After a conversation with Amanda from Truly Ace Design on our post ‘eightyone design christmas card designs‘ (you can see the full conversation here) I started wondering if graphic designers are ever satisfied? In this blog post I look at the design industry and how it may be the cause of our endless search for satisfaction, how online networking and commenting encourages us to re-think our designs and how our eternal pursuit of perfection could just be a mere personal trait of a graphic designer.
The graphic design industry
In the graphic design industry there is never one answer to a question. There are many possible design solutions to a problem. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there are endless possibilities and that there are no constraints. Good graphic designers always factor in restraints like target markets and key objectives. Still, this leaves a creative graphic designer with several solutions to a problem, thus plenty of ideas and creative elements to amend and tweak to our hearts content.
When working on a design we often tweak, amend and play until we are exhausted. We then always try and leave the design for a day or two before returning to it. Then we start the tweaking process over again. To be honest this cycle could probably go on forever. However, we have one very important restraint - timescales. Like any graphic designer, I don’t like working to ridiculous timescales but reasonable deadlines can help rein in a project. This allows us to ‘draw a line’ under the project and stop us from designing ourselves to death!
As I said to Amanda, surely our strive for perfection can’t be a bad thing? Surely it can only make us better graphic designers? However, I would love to know how many times I have amended a design only to decide it was better when I first opened it. Again, this may not be a bad thing as going through this process enables me to feel more confident when showing the visual to my client. I am happy in the knowledge that I have experimented enough to be sure it is the right design concept for them.
Twitter, blogging and social commentary
I think that the graphic design industry has been heavily influenced by online networking. Social networking websites such as Twitter allow us to gain feedback and thoughts on a design concept, which is a good thing, right? I often see people asking for feedback and sometimes I give them my thoughts.
However, let me set the scene, you have completed a very long logo design project during which you carried out an extensive amount of research. Based on this research you are satisfied that the logo design concept you have created is inline with the clients objectives and would appeal to the target market. Prior to showing the design to the client you upload it to a forum for fellow designers thoughts and feedback. You give a brief description of the client, objectives and market and you are then sent comments on how to improve your design.
You then spend a huge amount of time amending, changing and redeveloping the logo design concept based on feedback from people you have never met, people whose own design work you may never have seen and people who have not been through the same research and development process you carried out at the start of the project.
Surely If you feel you have ‘ticked all the boxes’ and have created a design concept that fulfills the clients brief, shouldn’t you be satisfied and confident in doing so and not require additional time to amend and redevelop a design based on others critics?
Has this online network of individuals who share a passion for design (albeit professionally or as a hobby) caused this endless search for perfection?
Is never being satisfied just a personal trait of the graphic designer?
We recently purchased a new Mac with a 24 inch screen and we were pleased as punch with it. Compared to our existing 20 inch screen it seemed massive! We thought there was enough screen real estate to have every single possible application open and viewable at once and that it would make our life so much easier when working on larger print design projects. However, a mere two weeks down the line we are now looking at it thinking ‘well… it could be a bit bigger’!. Give it another week and we’ll be saying that it’s not fast enough (although I hope not as it is very, very fast!).
So is this strive for perfection more of a personal trait that can be found in every graphic design artist? Is it this passion that has led us to a career in this industry and is this a trait that carries through to other areas of our lives?
Part of me thinks this endless strive for perfection is an excellent trait to have making us better designers. It constantly forces us to produce better quality work.
However, are we in fact just huge time (and therefore money) wasters who should trust our instinct and believe in our skill rather than ‘tweaking’ our designs until we can ‘tweak’ no more?
What do you think? Is our pursuit of perfection beneficial to our graphic design soul or are we just huge time wasters?
Posted by Lu