A man after my own heart.
This is by far my favorite post from Cap Watkins so far. Describes my outlook as a designer perfectly and really helps erase some of the fear I have of being 'boring' as a designer.
I really don't see what the problem is with Cleverness. I've also read Randy Hunt's thoughts on the subject, but I think they both misuse the term entirely.
Randy wrote an article for Fastco recently in which he uses an example of two CTA's. One says "save" and one says "let's do it." This isn't cleverness, it's a gimmick. Overall, I agree with his opinions in the article: language should be clear and articulate its function. But that really doesn't mean it can't be clever.
Cleverness is Good. Coming up with a smart and simple way to convey an idea with design is essentially what we are all trying to achieve. I would even say that the author's use of the term "Boring" in his essay is clever, and that's completely okay.
Be clever. It's fine.
I agree, it's very possible that a lot of us (designers) can't tell the difference between cleverness and a gimmick.
"In fact, most of the time, it’s about leaving no trace of themselves." – just a ton of great stuff in this post. Leaving your ego at the door is key.
I've found that one of the best ways to leave fewer fingerprints in my work is to test early & test often with the actual end user – especially ones that will tell you to your face if something sucks. You're going to get the 'smart-ass touches' knocked off your design PDQ.
Exactly. The idea is to learn to let it go, which is hard to learn and even harder to do.
I feel like boring designers can stand their ground, if they think the other person isn't committed to the user or product. It isn't about ego, its about getting the right design.
"The boring designer realizes that the glory isn’t in putting their personal stamp on everything they touch"
It took me about a year in web app land to realize it, but YES. I challenge my creativity now by how reusable I can make something. Everything about this resonates.
Bro, your sushi is incredible.
Kudos, some very good points in this article. I especially like this sentence:
When given the choice between hiding things on hover or displaying them right away, the boring designer always chooses the latter.
Although here, I'm not quite sure:
In fact, most of the time, it’s about leaving no trace of themselves.
I know that you are not designing for yourself, but the user. But it's still your job to make the "visual design" like somewhat special, not like every other website out there, clearly recognizable on which website you are now, which brand you use.
Cool to see a post that praises approaches to design less often noticed or appreciated. The value of the "boring designer" deserves more recognition for sure. I personally tend to take projects that need more of the "exciting designer" but it's important to always stay conscious of what type of designer every situation needs you to be.
Great philosophy, actually.
I have a bit of an engineering/architecture background from my high school and I've always believed that technology is meant to make life easier for man so when it came to learning about UX and digital design, I felt at home because its all about designing with the user in mind and considering all of the ins/outs of the project.
I was just designing yet another form before reading this post and thinking "hmm, this looks like a boring form... ok, it does what it's supposed to do, but heck it looks boring". I crossed this blog post right after, and I must say it somewhat changed my outlook on this and made me a bit more confident about my work. That doesn't mean I'll keep designing the same old boring form forever, but it surely tells me I'm not necessarily going in the wrong direction!
Yes, please! This is pure. Great article.
Excellent! I love the example of choosing to hide the button. I feel like many people get caught up in the visual design, which of course is important. But I don't see the point of something being so pretty but being unusable. I like to say form follows function, with the emphasis on function. Which I feel other people may interpret differently nowadays. I think there was a different interpretation of it in Objectified.
This was actually poetic for me. I was a bit confused at first, but it all made sense the more I read. Great post!
Good article, but it's just a lot of bloat. What he is actually describing is the difference between a junior designer and a senior designer, nothing else. Most of us start ut as the first.
Great content, but does it bug anyone else that those subheadings are just floating between paragraphs?
I'm not sure exactly what's boring about the designer he's describing.
What's boring about not having an ego? What's boring about innovating only in the areas where innovation can be beneficial and rely on more familiar models when innovation can be intrusive or confusing?
If I replace it with mature or seasoned then it starts to make sense. This dichotomy between boring/asshole doesn't fly to me.
It's really based on what the industry typically categorizes as "Boring".