When I just started working with design I was worried by nothing but my own decisions. Next, this worry changed to feeling responsible for my design: what it gives to people, how it solves tasks and problems. My design’s grounds became more concise, more rational.
When I moved one I understood my motivation came not from feeling responsible for the results of my work, but for the business whose problems I was trying to solve. What will my solution give to the business owner, does or doesn’t my design deceive the customer, what are the consequences of my decision?
Ultimately, many designers come to a place when they start influencing other designer’s decisions, the ones who are only now starting their journey. From this moment on your responsibility rises many times over — for your decisions, for your impact on what the others decide, for your team member’s drive and craving to create something useful, convenient, beautiful.
These things try the designer as a personality. At this moment you should remember and be guided by simple truths:
- The result of the designer’s work has nothing to do with his or her personality. You can criticize the result if need be, but never question personal values. “You didn’t do a very good job because you haven’t taken the simple rules of composition into consideration” instead of “Your design is awful because you’re an idiot”;
- Criticizing is a tool for development and not self-assertion. If you are not ashamed to say “your design is shitty” that doesn’t make you a strict and principled leader. If anything, that makes you a jerk. Show and tell what is wrong, with examples and an explanation;
- A common mistake is confusing fear with respect. Design is the result of fruitful work of several creative and self-sufficient individuals. If they are afraid not just to defend their opinion but also to simply state it, it’s a dead-end road for the whole team;
- Do your best for every member of your team to become a better specialist than you are: in technical, executive, theoretical aspects. Don’t think you’re raising your rivals — you’re creating a design medium in which there is a place for everyone;
- Don’t make the members of your team think that their work should matter more to them than everything else: family, rest, their personal plans. Remember that in the long term a happy designer is more productive, more creative, and more energetic than a designer that just “goes to work”. N.B.: you shouldn’t see this as condoning laziness;
Of course that’s not all you need to remember being a member of a team and trying to lean it to new summits. But even this will be enough for all of you not to just “design” together but also to really enjoy what you’re doing, your collaboration and your collective. The most important thing you need to remember is this: you can teach even a bear to make pixels; but it’s impossible to teach someone to stop being a douche.
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