Guest post by Andrew Noll of ISO Developers
How to See Things From The Perspective of Another Designer
In the world of design, there are a lot of great minds at work. Different designers bring new perspectives to the field but inevitably, you’ll encounter designers that just aren’t your cup of tea. You may encounter bad spacing or poor font choice, among a host of other issues. Keeping an open perspective will help you in your own design and allow you to remain positive in aesthetically displeasing situations. The better you are at understanding the perspective of other designers, the better you will be at collaboration within your own team. Continue reading to learn how to see things from the perspective of another designer.
Take Time For Observation
Slow down and really take the piece in. Scan it and look at different angles of approach. Pinpoint what is working and what isn’t but make sure not to be judgmental. Unless it is collaborative work, do not be aggressive or assertive in your opinion. Try to achieve a higher level of understanding before interpreting the work in front of you.
Ignore Negatives, Focus On Merits
Anyone can point out the bad in things. In fact, many of the most famous works of art in history are full of flaws. What most art and design is known for is merit rather than faults. It is good to constantly seek improvement, but it is invaluable to see the good, especially when you want to address a designer directly regarding their work.
Always try to take note and remark on “what is working” for the piece. This helps make a better impact on others, which leads to more progress in collaborative work and keeps you from insensitivity. If you need to be critical, address the good first and tread lightly when addressing dislikes. After all, good and bad are subjective concepts that do not exist without perspective. Designers are more receptive to feedback if there is positivity in the interaction.
Put Yourself In Their Shoes
Different people have different opinions and this couldn’t apply more than in the world of design. Always make sure to keep the lifestyle and perspective of the designer in mind and try to view things through their lense. For example, a very literal example is the art of kenyan Cyrus Kabiru, who shows that another man’s trash is another’s art.
Cyrus creates eyewear from trash. This creative endeavor pushes the boundaries of the artistic world and shows his unique perspective. It is important to consider his background in order to have a greater understanding of his ideals, but in the end the art stands alone.
Always consider the motivations of others and where they are coming from. If in a management position, this mindset leads to better delegation of responsibilities to colleagues. If there is any lack of understanding, just ask! It’s never weird to ask someone’s opinion and most designers will appreciate the interest.
Understand Personal Bias
Remember that we all have a bias and this influences how we interpret sensory inputs. For instance, some people prefer vanilla and others prefer chocolate. Vanilla beans and cocoa are both calming; they both fulfill the same biological desire to relax and consume sugar, but people have different preferences. Biases, like flavor preferences, are influenced by past experiences, demographics, thoughts, opinions and environments.
You can never expect someone to be exactly like you, so why would you expect them to have the same expression in design? Even identical twins differ on their likes and dislikes. Keep an open mind and remember that from the perspective of a client or purchaser you may be wrong. Always keep the end user or buyer of a design in mind and be willing to detract from your personal standards – they may be holding you back.
In trying to understand the perspective of other designers, especially when it is difficult, there is potential for growth and a deeper knowledge not only of the work in front of you, but of future pieces. This leads to a happier experience as things are seen from a more positive perspective and credit is given where credit is due. More importantly, others start to enjoy working with you more when positvity is maintained.
Looking at design from a fresh perspective can help to develop and improve upon personal work. It can improve team dynamics and lead to better interactions with team members. It is easier, and more fun, to network with a mindset that looks for alternative ways to view and understand the world.
Overall, keep others’ perspectives in mind for a more collaborative work environment that produces better designs. Provide constructive feedback more easily as you acknowledge what you like before your concerns. Always keep the buyer in mind in your design process, but don’t lose sight of your fellow designers in design pursuits. Ultimately, it’s great to have a developed palate and high quality standards but do not write off others based on a biased perspective; learn something from even the worst of designs.
Andrew is the Marketing Coordinator in ISO Developers’ Boston office. He joins us with experience in web development, social media, email marketing, and PR. He is a senior in Business Administration at Northeastern University and practices martial arts.