Posted 3rd December 2011

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Visual Design


It’s not often that fear, forgetfulness and breaking the rules can be considered positive attributes. But Associate Creative Director Ian Burns says, “Sometimes they can be a designer’s best friend.” A digital veteran who has worked on projects for Google and HTC, Ian shares 3 Things You Didn’t Know About Visual Design.

1. Design Is A Struggle

 Design can often feel like a struggle, and in the process, become inherently painful. The more you try to be innovative and get excited about how a website or application should feel, the more fearful you are of failing. As visual designers, we’re problem solvers by nature. It’s our job to nurture ideas and create digital experiences that do what users want in a way that’s fresh, intuitive and engaging. So there will always be a fine line between excitement for a project and motivation to put thoughtful ideas into action.

 2. Forgetfulness Is Key

Designing websites and applications often requires a great deal of push-and-pull between protecting an idea or vision, and bringing that vision to life. And at the end of the project, we have to start over and forget everything we just understood; learned and created. It may feel uncomfortable to do this, but if it was easy and painless, you’re probably not trying very hard. It’s the same feeling you get when you go to the gym. If you’re not feeling sore and exhausted from your workouts, your workouts are most likely not delivering the results you want. So don’t panic at the idea of being forgetful or uncomfortable – it will probably push you to find inspiration in other ways.

3. Know The Rules; Then Break Them

Historically, graphic design wasn’t very conducive to usability and functionality. We didn’t have very many sources of influence outside of movies and video games. In fact, “Prince of Egypt” from DreamWorks could easily be considered one of those movies that had a big impact on how the quality of design has grown exponentially around the world.

Now visual designers have grids, systems and maths to improve usability and visual interest on the web. But these rules can also constrain your design process. So go ahead, break the rules; it may even make your website or application more elegant, interactive and intuitive.