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Creative Designer at Amazon Joined about 6 years ago
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Just a quick question: is it under 31 or under 35? I get mixed information.
Story time: I was working on a big e-commerce project targeting "older" users (35+, mostly blue-collar), during the research phase one thing kept coming up - It's not about a specific style, it's more about "the changes". Older users seem to want more of the same. More of what they know. We had problems while implementing a new UI or flows, so we took a step back and tried to understand what is the problem. It was not only the overall change in the look of the site, it was the unfamiliarity. And they gave up very quickly. So ultimately it was not the design itself, it was the implementation. Instead of a big rebrand that was planned, we cut the redesign up into smaller chunks and fed them one by one, giving the users time to adjust and get familiar.
Craigslist looks like it always looked just for that reason ;)
So in terms of designing for baby boomers, I would say "stick with what they know" and build on that, step-by-step.
I second that - you will loose a loooooot of traffic (so potential clients/employers) on this alone. No one will wait that long for the page to load, I have a good internet connection and for a second I thought something was broken.
Absolutely, great call out, it's important to underline this.
Before "You are the specialist" there should be a "How to be a specialist" talk... although in a perfect world, that discussion would be a constant in all years of studying design... And this is also something I see as a problem: it's very easy to inflate an ego nowadays. Observe trends on Dribbble/Behance, follow them, get a lot of "likes", feel like an accomplished designer. All of that in less than a month. It can really fill a young mind with a false sense of accomplishment which then might block him from the most important aspect of being a designer - learning, be it from others or from personal experience.
Great idea. Just ideas from the top of my head, based on observing other young designers and myself:
"You are the specialist" - being a designer is not that different from being an engineer or a car mechanic, yet where people tend not to argue with the design of an airplane before their flight, we hear "can we make it red? I like red" more often than we should. A designer needs to be the specialist in his field, his choices aren't (or shouldn't) be based on blind guesses, and more designers need to know how to play that role.
"How to know when to stop" - there's a saying: 80% on time is better than 100% late. Most of us know the feeling - a design is never "finished". There is always something to polish, some other path to explore. But there needs to be a moment when the design is ready to be submitted, even though it's not perfect. That moment needs to be a conscious choice, not "because the deadline was up".
"No man is an island"- you can design a logo by yourself. A whole corporate identity even. But at one point, designs become bigger than just one person. We need to swallow our ego and know how to include other people in the process.
"Be smart, not pretty" - function over form.
"The Juggler"- how to keep track of your work when you've taken on too much (I do it all the time ;) ).
If anything else comes to mind, I'll be back here :)
Do. A lot. For clients. For friends. For yourself. All the books, tutorials, webinars etc. won't be worth much if you'll be lacking practical experience. The more you do, the better your work will be and the more exposure you'll get.
Also, in terms of your own design studio - there is sooooo much more to having a design studio than just being a good designer. Most studio owners and creative directors (real ones, with at least 3+ people under them and managing big projects) say the same - the more successful you are, the less design you will do. You'll need to understand how to manage people, how to handle clients, how to work on both small and giant projects. Otherwise, you'll break under your own weight. The only way to obtain that sort of knowledge is by experience. Safe way - work under a good manager/creative director/whatever. Risky - learn by doing. But from my experiences, I can say: it's better to learn from other peoples mistakes than to make the same mistakes on your own. Find people that have the skills you desire and learn from them.
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