I consider myself a pretty patient person. If you asked me to untangle a mess of 782 necklaces I could probably sit, peacefully, and go about my necklace-untangling business like a total zen-master. Long lines at supermarket checkouts don’t bother me, I’m always chill about flights being delayed and I am able to get through at least 3 hours of teaching my mother how to use the ‘Start’ button on her computer without raising my voice. Yeah, I’m pretty good in the patience department.
The only situation where my patience seems to be tested is in my work. I’ve often described myself as the impatient-creative. I almost wear that badge with some sort of delusional pride. The thing is, I love art and drawing and all that manual-hands-on stuff but I get frustrated at how long the process often is. This, to me, is one of the reasons I think I became a designer. I managed to find a way to appreciate the aspects of that manual creation while speeding the process up with fandangled technology.
Truth be told, despite all the fandangled tools, the process is still just as long. Or, at least it should be. Especially in designing for the web.
When it comes to a new client, project or brief there are so many things you have to learn, understand and consider for the very first time. When you think about it, you come to realise that designers (or anyone who regularly works with a range of unique businesses) have so much knowledge about industries other than their own. I think that’s a pretty rare pickup in any other industry. On top of understanding the client, there’s understanding and considering the brief, the experience, the audience, the tone, the style, the design, the technicalities… I could go on.
This is where I sometimes stumble in my patience. I could have all the technology in the world, but none of it would speed up the process of really understanding a project from every possible angle. I think it’s because I’m just itching to jump into the hands-on stuff, not because I don’t think the process is important. I know that it’s really important to take the time to really get to know what you’re trying to design for. You should be able to answer questions about the project with confidence or, at least, quickly offer viable solutions to problems. Taking the time to really understand a project inside out is what will yield the best results.
Stop spending your time untangling necklaces, and spend more time really getting to know your project — from the client to the design to the technicalities. Become an expert in your project because it will shine through in the outcome.