On Trying Suggestions

A brief rant, request, or observation. I love working in an environment with other designers, an open studio where you can wander the desks and see what amazing designs people are coming up with. Design is a social process and not meant to be done in a vacuum. I learned this the hard way in 2004 at Carnegie Mellon, but that is a story for another time.

So it bothers me when designers don’t listen to each other’s feedback. I’m not saying every piece of advice or every suggestion is correct or should be carried out. But try every suggestion you get. Two main reasons for this.

  1. It takes five minutes to prove to someone that a suggestion won’t work. Not trying it out though leaves a conversation to speculation and without a foot to stand on for why you didn’t investigate an alternate solution your rationale will suffer
  2. You might actually learn something. For all the awful suggestions I have received, I can say that at least half of them have led to unexpected discoveries. Now in academia this is likely the goal of the professor, lead me astray to find the best solution. In the professional world though we typically don’t have Socratic teachings in mind but I would be hard pressed to say they still don’t happen.

Trying a suggestion doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process. Take five minutes and create a hack effect in photoshop or illustrator. Print a copy and sketch over it. Something to get the idea from what if to definitely not. Ultimately, a client will ask why you went down a specific path and if you can say you tried a dozen other solutions and htis is the best instead of this is the path we went down and it works you will be a stronger designer and presenter.

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