How Good Design Happens

Jibe Media

May 23, 2012

When initially asked to write a post on this subject, I was facing somewhat of a dilemma. Recently I have found that, more than ever, being a graphic designer—or any kind of worker in a creative field—is an exhausting experience. This is especially true when you take into account my personality and the creative process I was taught in school. However, after considering this question, I think I have pinpointed the three things that are particularly vital to good design:

1)   Deadlines

You would think attention to detail, ability to be critical of oneself, and a strong drive to make something new and put your mark on it would benefit you as a designer. And it does. Left to my own devices, however, I would research, revisit, and retouch the same project time and time again until finally either my computer or I kick the can. Actor Harry Shearer said it best:

“I am one of those people who thrive on deadlines. Nothing brings on inspiration more readily than desperation.”

2)   Never Say No

That isn’t true. Never say no to a project that you believe in, to the opportunity to work with someone more experienced than yourself, or to a creative/artistic challenge.

3)   Stop Trying So Hard

This is a direct amendment to what I would have said a short time ago. I’ve been trying hard to stop trying so hard to make good design. Trying to make good design puts far too much pressure on the individual and, more than anything else I’ve described, is the greatest roadblock to creativity. As Eat, Pray, Love author, Elizabeth Gilbert, discusses in the TedTalk below, “[How creatively free would you be] if you never happened to believe in the first place that the most extraordinary aspects of your being came from you.”