when did you REALLY begin to know what you were doing?

might seem like a silly question but as far as understanding how & why you make decisions/how you evaluate your ideas? what thing(s) were instrumental in gaining that understanding? experimentation? experience?

thanks in advance…

Well… im no expert, and actually i kind of have the same questions. I am more of a hands-on person, so i have difficulties on my problem solving process cause i tend to differ to much sometimes… so eventually it gets to the point where you’re kind of lost in the project, well thats the way i feel sometimes…

i dunno, i just wanted to comment, see if i was on the right track here…

i do think, though, that at the end of the project or design if you can check off as many solutions needed with that design, i guess, you should know by then…

After working with companies like Ziba and fuseproject and seeing that they don’t have a magic elixir. Yes, they have a fantastic pile of designers. But more than anything they have a great process. They have worked their ass off to get to where they are. It effectively boils down to one thing…hard work.

There was a passion that was infectious every time I stepped through the doors of those offices. I loved every second of it. I wish I could have bottled it.

But more than anything, it simply made me realize that those designers put their pants on one leg at a time just like me.

My pop once told me “If you aren’t pissing somebody off, you probably aren’t working hard enough”…I’m pissing people off all the time unfortunately, so no problems there… but I think this also relates to being comfortable and KNOWING what you are doing. When I start to feel that I know what I’m doing too much, I feel like I’m not breaking new ground.

So when I start to get that warm fuzzy confident feeling, I try to kick myself in the ass and move onto something that I don’t know how to evaluate, judge, feel cozy about…

unfortunately, i piss off people too much also.

however, it was at about my 6-7th year as a designer that my decisions, opinions and answers started jiving. there’s still a ton of stuff i don’t know and won’t be afraid to say it, buy my educated guesses are now correct more often than not.

Yup, when you’re confident enough in your own abilities that you don’t care about pissing people off because you know the end result is worth it. I’m dealing with that now, with 7 years of experience. Gawd, 7 years…

That said, I still have considerable humility over things I simply don’t know. I never claim or act like an engineer, but emphasize the things I DO know.

But more than anything, it simply made me realize that those designers put their pants on one leg at a time just like me.

…ok…i guess that is good to know; all this time i was thinking those folks just never take their pants off at all, maybe i should stop jumping head 1st into mine? i am just curious to knowhow people get to a certain confidence in the decision making, not that i think anyone has some magic elixir or special processes…

no doubt that i have tried peoples nerves, with redundant questions, mistakes and the like but somehow i do not think they would confuse that for hard work though…

So when I start to get that warm fuzzy confident feeling, I try to kick myself in the ass and move onto something that I don’t know how to evaluate, judge, feel cozy about…

how do you consolidate that with the notion that “what one knows is why they get a paycheck” so to speak? in order to break new ground, you would have to already be standing on solid ground, no?

that is more of what i am asking; the evolution of that filter or internal detector that informs your decisions (in terms of design of course), like as a designer, you have to balance your own tastes (surely you want to produce something you feel is good product) with that of what you think the consumer wants and want you are told that the consumer wants…

i think i am making the question more difficult than is necessary…

You pose the best questions junglebrodda (for real, no sarcasm). More than 7 or 8 years for me, but it isn’t happening all at once. I think it happens in spurts. With product design there are so many things to pull together: your own design sensibilities, drawing abilities, how detailed (or vague) to make your concepts, manufacturing, market forces, personalities within the team, criteria specific to the project at hand, etc. The list of considerations is usually long when you are designing and I think it takes years of experience to be able to float all those things in your brain simultaneously.

Self awareness…?

Whether a filter or internal detector, experience is as much (or more) about those life experiences, as work history or portfolio. Thinking outside of oneself, fosters that ability to be more inclusive of more points of view, perspectives. The ability to connect more of those disparate elements together, and realize them through your talents - is that when you REALLY begin to know what you are doing?

you start to learn skills, restraint, and practices that become ingrained in your design sensibility. i guess i’ve always been acutely analytical, but through the years, i learned marketing and branding, sharpened my design research skills through experience, learned manufacturing and cost, gained better engineering comprehension, etc etc. these skills start to come into play automatically. you learn efficientcy so you work ‘smarter’ in a way and can process, extrapolate, or refute other departments’ needs better.

still, you have to remain humble enough to know when you’re wrong and humble enough to conceed to a concept a junior designer has, even if they don’t have the knowledge to filter their ideas like this.

when did you REALLY begin to know what you were doing?

Apologies if this seems trite - I hope it doesn’t come off that way, but for me, it was when I gave up trying to figure out this very question and just enjoyed the journey… You have value at every stage of your career, and if you play it right, there will never be a day when you feel like you really know what you’re doing.

I haven’t really read this whole thread, but “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell addresses many of the ideas around making snap decisions. Worth checking out.

You all sound like a bunch of artists!


Could you elaborate?

Because design is a process, and concept evaluation is the fundamental principle.

Not being able to articulate how you evaluate concepts may be useful to some people, but it’s hard to say it’s “by design.”

I like the pretty linez

When my shit started to sell well and the people that bought the stuff when asked later if they thought they got value for their bucks said “yea”. The only evaluation thats worth a damn is the end user, as far as gaining that understanding its simple go ask them. Pretty pictures dont do it, mock up, prototypes only as real people see them as “real” so park the corel and get out the knives and prototype.

zippy, 30 years in harness

The more I have learned about manufacturing and various tecchniques to solve problems the more confident I have become in knowing that I have the best solution in hand. Only afer turning over many stones that i have been sure of myself and my proposal. The more methods that you are familiar with and can apply then the more stones you can turn over seeking solutions.

Also, pissing people off should never be a requirement for success or for working hard enough. You may have the best idea or solution but if you cannot present it in a reasonable and effective way what is the point. Being assertive and driven is one thing but pissing people off means you only have half of the process under control.