Positive energy attracts positive people who will ultimately support your ideas. And if they support your ideas – make sure you support theirs. Building a community of people who help you through the walls of creative block and give real, constructive feedback will only strengthen your commitment to your ideas. As you begin to execute part of the process your community of supporters will inspire you to continue.
I will caution you with this: The people who convince us not to chase a dream are typically family members or those who know you the best. They are trying to save you from risk and harm. This is a noble human character attribute but ultimately it is not good for your process. If you find yourself being convinced by those you love the most that your ideas are not achievable” or they bring up risk scenarios, I recommend finding peers who are in similar situations with similar aspirations and developing your community with them.
As creatives we are constantly looking forward to the next idea. We have eight great ideas and two million sketches of half-baked ones. This is how we live. A constant journey of development.
Most of us are in love with the process of design. The ideation, the thrill of the solution, the ability to put our pen to paper and make sense of a complicated problem with a few strokes of ink. Our love with process also has a dark side. Like all good drugs, it gets you high, and as you begin the process to carry out the idea, your interest wains… the high is now gone. Reality creeps back in. The what-ifs! The challenges! The real world! So, we jump. We move on to the next idea and junk the old one before it was ever realized.
You must have strength to beat the addiction of “new ideas.” You must move forward by developing the ideas you have successfully. You need to institute a process in which you work the best. For me its a certain type of music on my home surround sound system, I then take my MacBook into the living room, set it up on table, and sit in front of it until something happens. It’s that simple. I call this my “working habit” – I developed it so that I could consistently execute ideas over time.
A big part of building a “working habit” is to be self-aware enough to know when you have gone off track. There was a point where I had to unplug the wireless router just so I would stop surfing the internet, or throw my phone into another room. If you can control your time-wasting you are one step closer to being able to develop your “working habit”.
You must consistently approach your work in the same manner over a long period of time to create the habit. You must use your strength on the worst days to accomplish something – even it isn’t usable in the end. Make sure to stay in front of your canvas, your computer, your keyboard, until you create something. Do not leave until you have something or you have fulfilled your time for the day. Never give up. Be strong.
We all have something we refuse to sacrifice to make our dreams reality. This could be sleep, money, relaxation, or a social life. It could be time with children, eating a nice dinner with a spouse, or the great, new television show. We trade our time for something else every minute of the day. If you are pursuing a goal, time is the only thing you can’t afford to live without. No matter what this goal is – you must make time for it. To make the time – you must sacrifice.
I am not saying to stop your life completely, but look at the time you waste. How many nights have you found yourself sitting in front of the TV or surfing the internet and two hours have gone by? Maybe you should wake up an hour early and complete 45 minutes of something you have always wanted to learn?
Make time for your dream through sacrificing the junk that still leaves you empty. If you can’t make the time – maybe you need to realign your dreams and your expectations of what you can carry out and when. Be honest with yourself. The idea isn’t that your dream isn’t achievable with your current life, it’s just not going to get here any faster with you not focused on it.
We designers love us some Dieter Rams. His 10 rules for “Good Design” should be lived by all those who are looking to solve problems.
Earlier today it got me thinking of what could replace “design” in his rules and still stick. I think I found one…
Good Government is innovative.
Good Government is useful.
Good Government is accountable.
Good Government is comprehensible.
Good Government is honest.
Good Government is unobtrusive.
Good Government is sustainable, and long-lived.
Good Government is consistent.
Good Government is environmentally friendly.
Good Government is as little government as possible.
As always, inspired by Dieter Rams
Now is the Time for Branded UX
With “Material”, Google is trying to lay the groundwork for a specific look and feel for all Android apps across all devices and screens. These new interactions and development tools were created to compete with Apple’s dynamic iOS7 UEX/UI. And, surprisingly, “Material” seems to be the real deal. The new visual language could bring the design of Android apps up to the quality of iOS.
If animation and transitions are now at parity than the opportunity is ripe for brands to begin owning the interactions, the design and the movement of their apps across devices and screens. Apps across platforms could look nearly identical and potentially could forgo platform specific affordances when appropriate.
I am currently leading UX Strategy on an app that has a larger screen component in retail spaces. The UEX/UI we are implementing into the app matches the look and feel of the larger screen but with a decidedly mobile twist. We have kept important platform conventions when it is most appropriate but a majority of the UI is new, interesting and dynamic. By balancing the brand and the OS affordances the experience is more focus and guided without slavishly following Apple’s human interface guidelines or Google’s design suggestions which could dilute the branded experience. With our UI, the user is drawn into the brand’s world. Almost all of the transitions and layouts will be implemented into Android, iOS and the larger screen component similarly. Across the experience, each screen will feel like it is connected..
What Google wanted to accomplish with “Material” was to create a visual language that spanned multiple screens from web to phone to wearable to car.
What they inadvertently did was open a door where brands and services are open to do the same without following their lead.
So, what does this mean for brands?
It means a brand now has to figure out not only it’s mission and message, but also it’s personality and how that is conveyed via movement.
It means that brands must balance platform affordances with game changing UEX/UI over each and every screen – especially as mobile devices act as profiles and are the key to personal experiences.
More than ever it means a brand’s user experience is key to your success. And THAT is a great thing.
I consider the act of living akin to the creation of art.
Most people never get passed the initial idea of what they would like to make. They stop. They believe they aren’t good enough because of voices both internal and external to themselves. They believe what they are making is “strange” because of social pressures to be “normal”. They make up excuses for their lack of action.
Let me tell you, don’t quit. Spite the nay-sayers and that internal voice asking you to be perfect. Fuck perfection. It takes time to become a master – but we are all artists. You have to start somewhere to learn. If you never begin to understand the medium you’ll never get to make anything beautiful.
A “personalized” selection based on “big data” is not always reliable. This is especially true for people who are not easily categorized. Whose opinions change swiftly within the winds of our highly connected world. The choices are many and people want a better filter than the masses. They want someone with a like mind helping them make decisions about the new and now.
Patterns of this shift are continuing to pop-up – NYTs Opinion, Apple’s Beats acquisition, Foursquare dividing their apps. All of these examples point to a continued refinement to the value exchange of each service to the core users. These core users don’t care about what they want based on their past… they want what the future holds for them now. Users are searching for a point of view to guide them.
To put it simply – curation for individuals with a ‘lifestyle’ view of the world is the future of apps.
The old business paradigm of gauging productivity was to watch the clock and see how many widgets can be created in a work day. Work was no time to play. It was to execute. If you didn’t meet your quota you were reprimanded.
This style measured productivity with managerial clock-watching, unit counting and card punching. This paradigm is about creating quantity with tolerances for overall product performance.
The new paradigm within the Creativity Economy is more complex. Productivity can no longer be measured by time or units. You cannot judge an employee by the time she took to create an idea or how many ideas she had in one day. Great ideas can come to an employee at anytime, anywhere at the snap-of-your-fingers or through an intensive creative process that took hours and hours of research.
Valuable insights and solutions come from exploration and play. Ideas aren’t widgets.
Start a project with the intent to finish it.
Educate yourself about what it will take to finish the project.
Ask for advice from others who have finished similar projects.
Break the project down into manageable pieces.
Begin to execute the project.
Expect to fuck up.
Fuck up beautifully.
Don’t give up.
Understand some progress does not look like progress.
Ask for advice.
Don’t give up.
Execute your plan.
Fuck up again. This time even more beautifully.
Change your plan.
Ask for advice.
Execute new plan.
Give it to the world.
Own what you have created.
Get feedback and critique.
Few men and women are judged solely on their ideas. They are judged on what they make happen. What they build. What they finish.
When you are executing the project it becomes part of you. It is only when you give it to the world is it truly finished.
Finish that wonderful, world-changing idea you have.
Finish the project you started.
Finish the project you long abandoned.
Finish the project by giving it to others to judge and critique.
Be judged on not what you said you would do – but what you did.
PS – Remember there are others who have come before you. Ask for their advice and learn from them.