Into The Unknown: Exploring Design

The beginning of every new design project is the essentially the same. We get the assignment, we look at what’s needed and we say to ourselves, “Oh I can do this, I’ll just sort of do what I did for the previous one. It’ll be easy.” If you’re a developer you may look at the project and you think, “I’ve never done this before, why don’t we do it this way? I know how to do that.” But as of today, let’s change that. It’s time we stop that train of thought. Here’s why: (Yes, I’m totally talking to myself here)

1. It’s good to push yourself. 
Sure it’s easy to do the same thing we’ve always done in the past, but where does that leave us? THE SAME PLACE. You will figuratively be going in a circle for your entire career. You might argue that what you’ve always done looks good. It does the job. Unfortunately, with this mentality, you’ll never grow. Designers, approach your next project by forgetting everything you’ve ever done design-wise. Look around you for new solutions and expand on ideas that come from those explorations. Developers, when new ideas come your way, don’t hesitate and say “that’s not the standard way of doing things on *insert platform here*.” Dig in with your designer and explore if your idea, or a version of it, can be done within the time frame of the project. Maybe it’ll take a little longer and maybe your brain will hurt, but you’ll have learned something new, expanded your core skill set, and hopefully blown some minds along the way.

2. You should be driving the direction of the industry you’re in.
You can’t lead if you’re doing the same thing everyone else is doing and you can’t lead if you are doing the same type of styling, design, and infrastructure over and over again. Of course, there are standards and faster, more economical ways of developing, but at some point, you have to take off the handcuffs and see what freedom feels like. Explore options and ideas outside of your project if you have to. Get together with a developer and make something weird. Just have fun and it might just change the industry. If it doesn’t, it certainly didn’t hurt to try.

3. The unknown isn’t stagnant unless you are.
At the very least, don’t be stagnant in your work. You don’t always have to do an entire project differently. You don’t have to scrap your creative process. It can be as easy as taking one element or step from what you usually do and changing it. Find a new layout solution. Change the way the navigation works. Display photos differently. Whatever you do, don’t be stagnant. Get out there and explore the unknown!

Trent Nicholson
Trent Nicholson