Just about anything worthwhile can be created in one weekend.
That was basically the message I got from a recent Fizzle interview with Gumroad founder, Sahil Lavingia. Sahil used to work as a designer at Pinterest and left that gig to start his own venture: Gumroad. Coined as the “PayPal killer,” Gumroad combines extremely simple product sales interface with amazing (and simple) design.
So it’s fair to say Sahil knows something about design and business. Gumroad has already been incredibly successful.
And Sahil built the basic functionality that forms Gumroad’s foundation in just a weekend.
Now he’s revolutionizing how the world sells products online.
That’s the power of a “weekend project.”
Why you should design your next website in one weekend
So I decided to put Sahil’s advice to the test in a redesign of Design Blender and Stoked I’ve been working on.
Last weekend, I worked on GDB and here’s what I learned:
Designing a site in one weekend brings out the best designer in you
If you’ve got a decent amount of time behind you as a designer, then you’ve got instincts you can trust. You know when something looks too cluttered, when the typography just doesn’t work, or when the colors are completely off.
By limiting your design time to one weekend, you’re essentially only giving room to your inner talented designer to shine. There’s no time in one weekend for the other designer in you that second guesses design choices, spends hours flipping between 14pt font and 16pt font.
Setting a deadline forces you to decide and run with it.
That doesn’t mean you can’t go back later and bump that font down 2 points later. But this weekend, your project weekend, you don’t have time.
Designing a site in one weekend helps your design be more cohesive
Have you ever worked on a web site only to realize by the end that the design is totally in-cohesive?
You work on it for 22 hours one day, burn yourself out, and wait a week to come back to it. By then, your tastes change, you forget the original inspiration, or you simply can’t get “back in the groove.”
Not only do you risk having a site design that is mismatched and hard to follow, but you also risk stretching out your production time.
Stick to one weekend and you’ll be shocked how easy it is to stay “in the groove.”
Designing a site in one weekend increases the chances of finishing your project on time (or at all)
Redesigning a web site can be a daunting project. There are lots of considerations to take into account.
The process can be overwhelming even to the most experienced designer.
So by setting a deadline (when the weekend is over) you force yourself to deliver.
Will you go back and make tweaks and edits? Absolutely. Will it be sloppy and need some cleaning up later? Maybe a little.
But if you set a timeframe of one weekend, you’re bound to get the bulk of the project completed so you can focus on the important next steps (coding, testing, etc.)
Designing a site in one weekend increases profits
If you’re charging on a per-project basis, you’ll notice that your profit-per-hour goes up when you design a website in just a weekend.
It comes back to bringing out the best designer in you.
You don’t waste time on unimportant things and will, most likely, finish the project sooner.
If you’re not sure if you should be charging per hour or per project, read How Much Should I Charge?
Designing a site in one weekend is energizing
If nothing else, designing an entire web site in one short weekend can be incredibly energizing.
If you find yourself bogged down with the drudgery of running a design business, this can be a great way to reignite your passion for design.
The most important piece to remember
Here’s the catch (you knew there would be one, right?):
Sahil’s advice that anything worthwhile can be built in a weekend should be taken with a grain of salt.
For one reason: because he’s still building Gumroad.
So while you may be able to build the basic design a web site is based around, write a one-page business plan, or write a piece of code that does something awesome in just one weekend, it may take a lifetime to perfect.
So if I dare tweak Sahil’s thoughts just a tad, I would say
“The foundation of anything worthwhile can (and should) be built in just one weekend.”
Agree, disagree? What have you built lately? Share it all in the comments and let’s talk it out.