Digital Marketing Blog

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07 Aug 2017

8 Things Your Designer Won't Tell You

Last year I came across a couple of funny articles about designers and how we behave and the translation of the small white lies we tell. We’re indeed a special kind of breed and as with most funny things, there’s a truth to them.

I thought I’d highlight a couple of the examples, just to lay out the characteristics and give you a deeper look into our nature. Also, I think it’s a good subject to start another interesting discussion. Is it only designers who tell these small white lies?

Actually, most people tell little white lies - or avoid telling the truth when it's difficult. 

Here are 7 things your visitors won't tell you about your sales and marketing material »

Why do we do it? We’ll get to that later — first examples.

5 classic behaviors of designers

We borrow stuff (read we steal)

We’re like magpies. We like shiny stuff (you do know this is just folklore, but let’s go with the metaphor).

So if you got a nice pen or mug, that stuff will sooner or later end up on a designers desk, with the designer having no recollection of how it got there.

Now: 

Feel free to steal some inspiration yourself:

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Procrastinate for longer than is healthy

This one is also on point. However, I’ll like to think of it this way; the more time I’ve spent thinking of a problem the more chance is there of me finding the right solution. That said, we probably procrastinate more when the assignment is somewhat undefined – We just don’t know where to begin.

Overpromise

This is also true and combined with the above one, procrastination, we often end up over-promising. This is, however, a scenario a lot of freelancers know more about. Because you want to keep your clients happy, you always tell them you’ll be able to make it even though it’s late and they need it by tomorrow. Think of them as highly pleasing people. You should be thankful. 

Hate their own work

That we do, because we spend too much time looking at it, so we notice all the small improvement we could have made — and we’re perfectionists. 

Buying a product for its packaging rather than what's inside

I’ve done this thousand of times. It just gives me the hope that whatever is inside is so much better.

Make sure that this doesn't apply to you and your online presentations. Don't disappoint your audience, when they've invested time in visiting your digital catalog. 

Sign Up To Make a Free Digital Flipbook >

 

You might be wondering:

How do I engage my online audience in a quick and simple way? 

Learn how to engage your online audience with digital flipbooks (18 examples) »

3 very used white lies and the translation of them

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I’m uploading the design as we speak = I’m rushing to finish the design as we speak (source: Creative Market).

This ties perfectly together with the procrastinating nature of a designer mentioned earlier.

One that relates to the above is:

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I stayed up all night working on this design = I threw it together after a Breaking Bad marathon (source: Creative Market).

This is probably not true anymore as everybody watches Game of Thrones these days. However staying up all night isn’t a bad thing. It was actually a tool of mine and one that fairly often came with a breakthrough on how to solve the problem.

This is crazy:

According to Creative Something, it turns out that doing creative work at night is better than in the morning. It has to do with the brain getting more tired, which lowers your designers guard towards perfection, and you actually come up with new ideas instead of pushing-pixels.

 

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You’re right it looks much better this way = You totally ruined it, but hey it’s your money (source: Creative Market).

This white lie is actually kind of bad, as it’s very harmful to have people like this in your organization, whether it’s designers or not. Instead of speaking their mind, they don’t care, as long as they get paid. 

Why do we tell these white lies?

As I said in the beginning, there’s an interesting talk to be had here. Is it only designers who tell these small white lies and if so why do we do it?

We’ll put the small white lies aside because as long as you get the job done, I don’t think nobody cares if you stay up all night and binge watch your favorite show. However, not communicating with your team and keeping what you're truly mean to yourself is not healthy for the organization. And this doesn't just apply to designers.

Why do people do it?

My guess is, it has to do with a method called fear of losing. An old but very proven psychology trick. When you’re afraid you’re most likely to do something to keep you safe. That could be, not speaking your mind if you’re afraid it’s going to get you in trouble.

Just to give you another example related to design and eCommerce. You’ve all seen, 1 left in stock which translates to "I’m afraid I won’t get this item I’m better of buying it now." This fear of missing out method is also known as the scarcity principle."

As a designer, you often end up in situations where people want to change the design. Remember though that it’s a good thing. Different perspectives really help to solve the problem. As a designer the faster you find out that the solutions are not working, the faster you can change it for the better. A big part of design work is testing your work.

On the other hand, if you hired a designer and he comes back with nothing like what you proposed, remember that it’s not because he didn’t like your solution. Often designers listen to the problem and not the solution to the problem. So when you finally receive the design make sure to be open minded and improve on the design instead of saying “This is not what I had in mind”. This always makes me think of Henry Ford when he asked people: What they want? And they wanted a faster carriage – not a car.

Online people don't just want a static presentation - they want an engaging experience where they can interact. 

But here's the kicker:

You have easily give them what they want!

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How to foster good communication with a designer

Here are some quick tips to get a good communication going:

1. Make sure there’s mutual understanding of the problem

2. Explain your business goals (but also know, they are no more important than user goals)

3. User goals. What’s the primary use for the site/feature?

4. Make sure the designer listens to you — remember you have all the knowledge

If you keep this in mind you're off to a flying start with your designer and also a huge step towards better communication in the organization. 🙌

Lastly, remember if there’s something you think isn’t right with a design, ask the designer what problem he or she was trying to solve with this design? And I’ll bet there’s a good reasoning behind it.

I’ll sum this up, by saying you should foster a good communication in your organization and make sure everybody can speak what’s on their mind.

Interested in more about design? Get our free eBook Designing for Digital »

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If you have anything you want to share about the interface, just let me know.  I'm here to improve it for you! 

Related read: Advantages & Constraints of Designing for Digital and print

About the author

Valentin Jørgensen

Valentin Jørgensen

UX designer @iPaper. I'm a user advocate and passionate about solving problems. I care deeply about brands that resonates and goes the extra mile to put a smile on people’s faces. Big fan of Steves Krug's approach "Don't make me think". I like nature and carrots.

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