6 lessons we’ve learnt from designers
By Anthony Horne
Reading time: 4 minutes
Designers can teach us a lot of things. About using space and being creative but also about being succinct and to the point, as well as using new technology to our benefit. What we learn can be implemented in any environment from building a website to creating a productive working environment. Below are 6 lessons we have learnt from design that you can adapt to suit your life and business.
1. Find your space
Many of us spend most of our day at work, in an office, at a desk, and behind a laptop or computer. For most, this can be soul-crushing and ultimately affects their output and quality of work. As an individual, find a space and make it your own. Be comfortable in your space and confident in your abilities. As a company, create a work environment that inspires your employees to produce great work and grow as individuals. This same concept can be applied when building a website, design it like you would your space – in a way that shows off your individuality and sustainable competitive advantage.
2. Clear, straight-forward language
In the words of Blaise Pascal: “I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.”
Long-winded copy, heavy with overcomplicated sentences and filled with fancy industry specific jargon and phrases makes for difficult reading! Sometimes this is completely unavoidable. If you are speaking to industry experts and fellow colleagues, then you must talk the talk. In most cases though, especially when you are talking to clients or the general public, this is not necessary. You are more likely to lose a client or scare off potential clients if they can’t understand what you are saying or feel stupid just reading the copy on your website or brochure. Keep it simple, straight-forward and to the point.
3. Don’t be that one-trick pony
It’s great to be an industry expert and a leader in a certain service. It isn’t so great losing clients to a competitor because they think that one service is all you can do. Clearly define your services to potential and current clients. Let your clients know exactly what they can benefit from. It’s always easier to upsell to a current client than sell something to an entirely new client. An ongoing relationship builds strength, understanding, communication, and most importantly, a more rewarding partnership.
4. New projects, new tech
Try to implement some sort of new technology in every project you do – new framework, new syntax or new tools. Trying these small, continuous inclusions during a project will reduce the time spent outside of working hours keeping yourself up-to-date with the latest trends. Be wary though, trying new tech is a decision that needs to be well planned and thought out. If it’s going to severely affect the budget or time you have, it probably isn’t a good idea.
5. Less is more
Learn to say ‘no’. It’s that simple. In order to accomplish more, you actually have to do less. Whatever that means practically is up to you, fewer emails, fewer meetings, fewer new business lunches (which might sound stupid), or fewer team building functions. The more you have on your plate, the less time you have to do each task, and this leads to unfinished or poorly executed work. With less on your plate you can be more focused and driven, and this will lead to results.
6. Be an educator
Clients don’t know what they haven’t been told. Sounds pretty straight-forward, right? But how many times has a client come to you in the middle or at the end of a project with a wildly dreamt up idea that they expect you to just deliver on? Functionality they would take weeks of development to produce, and they expect it tomorrow. At the beginning of every project, clearly define what you can and can’t do, and what level of flexibility you are comfortable with. Changes are inevitable, unless you are perfect (ha, I know you thought it), but unless you set clear parameters and objectives, a seemingly easy project can go on for months.
Technology changes and we change along with it. The lessons we learn during these changes are the difference between growing and improving or staying the same. The more adapt you become at implementing the lessons you learn, the more effective you will be at producing results, improving workflow and the quality of your work. So these are the design lessons we’ve learnt that we feel will benefit anyone, and hopefully improve projects and workflow along the way.