Keeping Perspective in the Digital Design World

I have a secret. I never meant to be a web designer. In fact I used to include the phrase “I will design digital, but not web”. I didn’t want to get caught up in the stupid #($ involved with such an ever-evolving platform, and then when I was left standing on the platform watching the train of designers who had the “whole package” available to them head on down the track I thought, wait. WHAT decision did I just make.

The reason I decided NOT to be involved was because I was scared. Yup, scared. Here I was working on complicated print projects, and slowly seeing the need for my clients to have better digital work. I would play “not mine” when it came to actual web design, but would help with direction and graphics as long as someone said, it’s 300x200px ok fine. I would jump into a role in the company and help fill anything that needed doing when a web designer was on vacation, I mean photoshop is photoshop whether the product is digital or print, but I didn’t want the rest of the conversation included, so I literally put the breaks on my digital education. And then I realized I was actually pretty good at my own portfolio site, and I wasn’t afraid of reading code to learn it.

I have completely changed my perspective on what is what in the world of where a traditionally trained architecture student meets MFA in graphic design meets squarespace designer fits into this world.

Keeping perspective on these ever-changing rolls is the key to success, and not staying tied to a platform or mode of communication, but instead knowing how design works on greater level and being able to apply my design skills to each different mode.

Part One: Realization of the Design Switch to Digital First

I actually have a few bigger print projects coming up, and wrapping my brain about starting them was actually a hard decision. I sat there thinking, do I really want to take this on, when was the last time I created a 70+ page print design? Oh wait, years ago. Even the magazine I was helping produce in 2015 and early 2016 was digital. So, I was nervous, and then I just opened up my design program and attacked it the same way I would a branding + digital publication design. The concepts don’t change, the reader needs to be able to see clear hierarchy and understand the message.

The core principals of web design don’t change, but the ability to transform our designs in different modes changes faster than print design ever did or ever will. So we have to keep on our toes with new “stuff”.

The best way of doing this without loosing your freaking noggin? Find a few methods that you feel comfortable with, AND are growing and changing platforms. Commit yourself to them and then become an expert at the functions. For me, it’s squarespace + my traditional branding and design channels. Whether that method is wordpress, or showit, allowing yourself to see beyond the platform, stick to the basics and the foundation of design, and then allow your self to experiment.

Part Two: Change It Up

The second part to perspective is the need for your client to potentially completely change up the method/layout/ etc. for their brand. One of the biggest things especially the last year in business has taught me is that giving your client the tools to train their clients to be good digital managers, is just as valuable to their business as the design itself.

For this I have a quick survey for you all to fill out, it’s quick don’t worry. Are you currently using a method to train your clients? Do you find it effective? Do you use a maintenance plan? Is it something you would consider if it was the right fit and right compensation for your business? Is it something you want to develop? Or include a free teachable course for squarespace for your past clients? I want to know what you need so we can gear some kick-ass content towards making your business even better.

Digital Design Survey

How do you define yourself as a designer *
Did you go to design school? *
What did your design education focus on? *
What do you think you focus on first in the design process? *
Do you think design education should still teach print design seperately? *