This week I turned 27. Truth be told, I don’t feel any different to what I did when I was 17. In fact, I still feel like an awkward teenager despite having picked up a thing or two in the 10 years since. So, to celebrate my learning of things (and my birthday), I thought I’d list 27 design related mini-things I’ve learnt this week. “Mini” because if I listed 27 big things I’ve learnt over 10 years, we’d be here all week and I’d have no content for quite literally the rest of the year.
Full disclosure: at the beginning of the week, I was going to write all of these things down as I learnt/thought about them but, of course, I didn’t. So, while these things are actually things I did learn this week, I wasn’t able to totally remember them off the top of my head. Thank goodness for trawling through tweets, draft tweets, favourite tweets, Facebook likes and text messages to recall all of these. Imagine if we did this every week?
So, 27 mini things I learnt as a designer in one week:
- Content will always be an issue.
- Cmd+Shift+Z is not the default shortcut for ‘Revert’ so you can stop cursing Adobe and change the shortcut yourself.
- There is a thing called the Wayback Machine and IT IS THE WAY OF THE FUTURE and it actually transports you to your early teens (I managed to find archived shots of the fan forums I used to hang out in when I was a wild teenager).
- I realised that I believe that no body is born with natural talent. Instead, they are born with an innate predisposition to enjoy certain things in which they will excel.
- I think with words, despite working visually all day. This might explain my need to write my thoughts in order to visualise them. No that doesn’t make sense… Hmm.
- Developers are totally open and enthusiastic about suggestions.
- Unrelated to the above, I love developers (but I already knew this and it might be a little related to the above).
- Bad UI is sometimes good UI depending on who’s using the product, service, app or website.
- Attention to detail is often overlooked, even by big corporations like Microsoft. That’s not to say you should ever drop the ball yourself, though. (I wish I had taken a photo)
- Spending some time manually kerning one word can really make you appreciate the patience letterers and typographers must have.
- Ask for help and you shall receive it.
- Andrew Clarke stashes emergency bananas.
- I value freedom and flexibility over fancy job titles. Add to the list: creativity, thoughtfulness and change.
- Want to measure your progress? Look back on some code you wrote 4 year ago.
- I’ve learnt a lot about development in 4 years, but at the same time learnt a lot less.
- When you’re using paper and pen to work, physically move away from your computer to switch mindsets. It helps.
- Be thorough in your design thinking so someone else doesn’t have to make your decisions for you.
- Sometimes looking for ‘inspiration’ will actually cripple you out of fear of unoriginality.
- Vietnamese vegetable noodle soup makes for excellent designer-fuel.
- Work cleanly. Working with a million unnamed, disorganised Photoshop layers will slow you down, produce inconsistencies and create brain-chaos.
- You should watch this series. It’s great for designers looking for guidance and designers who have been at it for a little while longer: #LETSTALKDESIGN
- Clear your desktop at the end of each day — both the digital one and the physical one.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- During the daily standup, don’t daydream too long about how someone’s hair looked before they got a haircut while looking directly at them. It will make for awkward (and internally hilarious) eye contact.
- Some people believe that ego, over-competitiveness and arrogance are accepted in the web design industry. Along with learning this, it also surprised me.
- Sometimes doing free work, as long as it’s small, is just as good as getting paid. What you can do in 15 minutes, for free, could potentially be something that would cause someone hours of stress. You can give kindness away for free, and receive priceless gratitude in return.
- Don’t trust the automatic alignment tools, your eyes don’t lie. Neither do your hips.
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This week's donut?
All of the above. But, beyond that, take the time to reflect on the smaller moments of your week or life. You never know what you might find.