Take a step back

About 2 min reading time

A while ago I was visiting a relative/client regarding some counseling about her brand new Wordpress site. While being there she mentioned some flyers she and her husband had made for the business (garden services). Since spring is coming along you’ve got to ramp up quickly now because of the huge demand later on, therefore the need for a flyer just to “get it out there”. I have to say I had loved to design it myself — no doubt — but then I saw the flyer they had created. I really liked it and was impressed. It was an elegant gallery of garden photos on portrait piece of paper, with the logotype in the middle. I think it was 3x6 small photos ordered in a grid. To be honest, I couldn’t have made it better myself. I believe the moral of the story is that everybody can design. It just has to be simple enough. If I was to design that flyer, I had started to decide on typography, grids, hierarchy, colour scheme, what kind of photos to use, etc. I had given it too much thought and bypassed the really simple, straight-forward and plain beautiful solution. It’s important to take a step back as a designer (and developer as well) and think of what you’re doing. Is it really crucial and vital that the text lines up perfectly to the horizontal grid? Is it worth it to rewrite a large part of the application just to make use of that cool library? “Regular” people (if I may say so) aren’t always dumb users who have no idea of what they want. When I was young and foolish I used to be so very eager to build stuff that I didn’t care too much about asking people (and myself) what really mattered the most with this application/design. I ended up feeling like I had missed something. Of course there are boundaries where you actually shouldn’t consult end-users, focus groups and so on. But what I mean is that it’s quite good to step away from the designer/developer role and get back to the roots sometimes. Everybody will gain from it.