Design Pitfalls

A free email course to avoid n00b designer mistakes

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Taylor Crane@taykcrane · Senior Product Manager, Originate
I signed up, but never got the confirmation email. Usually Mailchimp is super quick with these emails, perhaps worth looking into? Not in spam, either. EDIT: Just got it, disregard.
Ryan HooverPro@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@kadavy what's the most common or critical design mistake made by new designers?
David KadavyMaker@kadavy · Host, Love Your Work podcast
@rrhoover Good question! The biggest problem is trying to focus the user's attention on too many different things. You have to prioritize your goals, and arrange the hierarchy accordingly. This responsibility doesn't rest solely with the designer, as it requires a clear vision of the business objectives. (It's much easier if the businessperson and designer are the same brain, however). I'll be talking more about this problem in the final lesson of the course: "Undivide Attention, Please."
jack rometty@rometty_ · student
This sounds great! Which blogs/people do you follow to find great design? How do you recommend I discover more about good product design?
David KadavyMaker@kadavy · Host, Love Your Work podcast
Hey @jackrometty! Well, it really depends what your goals are. I'll explain. If your goal is just to do halfway-decent design to use as a tool for some other means (bootstrap a company, or build an MVP), I'd recommend familiarizing yourself with various themes and frameworks, such as Bootstrap, or themes on Themeforest. That, along with the bits and pieces in my course, should have you well on your way. If your goal is to be a really amazing and original designer, your approach should be different. You'll have to get bad before you get good, in a way. This is going to sound snarky, but there's a quote by artist Chuck Close that has really stuck with me: "Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work." This resonates with me as a designer, because I don't tend to get inspiration from contemporary designers, and these days, not from designers at all. What has served me well is learning about the history of art and design, and learning how different designers handled technological and cultural changes throughout time. There is always the opportunity to come up with unique solutions, and if you have a good philosophical foundation for your design, it will come easily. You can develop this foundation by understanding how past greats solved the problems of their times. Some of my favorites are A.M. Cassandre, and Jan Tschichold. There's a good Graphic Design history book by Richard Hollis, and the one by Phillip B. Meggs is good as well. I hope that helps. Looking forward to having you in the course!
jack rometty@rometty_ · student
@kadavy this is such a great and in-depth answer, thanks! I am extremely appreciative of getting this perspective and advice, and I can't wait to actively be a part of design pitfalls. 10/10
David KadavyMaker@kadavy · Host, Love Your Work podcast
@jackrometty Glad to hear you found it helpful!
David KadavyMaker@kadavy · Host, Love Your Work podcast
I did a free email course called "Summer of Design" a few years back, which was pretty heavily focused on deconstructing all aspects of design, much like my book, "Design for Hackers." But, as I mentored startups and worked with students, I started to see some of the same mistakes coming up time and time again. If they could just avoid these mistakes, they'd be well on their way to being at-least-halfway-decent designers. So, this new course is more focused on avoiding those mistakes. There really are some simple things you can look out for that will go a long way in making your designs look good – while also giving you a firm footing with which to learn more as you continue designing. I'm looking forward to getting this new course out there! Let me know if you have any questions about it. (Also happy to talk about things related to the business, if you're curious).