Want not - waste not

The Hideout

It’s in man’s nature to strive for the best possible outcome, so it’s no surprise that us designers sometimes feel deflated if one of our concepts is just not hitting the right spot; either to our standard or the clients’. You know when you long for a really nice dinner, but you just can’t put your finger on what you actually want? Even with a full fridge in the house, nothing you see takes your fancy, so it looks like frustration is on the menu. But hear me out, just because it’s not wanted, it doesn’t mean it’s wasted.

Just like a good chef, designers like to take the best ingredients and make something special. The harmony between elements, the execution and presentation are all steps that are important to create the end product that will make clients keep coming back for seconds. However, sometimes things get sent back into the kitchen. And then we have to start again. And you know what? That’s totally okay.


Let’s get cooking

Unlike actual cooking though, no ingredients are going to waste when something goes a little bit awry along the way. As the great Aaron Draplin said: “Vectors are free” and I don’t mean this in a monetary sense. I take it in the wider sense: every hour spent on vectors, sketches and elements is not wasted time – even if we have not reached the desired end product just yet. 

With each new alteration we get to know the concept better and learn to understand the mechanics behind it. This process gives us invaluable experience that no one, not even a client that says no, can take from us. It makes us better designers and therefore gives us the ability to produce a higher standard product.

The Hideout

No guts, no glory

It can be hard not to let a no get to you, especially when you actually thought you had something there. While design is our bread and butter, it’s also deeply personal work so presenting something that you’ve worked hard for takes guts. When the humbling verdict lands, it can happen that we question ourselves and our ability to nail a concept. Where did we go wrong? Do we need to start from scratch? 

The answer is usually no. And this time it’s a good no! While we might have to start with a blank piece of paper, we don’t start with a blank mind. We already collected our experiences in the previous alterations, with the extra bonus of knowing exactly what we don’t want.

So, pop a bandaid on the old ego and let’s get to work and remember, we have not wasted any time. We’re booking these hours in our personal experience bank and will benefit from it for the rest of our careers. Failure is not a bad thing if we learn from it.