design Essentials focuses on Attention to Detail and the important role it plays in the design process. Attention to detail makes for a better experience in any industry. A candy on your pillow at the hotel or a mint with your check at a restaurant makes for a more enjoyable traveling experience. Detectives and law officials know that it is in the details of a crime scene that they find success. Engineers and architects know that the

The beginner’s guide to blogging about design

So you want to blog about design, eh? You’ll have to take a number and wait in line because, frankly, there are thousands of blogs about design out there. Starting a successful design blog is like learning to walk: You will most likely fail a number of times, you’ll need a lot of patience, and you can’t do it on your own. This article will give you a few pieces of advice to help your blog be as successful as

What to do when a client wants you to copy other designs

Coming from LinkedIn? Let’s get connected! In the graphic and web design industry, we like to think of ourselves as “creatives” who constantly keep the creative juices flowing and come up with original, well-thought out ideas. So why is it that even the best of graphic and web designers are approached by a client now and then who says something like: “I really like the look of this design. Can you just copy it?” I was asked about this just

Avoid design burn-out by limiting client revisions

Beginning a new design project is always exhilarating. You’re energized and excited about working on the project and creating something effective and beautiful. But have you ever had a project that, by the end of it, you just “want to get it done”? You stop caring so much about the design because you’ve been forced to change it so many times since the original concept, you don’t even feel like it’s your work anymore? I’ve been there. This article will

Specialization: a designer’s key to success in the future

I am currently reading “The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding” a phenomenal book about marketing and branding written by Al Ries. One of the laws of effective branding is the law of contraction. Ries explains that companies (and might I venture to add independent designers or freelancers in general) are likely to be more successful if they focus their energies on one specific skill instead of trying to master a number of different ones. Jack of all trades, master of

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