Ask Me Anything: @zeldman, here

4 years ago from Jeffrey Zeldman, Principal, Creative Director

  • Matthew Hollingsworth, 4 years ago

    Thanks for being here Jeffrey! Really appreciate you taking the time.

    Is there something you know now that you wish you knew when you first started out as a designer?

    2 points
    • Jeffrey Zeldman, 4 years ago

      Thanks, Matthew. Tricky question. I wish I had known, when I started, that design is about the user ... about what they need to do. It’s not about showing how clever or skilled I am. It’s about other people's needs, not showing off my talent.

      I wish I had known that when I started, but almost nobody knows that when they start, and maybe if we knew that from the beginning, we wouldn't even have been attracted to the work in the first place.

      I needed to show off my first few years, while I was building skills and learning fundamentals. Some of that early showing-off work, in spite of how extremely dated it is (centuries old in Internet years) still delights me in ways the more mature work I do now doesn't.

      So it’s a tricky question because, in a way, we learn what we are supposed to learn when we are supposed to learn it. We go through phases in our work the same way children grow. Children are supposed to play before they become adults who work. Designers are supposed to indulge themselves while they are learning the art and science of their craft.

      So, really, as a designer, I learned everything when I was supposed to, I'm grateful for my many mistakes (even the ones that cost me jobs), and I'm happy to be exactly where I am. I wish the same for everyone.

      5 points
      • Matthew Hollingsworth, 4 years ago

        Beautiful, thank you.

        Follow up (and potentially more difficult) question: Do you think there's a unique attribute that you have that has allowed you to get to where you are in the design world? Is there a skill that people overlook when it comes to progressing as a designer?

        2 points