What great design is and isn't.

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Happy Monday!

As you kick off the week with your next project or some concept you need to turn into reality, here are some timely words of wisdom from Blue Flavor:

A great design has a point of view. A really great design will make a clear statement. It’ll be unique in a way that doesn’t necessarily mean it stands out, but it’ll be clear that it has something to say. As such, there will usually people who don’t “like it” and that’s not really a bad thing.

A great design isn’t done by committee. I don’t think you can achieve great design if you have to compromise to please many. Design is best done with one clear vision and an enabled designer who everyone involved trusts to bring that vision to life.

A great design is clear and to a large degree, invisible. A great design should speak for itself and there should never be any question as to what its purpose is.

A great design is written as much as it’s “designed.” The words you choose to use in your designs are as important as anything else that goes into it.

A great design is more than “usable.” If you’re shooting for a usable design, your simply shooting for average. Every design should be usable, it’s much better to be usable and good. Or great.

A great design pays attention to details. If there is one thing I wish I could have on many of the projects I work on is more time and budget to nail down all the little details.

A great design isn’t a template. Along the lines of paying attention to details, a great design will address an entire system in as much detail as possible. This is something that you simply can’t do on the “template” level alone.

A great design takes time and isn’t cheap. This is fairly obvious, but when it comes to design you do get what your pay for, and, along the same lines, if you rush it, it’ll appear rushed.

A great design is never ending. I think, especially when it comes to the web, and interaction design, that a really great design will evolve over time and needs to be looked at, questioned and refined over time.

A great design isn’t perfect. If there is one thing you should pay attention to on this list, IMHO, it’s that striving for perfection in your designs can do much more damage than good. Usually what happens here is that someone isn’t happy because the design isn’t exactly what they wanted to see, and so they want to make changes to bring it in line with that vision. This most often results in compromise to achieve consensus, which also means you’re getting further away from something great. There is no such thing as perfect design, accept that and strive to do something great.

figs by Matt Armendariz

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