Fight of good and great for designers

jay mistry
December 8, 2023

Good design brings a new perspective to the table and solves the most complex problems. But lately, I’ve observed designers slowly lose their ability to conceptualise and give vision a creative shape.

Look around us. Every business has an app; all the apps feel the same because every designer follows the same process, uses the same tools, and scrolls through the same Dribbble feed. Everyone wants to try new by taking inspiration from what has been designed by fellow designers.

Shaping pixels — illustration by zazzy

This is because we give it the name of consistency, whereas consistency is on brand and universal levels. Brand level consistency brings the same persona we conceptualised on all platforms and services. Example (similar illustration style, colour, usage of logos, UI design style etc.)

Universal consistency is about meeting the expectation of users and easing their journey on a subconscious level. So, for example, they know what the search button does and how sign-in works.

At the start of our career, it’s common to take inspiration from the celebrated designers who inspire us. But years later, many of us make no progress, and we are still trapped in the inspirational trap for our creative work.

Instead, designers must find their style and bring the best creativity to their work. Inspirational creativity is guaranteed to be good for the project, but making it great requires extra effort and a deep understanding of their style.

Everyone wants to try new by taking inspiration from what has been designed by fellow designers. It takes an extra mile understanding of brand and its users to create a truly breathtaking marvel.

As a fellow designer and prominent advocate of great design, I urge everyone to design with courage, idiosyncrasies, and the best of their unique abilities. You are also responsible for educating and sharing the best practices surrounding you. So please spread the word, or better, show them the difference between good and great design. If you don’t know how, here’s the list (Inspired by Chuánqí sun) you can start with.

  • Make bold decisions (that is controversial).
  • Make a mistake (As a result of a bold decision).
  • Challenge “conventional wisdom”.
  • Decide who your clients are (and aren’t).
  • Cultivate clients if none exist (instead of compromising your design).
  • Don’t go overboard with shiny designs; try to identify what’s needed.
  • Design things from scratch.
  • Design things that no one wants (yet).
  • Design freely (and think freely).

I hope this inspires anyone to pay more attention to the details and force them not to rely on what’s already been done. Even a 0.1% change is a good change in a time like this.

Happy designing.

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