Cynical advice for designers
I do not follow all of this advice. But it’s clear that some designers take advantage of it.
- “It looks good/interesting” is a valid reason to make a visual design decision if you want to impress people.
- The more structure and imagery (including icons) you add to a design, the more “designed” it looks.
- The more expressive your design, the more impressive.
- The more effort your design apparently took, the more impressed people will be.
- It’s often enough to make a simple design and put in an impressive visual centrepiece.
- It’s easier and usually nearly as effective to copy someone else who’s better than you. Don’t copy one person directly. Mix inspiration together.
- Lean on the good work of others, e.g. use high quality imagery and typefaces.
- You can impress people with simple design if you do a series of small designs, which belong together as a set, with small variations between each one, e.g. a series of home screen widgets.
Presentation of work
- Put more than one related mock-up in the same image. More visual design is more impressive.
- If you have many mock-ups, put them in an orderly grid of some kind. It gives people’s eyes something to explore, and they’ll be impressed more.
- Annotate your mock-up with call-out lines, etc. This allows you to add technical/fiddly elements (the annotations) even if your mock-up doesn’t have any.
- Good visual design impresses customers, colleagues, and hiring managers.
- It can be helpful if people believe design is magic. When you are vague about your process it promotes that idea.
- Post impressive work consistently on social media to get a following.
- People who screen job applications often don’t work in design and look for key words. Your application should use the words they know, not the “correct” words.
- Many hiring managers look at your application for a minute. First impressions count.