I have seen a bunch of designs, online and offline, that make me puke. They make me want to push my fingers down my throat and force-out my barf with the hope that what has been seen can be unseen. But here’s the reality of it: big companies around the world are spending millions of dollars on shit designs that they hope can appeal to masses, and in reality, what has been seen cannot be unseen at all and these masses can’t understand shit of what they’re trying to say.
I don’t know where to start. When I try to find out why these designers are making such awful material, it’s sad to see their talent get wasted. What’s more appalling is to know that managers and team leads are making business decisions based on these designs. Now many people may say that primarily, business decisions influence design. That’s true but it cannot be ruled out that design decisions are influenced by marketers. If you have a shit product, don’t have a shit design. It just makes the world a sad place to live in.
Over the years, if there is anything that I’ve learned, it’s that selling and buying a product is based on an emotional connection. If you can’t reach out to your customers emotionally, then be ready to see your product shelved for a long time. The moment you can relate to your audience, I can guarantee you that sales are going to happen. Unfortunately, managers often confuse emotional connections with the brainlessness of forcing a sale. Customers don’t want to know why they need this product. They want to know how this product feels and makes them feel. This is why designers need to apply logic and bridge the gap between sales, emotion, and business. Aka, logic.
Logic has always proven itself to be a winning formula when it comes to selling a product. I cannot think of a single instance where logic overpowered random shit design. Design logic does not need to make sense. It just has to be logically correct. Have you ever seen those ads showcasing beautiful women selling a mediocre product? It works because advertisers are creating a sexual emotional connection with their audience. Do you remember seeing vehicle advertisements showcasing their cars as powerful bulls? That’s where advertisers are emotionally relating man to a beast. It works because our audience is emotionally satisfying people that want to be awe-inspired and aroused. The same advertising logic applies to design. If your designers are core UI makers, then you need to ensure that they step up their game. The best way to do this is to ensure that their design skills are in sync with the business.
I often tell my designers to learn and understand the business of the product we are selling. Now, my designers are not Johnny Ives but I make sure they know who Johnny Ive is. Great design needs to be inspired by great people. The moment I know that my designers are aware of the product or service they are selling, the better I can sleep at night. I now know for a fact that if the marketing team does not spend enough time briefing me or my team, it would not matter. That is because we know what we sell and we know what appeals to our audience.
Often designers slack around and tell me that they don’t need to be involved with the analytical reasoning of the business. I hate this. That’s because in the online world, what the designer makes is going to sell the product. The product will not sell itself. It needs a design that is perfect and a call-to-action that works. A/B testing is so important. This is why I tell two designers to work on the same design separately. This way I can fuse together their ideas and later pick on them to do better than the other. Of course, this is going to be a resource-consuming process but I assure you, it’s going to make you see the design in a better and logical manner. Try, test, and see the results. Your design’s analytics will not only tell you what is working but it will also tell you if you need to recruit better talent.
Talent is so important when it comes to design logic. But experience is more important than talent itself. I’ve seen some really talented people and I love them. They can create masterpieces blindfolded. But the real challenge is teaching them how a market responds to their designs. I mentioned earlier that the world we live in is an emotional ball of madness. This is where experience plays a crucial role. Bringing logic in this madness is where you will realize that experience triumphs talent. Spend more time discovering your designer’s skills rather than their talent. If you find that they are old, keep them. They know what the market is. If you find that they are too young, keep them too. They will show you what the next generation of people’s needs is. So who to hire? Well, don’t hire the one that talks well in an interview. Hire the one that justifies his design with logic. I promise you, the experienced ones will fit in here quite well.
Design logic is complicated to explain. It’s where designers make sense of a dog chewing on a dildo. You may think that would be a marketers job. But in reality, the marketing team is only going to give you a tag line and an idea of what they want to see visually. That’s ok. It’s important. But what’s the point if your designer does not know what they are selling. Dog food or Sex toys? There are a thousand ways to interpret this. But logical designers will show you how the right interpretation can be achieved. They will show you where emphasis needs to be concentrated and how people can related emotionally to the product being sold. It’s something that cannot be explained and it shouldn’t. It should be visually proven.
Once you are done with the daunting task of getting your designers to understand what they need to make, the next step is to ensure that they know the difference between logic and sense. There is a big difference between the two and the only way you can understand this yourself is by looking at the people around you. I’m sure wherever you are, there are people around you that are educated and have sense in everything they say. But their ability to back their sense with logical reasoning is far too improbable. This is because, by law of nature, sense will exist in the world, but there is no logical reason to know why. Let that sink in.