Last week I read a great little blog post by Denmark-based UX designer, Lars Damgaard, entitled “How to avoid UX design trends and why you should“. In it he says (emphasis his):
“… we need to wisely reflect on how we use [design] or how we are inspired by [design] instead of just blindly reproducing [others’ designs], because this is what looks cool just now.”
He goes on to list a few design trends that he has seen which he cautions us, other designers, to be wary of when implementing.
This piece was an important one. Too often we are attracted by shiny design elements and patterns out there and we wish to replicate them in our own designs. Or whenever we have a design decision that needs to be made, we fall back on the “well, if it works for them, then it should work for me!” heuristic. And why not? It’s the easier/faster thing to do. And after all, didn’t Steve Jobs famously say: “Good artists copy; great artists steal”?
But there is more to this story. If all great artists are stealing from each other, how do we distinguish the genuinely great and innovative designs, and by proxy, the great and innovative designers behind them?
What’s the difference between good designers and great designers?
I contend that while good designers have attained comfort in the mechanics of their trade, great designers understand and actively mind the tradeoffs associated with the design decisions they are making.
Design trends come and go, but if you understand the tradeoffs associated with them you’ll be taking a step in the right direction of deliberately designing your web and mobile solutions.
Good designers design well. Great designers design deliberately.
Good designers know how to use their tools. Great designers know the limitations of their tools and work in relation to them.
Good designers steal. Great designers steal and are aware of the tradeoffs of their actions.
In fact, replace the word “designer” for “developer” or “chef” or “management consultant” or many other disciplines and it still hold true.
Lars Damgaard’s post inspired me to put together a single-page cheatsheet that details, in my mind, some of the most important tradeoffs associated with some of the design trends he listed, and then some.
I hope that it at least helps you think a little deeper about your design decisions going forward.
Let me know if you think I’ve left anything out!