The first step to solving any problem is accepting that there is one.
Give equal, if not more importance to client's customers, not just your clients themselves. Always use customer feedback and research as the benchmark for your decision making process.
If you are not a user of your own product, then your personal tastes do not matter in the decision making process. We once had a 50 year old client that told us not to design in dark mode because “I don’t like dark mode.” Despite the fact that their target audience was young adults who use dark mode on any app that offers the choice. We didn't argue when we heard that. Don't make the same mistakes we did.
Stupid people who can speak well are the most dangerous kind. Beware of them.
Never take an unpaid internship. Ever. And if you’re a business owner that offers unpaid internships, shame on you.
People always try to design minimum viable products. Push to design maximum value products. Never forget to include the things that make your products unique in your MVPs.
Sometimes, the funniest and craziest ideas are the ones that lead to the most innovative solutions. Let these ideas flow freely. In fact, when you're stuck, challenge yourself to think of the craziest possible solutions. One direction that has been our go-to when we're stuck during ideation is - "How would Superman solve this problem?"
Work with teams where you don’t have to be afraid to present dumb ideas.
Never stop improving your taste in design. Spend 20 minutes of your day on Dribbble, Instagram and Behance to see where the community is headed.
What you have to understand is that your client wants you to do well. Because if you do well, they’ll do well. But you might have to push and fight to show them how. It’s okay to argue with your clients if you have the right intentions. Always remember that you’re both moving towards the same goal.
Historically, the best innovation has always happened when people looked to other industries and domains to solve their own industry's biggest problems. (Read our blog on The Checklist to know more)
Stop designing for likes. Start designing for impact.
Start thinking of websites and apps as digital experiences rather than just apps. Your goal should always be to let your users have a unique and engaging experience.
If you wouldn't take advice from a person, then you do not need to take their criticism either. Always remember whose opinion matters to you.
When you are presenting design solutions to a client, the first round is the most important. This is where you can present options that are innovative and thought provoking. Never miss your chance to present fantastic ideas, even if you are certain your clients might not go for them. Your job is to show them a world that they can't imagine for themselves.
Not every design decision has to have been tried and tested. The best designers introduce users to new and exciting experiences.
People do not think like you. Everything that is obvious to you is probably not obvious to your users. The greatest skill to build as a designer is how to place yourself in other's shoes.
If you want to be employable, learn to take ownership. If you cannot be relied on, you are not going to get the opportunities you want. If given the choice between choosing someone who is skillful versus someone who is responsible, I will choose the responsible person 10 times out of 10.
Read case studies. They help you understand how people think. And if you want to copy something, copy the way your role models think.
Good products still need marketing to succeed. But no amount of marketing can save a bad product.
Sometimes, you’re not going to be able to bring a client’s vision to life. Don’t worry about it too much. We can’t do it every time. But never let that demotivate you. Keep trying anyways.
If you didn’t do well in college, it doesn’t mean you won’t be a good designer. Remember, we are in the business of creating ideas. And a good idea can come to anyone at any time.
There is a difference between a UIUX designer and a digital product designer. A UIUX designer asks, "What is the best way to make this product?". A product designer takes a step back and asks "What is the best product that will solve this problem?". Which one do you want to be?
The best and worst part about design is that it very rarely works in isolation. Design always works in collaboration with another domain, be it marketing, tech or business.
Go out and talk to people that are not designers to understand what the state of the design industry really is.
Never interrupt anyone when they’re presenting an idea.
Till the day AI learns how to appeal to our emotional side, there will always be a need for a designer. The smartest designers will use AI to create solutions that they have envisioned but cannot implement themselves.
Relax a little. This industry is only going to grow. :)
* A big fat disclaimer is needed here - these are purely my opinions and not reflective of the design industry as a whole. If you feel like you disagree with any of these points, I'd LOVE to hear from you. I want nothing more than to grow and extend my philosophy of design. You can write to me directly at email@example.com and we can have a conversation about your thoughts. :)