Keeping the Designer Out of the Design

Keeping the Designer Out of the Design

It is all too easy for graphic designers to influence the outcome of a design. And given their knowledge and talent in this area, you may be asking why that’s such a bad thing.  A designer’s ultimate goal should be to find the best way to communicate the underlying message or core functionality of a design. Even if something is visually appealing, is it the best solution for the design? Or have you fulfilled a design need of your own? Some designers or design studios even have a distinct style  – and are proud of it. Think about it… have they designed the right thing or have they designed the thing that fits best into their way of thinking?

There are a few simple tips to help keep the designer out of the design:

  1. Think about what the design is. Ask yourself who it is for, what it is for, what the limitations are –  consider this your challenge and design accordingly. Don’t jump in with one idea because you saw something trending on an award website, ask yourself if that would work for the product or is it just an interesting approach.
  2. Designers should design for the product not themselves.  For example, you wouldn’t design a product for a 65+ demographic using a 10 point font. Such a design approach would be completely unusable and frustrating for your users.  This small font size is naturally hard to see and this difficulty only increases with age.
  3. A designer’s style and/or design experiments should not drive projects if it doesn’t fall in line with the goals of the project. All too often designers will attempt to replicate design trends or methods that they feel work for them, regardless if it is project-appropriate. Unfortunately, design approaches are not one-size-fits-all methodologies. Upon product delivery, this oversight only degrades interaction, contributes to a loss of user interest, confuses users, and can create the wrong look and feel overall.

Design isn’t about personal satisfaction it’s about communication. Great products will balance innovation, brand, beauty and user / product needs. Always place equal importance on interaction, content and visual design. A great design should be well thought out, elegant and simple to use. Designing something that is visually striking, but completely useless and confusing, is a failure to solve the design challenge. Think about what you are designing and who you are designing for.

Be smart, be thoughtful, design the right thing and your products will be beautiful and useful.

Jessica Murray is a Visual Designer at Akendi, a firm dedicated to creating intentional experiences through end-to-end experience design. To learn more about Akendi or user experience design, visit

One Response to Keeping the Designer Out of the Design

  1. […] you are naturally curious and not afraid to occasionally fail. Sometimes designers get into a problem solving system and use the same methods to work through designs. If you stop exploring and trying new things, […]

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