4 Things Great Designers Care About
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Health and Wellness

4 Things Great Designers Care About

Because our passion is our greatest asset.

4 Things Great Designers Care About
ux mag

What is a great designer? Is it someone who is a jack-of-all-trades? Are you still a great designer if you are amazing at one thing?

As a Scorpio, one of my many useless talents is self-destruction in the form of comparing myself to others. I scroll endlessly on Tumblr, Instagram, Behance and other social media and portfolio websites to see what my other fellow artists are capable of. But no matter how jealous or inspired I get, we artists only strive to create beautiful work. Whether you are a season professional or recent graduate, there are four things great designers care about.

1.) People

We create art for people. We create art for people who are not us and obviously do not understand art the way we do. Because we make things for others, we need to care about and understand them.

Great designers understand people on intellectual and emotional levels.

Empathy is a characteristic that is so important to an artist or designer. Feeling what others feel gives us deep insight into what they need. Empathetic design techniques are rooted in art and drama, and they inform our design intuition.

2.) Craft

Caring about people motivates us to create, but a sense of craft motivates us to create well. We give form to our ideas and iterate on them while paying close attention to every detail and having that eye for design.

The exact skills needed to perfect your craft differ, depending on where you work and what you make. An architect creates models to give form to a building’s design while a visual designer might create style tiles to give form to a brand identity. Meanwhile, an aircraft designer might test a 3D-printed model in a wind tunnel, and an interaction designer might test an interactive app mockup with users.

3.) Why

Great designers most definitely put effort into the reasoning behind their artwork. Our passion to create often comes with an eye for detail, and behind every design detail lies a decision. But many of the decisions we make in life are arbitrary. Do I wear the blue shirt today or the black one? Should I walk on the left side of the street or the right? Those little decisions mostly have such a small impact on our lives that we don’t really notice or mind either way.

While we craft and design, however, our decisions have more impact. Dieter Rams’ eighth principle of good design is “Good design is thorough down to the last detail.” Nothing is left to chance.

Great designers make mindful choices, not arbitrary ones.

We can help ourselves make choices mindfully by setting a clear vision for any project, which in turn drives our rationale. This starts with understanding the needs of the people for whom we create (we care about them, remember?) and our own objectives. We can articulate our vision with requirements, user stories, personas, and roadmaps. And, because we designers don’t work in a vacuum, articulating our vision helps us communicate it to our teams and stakeholders.

4.) Authenticity

Another great thing about understanding why is that it helps us stay authentic. On a personal level, authenticity is about doing what we believe in. On a design level, it’s about making sure the things we create actually do what they need to do.

Great designers inject their authentic selves into their work and create honest, meaningful things.

The key component to authenticity is honesty: be honest with yourself and honest with the people for whom you create. This honesty is about making choices, especially when it means giving something up.

On a design level, honesty is making choices consistent with your vision and rationale: your why.

Most people laugh at art and design majors, so I will end this with one of my favorite quotes and what inspires me to be the best designer I can be:

"No matter what anyone tells you, words and ideas can change the world. We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering: these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love - these are what we stay alive for." - Robin Williams, Dead Poet's Society

(Although it is a quote mainly for poets, it applies greatly to us artists as well.)

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

100 Things I'd Rather Do Than Study

Procrastination Nation, unite.

Panda Whale
Here are 100 things I'd rather to than study. I know the semester just started, but

    1. Watch a movie
    2. Take a nap
    3. Have a dance party
    4. Eat ice cream
    5. Bake a cake
    6. Cry just a little bit
    7. Knit a blanket
    8. Learn to ride a bike
    9. Build a crib
    10. Watch a hockey game
    11. Watch any game
    12. Play with my hair
    13. Dye my hair
    14. Go grocery shopping
    15. Learn to crochet
    16. Do 50 jumping jacks
    17. Drive cross country
    18. Take a bubble bath
    19. Squeeze lemons for lemonade
    20. Sell the lemonade
    21. Make heart-shaped ice cubes
    22. Moisturize my knees
    23. Paint my nails
    24. Find the cure for cancer
    25. Run a marathon
    26. Just kidding, run down the hall
    27. Squat my bodyweight
    28. Eat my bodyweight in French fries
    29. Hibernate until Christmas
    30. Cuddle my body pillow (unless you have a boo)
    31. Think about all the work I’m not doing
    32. Wash my bed sheets
    33. Vacuum my apartment
    34. Play mini golf
    35. Go swimming
    36. Tan in this Texas heat
    37. Sing like I’m about to win American Idol
    38. Blow up balloons
    39. Pop the balloons
    40. Make lists
    41. Write an Odyssey article
    42. Pet a puppy
    43. Adopt a puppy
    44. Pay my rent
    45. Order a pizza
    46. Start a garden
    47. Cook a turkey
    48. Find new music
    49. Clean my waffle iron
    50. Learn to make jam
    51. Jam to music
    52. Play scrabble
    53. Volunteer anywhere
    54. Celebrate a birthday
    55. Watch a makeup tutorial I’ll never use
    56. Go through old pictures on my phone
    57. Make a playlist
    58. Take a shower
    59. Clean my room
    60. Curl my hair
    61. Climb a rock wall
    62. Get a massage
    63. Play with Snapchat filters
    64. Roast a chicken
    65. Go fishing
    66. Chug some Snapple
    67. Ride in a cart around Walmart
    68. Count the days until the semester is over
    69. Overthink about my future
    70. Think of my future baby’s names
    71. Pin everything on Pinterest
    72. Text anybody
    73. Pray about life
    74. Watch a sunset
    75. Watch a sunrise
    76. Have a picnic
    77. Read a book (that’s not for school)
    78. Go to a bakery
    79. Snuggle a bunny
    80. Clean my apartment
    81. Wash my dishes
    82. Rearrange my furniture
    83. Physically run away from my problems
    84. Make some meatballs
    85. Learn to make bread
    86. Google myself
    87. Ride a Ferris wheel
    88. Get stuck on a Ferris wheel (that way, it’s not my fault I’m not studying)
    89. Wash my car
    90. Get on a plane to Neverland
    91. Find Narnia in my closet
    92. Jump on a trampoline
    93. Learn to ice skate
    94. Go rollerblading
    95. Ride a rollercoaster
    96. Carve a pumpkin
    97. Restore water in a third world country
    98. FaceTime my family
    99. Hug my mom
    100. Tell my friends I love them

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