Posts tagged with design
5 February, 2014
A recent Twitter conversation resulted in a final tweet suggesting I write a blog post about the topic of conversation. Over the last few days I’ve been mulling over the idea and finally decided to pen to paper. The subject of that conversation? Designing your own website/branding and how hard it is.
Like many designers I am my own worst client. I can begin something on one day, happy with the direction it is heading in and then the next day want to scrap it and start over. Nothing is ever good enough. I always feel like I can do better when I’m working on something which is meant to represent me. So when I decided it was time to refresh this site at the start of the year I used a new approach which I articulated across a couple of tweets.
It is hard, but I treated myself like a client which made it a bit easier. I made sure there was a story to tell as a solution to a defined problem.
Set yourself up as a client
One of the biggest problems that I’ve come across in the past has been trying to squeeze my own design work in around the client work I have on the go. It’s meant two things.
- 1. I’ve never actually focused on it properly.
- 2. The work is never given the time and room it needs to mature.
The two points go somewhat hand in hand. Without dedicating the time I need to sit down and focus on the work properly, it’s evident that the design will never mature properly. However, actually having a proper focus for the job can mean that you don’t need quite as much time to complete things you would otherwise need.
When I sat down just after Christmas to schedule the client work I had for the next couple of months, I included myself as one of those clients. Straight away it set me up on a level footing with my clients and allowed me to come at the project with a fresher and more professional approach. It set the tone for how the project would be run and it ensured that the time needed to complete the project as effectively as possible would be allowed.
Define the problem as clearly as possible
Once the time for your project has been scheduled, it’s important to continue that professional approach when you begin the work. So often when approaching a project that is self initiated, even if it has a specific reason, we have a tendency to approach the work in a manner that is not consistent to the way we would treat a normal client.
At the beginning of a client project, if I do not know exactly what the problem I’m solving is I don’t start until it has been clearly defined. If there is no clear problem, there is no clear solution.
A rough idea doesn’t count as a clear problem that needs solving. Setting off on the process of solving a rough idea will lead to a watered down and likely very trend based solution. The result might look pretty, but chances are it doesn’t communicate what it needs to, nor will it stand up against inspection or the test of time.
Having a clearly defined problem for your self initiated project will give you a constant reference point. Something you can turn back to every time you feel that nag saying “it’s not good enough” to reference against your problem and determine if it’s because the underlying concept is missing the solution, or if you need to continue to revise the solution you are developing.
Solve the problem in the same way and using the same process as you would a normal client
Once you have your clearly defined problem, continue in the same professional manner you’ve started and stick to your usual design process. If you get to a point where you think you’re nearly there, stop and consider if you would send what you’ve got to a client for them to review. If you wouldn’t, you’re not there yet. Keep to those same high standards you set for your clients in the work you are producing for yourself.
Work hard to meet your deadline
In the past, when working on things for myself, I’ve always avoided setting a deadline for myself. I’ve never been able to get out of my head that it’s something that I’ve made up and doesn’t need to be met in the same way that a clients deadline needs to be met. In setting myself up as a client I did away with that attitude. With the work scheduled in amongst my other client work, it was important I stuck to that schedule as best I could in the same way that I would a client. Going over would impact the work for other clients, and would mean I had dropped my professional standard, something no freelancer can afford to do.
The bottom line
Most importantly, when approaching your self initiated project. Keep yourself professional. Work to the same standards as you would for your clients, treat yourself as you would your clients, and stick to your process.
7 January, 2014
Nice insight into the design of the new Mr. Reader icon. Mr. Reader is an app I’ve seen and heard a lot about but I’ve never tried, largely because I’m a snob and judged the icon, deciding it would never appear on my iPad. That may change if I ever get discontented with Reeder.
20 December, 2013
Tidying up some of the files on my Mac this afternoon I stumbled on a piece of typography I developed for a project that didn’t get used. Since it seems a waste to leave sitting on my Mac and not see the light of day I thought it’d be nice to share it here, hope you like it!
18 December, 2013
I’d love to see this in the flesh. A stunningly illustrated book for Audi telling their story from start to present day. If anyone works for Audi and wants to send me one, please feel free to do so!
2 December, 2013
Absolutely fascinating piece of design seeking to help provide A Better A&E. A real practical demonstration on how design can help communicate and help people to understand the process of something we think we all know.
27 November, 2013
Great insight into the new Wendy’s logo, particularly in comparison to the new Arby’s logo.
25 November, 2013
It’s probably not a good thing to discover this early on a Monday morning, but a great test of your kerning skills. 91 out of 100 on my first go.
14 November, 2013
Another great interview I recently read on The Great Discontent with Jeffrey Veen, the man now at leading the teams working on Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
This nugget stood out to me:
I had not yet learned that sometimes the solution people want has very little to do with what they ask for; it often has to do with making them successful, rather than making their product successful.
It makes a lot of sense in the world we live in. So many people seem to be striving to make something which has meaning in the world, but most of the time that thing they are making has meaning to themselves and maybe a very select group of people. More than anything it’s a meaning which proves to themselves that _they_ are being successful at whatever it is they are doing. It’s not about the thing they are making, it’s about themselves.
13 November, 2013
Anyone reading this blog might think I have a bit of a coffee and design obsession. They’re probably right.
Anyway, this latest link for a coffee house in Ukraine’s capital Kiev, set’s out with this at its heart
Launching a new coffee brand in today’s very competitive market is hugely challenging. You have to offer something truly unique, of the highest quality, along with great atmosphere.
You really have to stand out in a crowd.
Boy did they nail it. I had to google the name of the shop to try and confirm where it’s location was, such is the execution and level of design. It really feels like it would be at home alongside places like the Ritz.
11 November, 2013
I really like the quirky nature of this branding for an independent coffee shop in Massachusetts. It’s a really interesting blend of illustration and typography that makes me want to visit the place. The UK seems to be so lacking in interesting independent coffee places.
The accompanying website carries the imagery well, but I can’t help but feel it misses the quirkiness of the rest of the design.
7 November, 2013
Lovely bottle labels for a collection of world beers. Love the idea of each one being represented by their airport initials.
Fascinating idea for new wine packaging. Can’t say I’m enthralled by the idea of drinking wine out of a carton though.
6 November, 2013
Really like the execution and prestige of this branding for Piano maker. It reflects the finished piano’s beautifully.
5 November, 2013
Really like the new branding/packaging for this american coffee company. It’s heritage comes through nicely in a nice break from all the hipster looking coffee shop brand designs currently in vogue.
4 November, 2013
This desk and dining table is right up my street when it comes to furniture and design. Love the clean aesthetic and the contrast of the white against the wood.
Love the Back to the Future one.
3 November, 2013
Well after launching a bit of a realigned version of PBcom on Friday I’m delighted to be able to say that the portfolio section has now gone live. A long with it has come a few tweaks to the main page and a good bit of understanding towards how the WordPress loop functions!
Anyway, I’ll be adding projects to the portfolio over the course of the next few days to go along with the initial ones that are already there. Please do wander over and have a look.
25 October, 2013
I like design and I like cycling. Where better to look for cycling gear than at Rapha? The Autumn/Winter lookbook gives not only a great insight into their new city range but also two european cities I’d like to visit.
As for the clothes? Who knew you could get cycling gear that could be worn as normal clothes likes this? Now I just need small mortgage to get some…
Fantastic insight into the creation of the artwork for John Mayer’s Born & Raised album.
When I first came across the illustrations of Guilherme Henrique it was the cycling ones which caught my imagination. Then I kept scrolling and, well, everything else is pretty awesome as well!