Learning Visual Design

For the past few years I’ve been very interested to learn and become a better UX designer and developer. Up until then I thought you needed to be artistic to become any kind of designer. I see this differently now. It helps to have an artistic foundation but artists and designers have different goals and intentions, one coming up with a self-interpreted result while the other having aiming for an audience-intuitive result.

I’m learning many interesting ideas in my journey and here are some interesting patterns of design thinking, which I’m starting to apply to my day to day work.

  • Disciplined process is key, like in any type of production work.
  • Domain-specific business and marketing knowledge via thorough investigation is required for each job.
  • Using the investigation as a guide to brainstorm the design helps to create a uniquely applied solution.
  • Empathy is key in the presentation layer to connect with your audience and people.
  • Visual design is about finding many connections and communicating them in an intuitive manner. This is also a form of creativity and what designers share with artists.
  • Good design is timeless and memorable.
  • Meaningfully selected elements are used (i.e. fonts, visual and phantom geometric shapes, colours)

A good design can connect with the intended audience and cleanly communicate the message. A lot of hard work should go into the investigation phase to identify how to best connect and communicate the message or intention. A good solution will then emerge from the points identified, just like you would do well on an exam if you study and know your subject inside out.

I’m not sure what all of this studying on my part will lead me, as I find it all fascinating, but at least I’ll have a good appreciation for the work that great designers do.

Some related books:

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug

Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, Jill Butler 

The Design Method by Eric Karjaluoto


Recent design articles:

Jr Designers vs Sr Designers

Designing complex products by Erik K

AirBnB – The Way We Build