How do you know if you’re a good or a bad designer? How do you know if your designed logos, web pages would appeal to your clients? That’s a question every other designer asks themselves including our designer at iChanical’s. Nobody has a 100% good or bad “taste.” Taste is subjective.
Designers do pursue creative design work because they have a taste or some sort of formulated opinions about colors and shapes that ordinary folks may lack. As a business strategist, I can link colors and shapes to customer perception (that’s marketing), but I do not usually much visual clues from any particular juxtaposition of colors or forms. I leave the last calls to our professional designers who now have a good taste through experience.
Good taste takes years.
I agree with this statement. Just like my response to problems gets quicker with time, designers build their own taste. An abstract reasoning that perfectly mixes with creative impulses according to a team member. Designers build their level of experience just as we build sharper skills at playing games or sports.
It is important, however, for debuting designers to not shut themselves down at their start if they don’t like their own work. Surely, there is someone out there who will appreciate their work. The most important thing is to practice.
How does someone become a better designer?
Step outside the internet
Go outside and look at nature around. Take photos with your phone or with a Canon. Read books on design in small coffeeshops or at Starbucks. No shame. There are so many untapped sources of inspiration beyond what fellow designers are doing on the internet. My greatest source of inspiration is a cup of hot java and warm sun rays. Talk to your peers about your inspiration blocks. Get insights from the more experienced. Tweet them. Tweet us. Ignite a conversation about a specific trend you’re interested in. Your ideas on what is good or bad will change once you get new perspectives.
How does that work? That’s a good question. Always have that one buddy you can bounce ideas and questions off each other. You will learn about what is new, what is trending, what has been done and by whom. Reading, travel, talking to different people from all walks of life, in different places, LA, Portland, Berlin, London, Bangkok, Melbourne. It will be worth it. Enroll in a new class or take on a side project. All of these things can help you get valuable perspective. You taste in design will improve exponentially.
Practice, practice, practice
There is always a “gap” or discrepancy in almost everything that we do. The difference between what we see as good work, and what we are realistically capable of producing at a point in time. A designer’s goal should be to close that gap and perform better. This means working to improve your craft. Practice your design skills at work and outside work on your time. Take on personal projects, hobby projects, projects for funsies. The more work you deliver, the better you’ll be (or your judgement will be). If you can’t deliver new work because you’ve been working on the same patterns (requirements) for the same client for too long, a personal project on your own terms and challenges will clear up your mind to try new tricks.
Take inspiration from better work
If you think your work does not need improvement or that there isn’t another designer who’ll do your work better, you are probably wrong. Always stay on the look out for the more experienced and accomplished. Take regular peeks into Behance and Dribbble and see what you’re peers are adding to the design work.
The bottom line is, your opinions will change with expertise. The more your learn about what “good design” is, the better your work will be.
All of these basic tactics I have outlined above can help you become a better designer and surmount creative crises. Remember to be patient. Developing good taste is one thing that won’t happen overnight.
What Do You Think?
How do you create work that exceeds your own standards of what you think is good? We would love to hear from you in the comment section or in our email inbox at firstname.lastname@example.org.