There will always be arguments on what good design is or looks like. Trends come and go, and technology is ever changing. You can look at something for a split second or a long time and still think it looks aesthetically pleasing. However what good design comes down to isn’t if what you created is good enough for your living room wall, it’s whether or not it does its job perfectly.
You can have the most jaw-dropping creation, but unless its job is to be a work of art then it’s pointless. If you create a visually stunning dashboard for a mobile application but the interface and navigation doesn’t make sense, people are going to abandon it. It doesn’t matter that it’s pretty. If your main demographic is mobile users, but you’re too concerned with dynamic elements and large parallax images you will lose clients when your site takes too long to load on their mobile devices.
Design is the solution.
Design is not just the art or visuals that accompany a project. Design is not where things are placed on a page. It’s the complete solution, intuitive and easy to use… while looking sexy as hell. It almost makes you angry if you’re a designer when you see it, the why didn’t I think of that type moments. Jealousy is mad real when you see that smug designer walking about with their knockout date of a design solution. Just flaunting it in their personal portfolio. Not to mention when the solution is done properly it can stand the test of time… So forever flaunting.
The solution is rarely the same.
One thing to understand is that if something works very well for a particular client it does not mean that your new client should have or NEEDS the same solution. Just because you and your client are throwing parties every weekend about that amazing solution DOES NOT MEAN you need it on every single one of your projects from then on out. Sticky navigations are helpful when included on a very long website, whether it is a one-page site or multiple. However, that doesn’t mean they should be on every site you develop from then on out. If you were a doctor and not a designer (you’d probably be in Hawaii on vacation or something) you wouldn’t be prescribing the same medication for a diabetic as you would for someone who suffers from IBS. You should be looking at your projects the same way, each project deserves the time and dedication in researching the best solution.
What I am NOT saying
Do not give up on the creative and visual part of design. Just understand that design is more than just visuals. Continue to create and push for the stunning jaw-droppers, the clean and tidy hierarchy, and the strategic negative space. Create something you’ll be proud of, and always approach each project as its own separate project. More often than not designers get placed in the visual corner, never included in the functionality of a build, or included in the build after the ‘design phase’. Try and push your way into the later meetings, especially when functionality is being reviewed or discussed.
Never forget: Design is Problem Solving