The eternal redesign
january 19, 2013
Many things are being redesigned in my life over the last few months and the most amazing one is becoming the father of little Bianca. It’s true when they say that you don’t know what it’s like until you become a father.
I’ve also had the time to do some thinking and redesign my professional activity, giving my freelance business a push. For the last 12 years I have been working for other people and now I think it’s time for me to try the rōnin designer’s way.
Therefore, I had to engage in what designers do once in a while: redesigning my portfolio.
When you redesign your portfolio, not only are you being confronted with a blank browser window but with a head full of voices of extreme self-criticism and agonizing self-doubt.
in the year 2000
Rewind 13 years ago, and you’ll find me as a 25yr old, sitting in his desk browsing flashkit.com for a scrolling piece of actionscript, to tweak and show what I had done in my long web design career of 1 year.
I wanted to design my portfolio in flash, because if you wanted to impress clients or employers, you had to use flash, and eventually that portfolio helped me get a job, but that’s another story...
The thing is that back in those days, I felt the pressure of creating something that would live up to what was expected of a designer’s portfolio at that moment.
Fastforward to 2013 and the astonishing amount of changes that the actual multi-device web is going through. If you want to push yourself to create something that will live up today’s standars, you can surely get overwhelmed, as Nick Jones pointed out in this great article which I take the freedom to quote:
“There’s this fallacy of a right way and a wrong way to design and code. If you spend enough time looking for it or reading about it, you'll end up paralysed.”
How well are you adapting responsive design to your website? Are typography and color choices correct? Does your code smell? Is what you are doing Future friendly? all those voices can make you forget about redesigning at all.
However there is one simple recipe to overcome that fear and self-doubt: Just start working and don’t listen to them, as simple as that.
Just start building
Get into the action and forget about your doubts, hey, everyone has them. Even the "superstars", they are a fistfull of doubts just how you are. The difference is that they worked their asses off to prove themselves that they can do it.
For that you need to get started as soon as possible. There is a simple method I read in Frank Chimero’s The Shape of design
“To begin, we must build momentum and then reintroduce the objectives to steer the motion. I find the best way to gain momentum is to think of the worst possible way to tackle the project.”
Make it ugly, screw all the interactions and UX, the idea is that it will only get better from then on. Everything you do from that moment will be better, and you won’t feel that anxiety of creating something wrong, because you just did.
Once you gain “momentum” you’ll start seeing things falling into place, try and fail and trust your guts, eventually you will achieve a portfolio that might not be the best one out there, but it was your honest creation and you will be happy with it, at least that’s how I feel right now.