Your design philosophy not style

Whenever I think of how a person designs I think of the term “design style,” but I’ve been thinking recently maybe it’s not the right word to use. “Style” seems to imply that a person visually designs a certain way all the time.

I think a better term is design “philosophy.” What I’ve always been interested in is why someone designs the way they do, not how. A person can potentially design different ways visually, but there will seem to be a connection between their designs if they have a certain philosophy.

In the Boagworld forum, I asked some of my peers if they had a design philosophy, and if they had one to share it.

I found the responses to be very interesting. Everyone who responded had a different philosophy, yet none seemed necessarily better than the other. They were just different ways of looking at the same problem. And even more interesting, I could imagine what kind of designs a person would make from their philosophy.

Here are some of the responses I got.

“Mine is that everything is for the benefit of the user. When I design something I always try to think “will this benefit my users?” If the answer is no I usually remove it.” -Doug Stewart

“Mine is that you should always have a defined goal for any website (any and design project) and you should be ruthless in pursuit of that goal… An attractive site, well coded and accessible is great. Good usability’s also brilliant. But it’s important to remember they’re a means to an end .. not the end in itself.” -Rich Quick

“Get to know your client, but most importantly, get to know their story. Where did they come from? Why are they doing what they’re doing? Who are they trying to help? Then, endeavor to tell that story through design” -Ezekielbruni (not his real name, I think…)

“My philosophy has always been to try to capture true “conversation of the client” and try to guide a user through that conversation by applying User Experience principals – each in equal parts.” -Peter Allen

“I like design by concept, but starting off with finding out what infomation we are dealing with which actions a user will need to take.” -Jamie Knight

Ask yourself if you have a design philosophy. I believe everyone does, though they may not know it. If you don’t know your philosophy, figure out what it is or adapt one you believe in. Once you discover one, you’ll find designing easier, even if just a little.

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 20th, 2009 at 2:24 pm and is filed under Advice, Philosophy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Your design philosophy not style”

  1. Peter Allen Says:

    July 22nd, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Look at me! I’ve been quoted! Once on the Boag podcast (episode 161) and now on an independent blog – boy is my professional stock rising.

  2. Lucian Tucker Says:

    July 22nd, 2009 at 11:39 am

    You’re on your way!

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