Things can get stressful when a design comes down to the wire, when the problem changes and the design must follow. There are those times when that ‘tiny’ change you agreed to yesterday becomes the fly in the ointment today. Then it shifts the experience in a difficult direction. I constantly try to channel my anxieties and worries about my work in order to make myself better at what I do each day. But when things get crazy it can still be easy to lose perspective on what we do.
The following statements are like those that you hear once in a while (e.g., “This is not rocket science.” etc…). but these stand out to me because of the context surrounding them. These are three moments in my career that help me balance the anxiety with the drive:
“There is no such thing as a design emergency.” Gary Underhill of UP Design.
An early moment. Gary uttered this phrase during a discussion about what clients will do during the two summer weeks that the shop would close. It made me think differently about what I do. It’s not that he didn’t care about his clients. The opposite was true. He was passionate and very brilliant and his clients think he is amazing. That is what made the statement stand out so much in my mind. You can be truly passionate about what you do and still understand where it stands in the scheme of things. He knew what John Kasye used to say…
“Nobody is going to die if the design is not right.” John Kasye.
This one of those statements that people make from time to time. However, John had a unique perspective that gave this sentiment more weight than usual. He was a brilliant designer who, in a previous career had been a brilliant EMT. He had seen the worst that life can dish out to humans. He had to make the call to bring in the chopper and talk to the patient until backup got there. The fact that a design is not on-the-mark was unfortunate, but it is not life or death. The fact that his designs are so rarely off-the-mark made this especially profound.
“It’s just a website” Terralee
Despite the aforementioned moments, I still need a little nudge every once in a while to set myself back on track. This statement came at just the right time. I was on ‘the project’. The one that will bring your career to the next level or swallow you whole and make even your cat resent you for not being around enough. I got a little stressed out from time to time because I wanted it all to work out perfectly. Of all the advice I received, this struck me and was my mantra for the remainder of the project.
We turned out a pretty great website that I was quite proud of and it was created by a phenomenal team. Yet, in the end, it was just a website. I woke up in a cold sweat about the navigation scheme a little less after repeating that a few times.
Deadlines loom, timelines shift and at times you’ll have moments where you’ll wonder ‘will inspiration ever strike again?’ — Do your best… and try to keep this stuff in perspective.