18 Jun 2014
Dear Visual Design
This is hard for me to say and as much as I don’t want to hurt your feelings, I feel like it’s not going anywhere between us.
It was great at first, do you remember? There was something exciting about starting with a blank canvas. The web industry is always in movement with emerging technologies and visual trends. There’s always something new to see!
Being a web designer is hard though. Print still influences web design in many companies. The former cares about the delivery, the latter the continuity.
“Picking my fights”? No way! I put too much effort and energy into projects which would ultimately be disappointing to my eyes. To this day, I still don’t know how to create a corporate-friendly-clean-approachable-personal-serious design.
You’re an obvious target for criticism, Visual Design, because everyone has a personal opinion about you. It makes me wonder who you actually work for; the user or the client? When you say “this typeface looks more playful and young”, are you certain the business is actually playful and young?
My self-confidence had been crumbling like cookies in a kid’s party for too long. I did not want this on my shoulders. I did not want to take responsibility for something I could not control. It’s not you, it’s me, you know.
Oh, and I met someone else. A close friend of yours: User Experience.
What appealed to me was the constant questioning: why are we doing this? It wasn’t pretty at all and didn’t care about slick mockups. The pitch was the action, the collaboration, making stuff quickly, test it and throwing them if it didn’t work. More conceptual, more post-its, more sketching…
Working for the user is refreshing. It’s comforting and rewarding to think I could actually make things a bit better for people. Of course, there’s the occasional discussions and criticism. It’s much easier to embrace, because nobody around the table cares about the colour of the boxes on a notepad.
We had many highs and lows on our emotional roller coaster. Now I understand I like my relationships stable and without drama.
Can we still be friends? As long as I don’t have to carry a paper bag to breathe in every time there’s a meeting, I’m sure we can still enjoy each other’s presence. Tweaking a couple of typefaces or colours, maybe even create some CSS transitions for your next design.
No hard feelings I hope. I believe you deserve to be with someone who understands and accepts you for what you are. Someone good with compromise.
by Laura Nevo — @lauranevo
Note from the author: A previous version of this article inadvertently used some offensive words. That’s corrected now. :) I apologise if it offended anyone.