5 common mistakes designers make (and how to avoid them)
There are very few creators who can claim they never made a mistake. After all, getting it wrong is part of the learning process and becoming the best designer you can be. But what are the most common mistakes made by designers?
Speaking at Inside the Minds of Design Leaders, an interface design tool webinar Figma, Stuart Frisby, Design Director at Deliveroo, and Karolina Boremalm, Global Experience Design Operations at IKEA Retail, shared some of the most common mistakes they’ve encountered in their careers – and how to avoid them. (If you’re just beginning your design journey, check out the best laptops for graphic design.)
01. Trying to do too much
Boremalm gave a recent real-world example to demonstrate the danger of trying to cram too much information into a design – especially one that’s supposed to be informative. “I am on vacation and recently visited one of the most famous hotel chains in the world. I saw a poster explaining the different room options and could not understand it at all. Rather than just showing the differences, she listed every unique feature of each piece and the price. “
With less important information removed, the design could have been much easier to follow. “Don’t try to do everything,” Boremalm says. “Give enough information for me to move forward rather than giving it all at once.”
02. In pursuit of perfection
“One of the things I see most often,” says Frisby, is the designers “who focus too much on the purity of the production”. By pursuing the idea of ”pixel perfect” work and “purity in design”, a designer can become too focused on something that is difficult to overcome.
In CVs, for example, Frisby doesn’t just strive for perfection. “I’m looking for someone who can balance a bunch of competing goals. Like trying to do a good ethical design job, being consistent, being familiar and innovative – balance is what makes good designs. any of these things in excess can blind you to the larger context of the job.
04. Create “old-fashioned” portfolios
Perhaps surprisingly, Boremalm and Frisby questioned the merit of simply providing a “large set of graphics” when requesting design work. Boremalm called these types of portfolios the “legacy of the advertising agencies”, with too much emphasis on “good posters”.
“My thoughts on the wallets are just not to do them,” she said. “As a manager, I have absolutely no interest in seeing what you actually produced. I want to see what you were thinking about when you took on the challenge, how did you collaborate with stakeholders, what should you prioritize based on scope, budget, etc. “
While Frisby argued that portfolios are an important part of a candidate’s initial assessment, he agreed that the larger context of the work is difficult to convey. “I agree that the old-fashioned notion isn’t what I want – I don’t want a large set of graphics. I want the context with the work. We can call them portfolios but I want to see case studies more than portfolios – the decisions, the constraints, the team. “
05. Don’t be explicit with your career goals
According to Frisby, it’s easy for designers to get too narrow an idea of how they want to advance in their careers. “Don’t just plan your career to become a senior designer in the shortest possible time,” he advises. “Think about the context of your own career, not the one person in your career who jumped to principles in two years – that’s extremely rare. Be explicit with your own development goals and what success means to you.”
“What do you want to do with your life? Boremalm asks. “What does success mean to you? If that means becoming a CEO, cool. But there are other ways to have career progression. Think about what you want to do – you have to be in tune with what you want to do and what growth means to you. “
If you’re looking for more inspiration, take a look at some of our favorite (and certainly not out of date) design portfolios. And if you’re in the mood to feast on some really amazing design mistakes, here are 12 design mistakes that are so bad they are actually good. You’re welcome.