Why your opinion on design matters (and how to unleash it)

Sep 2, 2019

 

If your cooking skills are lacking, you’re still perfectly entitled to have an opinion on the work of a master chef.

The same goes for design; who says you can’t judge a design just because your own skills are non-existent?

Design is very subjective, and there’s no right or wrong way to judge a piece of work. Over time, you’ll have worked out what you do and don’t like and can subsequently form your opinions from that.

Despite this, how often have you left the design of something to those who you assume know more, simply because it isn’t your ‘thing’?

We can’t escape design

The laptop sitting in front of you; the packet of opened crisps on your desk; the notification that has just flashed up on your phone; design is everywhere we look.

However, the best design rarely makes itself known, because, as Jared Spool once said, “Good design, when it’s done well, becomes invisible”.

This is probably why you think you know nothing about design; since you were born, you’ve simply become accustomed to designs that just work.

But what about the stuff that doesn’t work? You probably always have an opinion on that, right?

 

Why your opinion on design matters

We often form opinions on design without even realising it.

For instance, when starting a web design project for your business, you’ll probably spend hours looking at what the competition has done. You’ll have highlighted things you can improve on, opportunities missed and mistakes to avoid.

Designers do the same, but their due diligence will be nothing like the work you do, given your experience, background knowledge and love of the business.

Without your input, what would a designer come up with? Would it help you achieve your business goals and ensure the business stands out from the competition?

Probably not.

How to speak more confidently about design

So, you’ve definitely got an opinion on design, but you’re not a designer; how can you express your opinion more confidently?

  1. Get to grips with basic design principles and terms

There’s lots of design lingo, but non-designers only need to know the basics.

Thankfully, Hubspot has rounded up the most important to take into account if design isn’t your first language.

Other useful resources:

Let’s say you’re looking at the mock-up of a new website. Something isn’t quite right, but, given your lack of design knowledge, you’re unsure where the designer has got it wrong.

That’s fine - you just need to start asking some questions of both yourself and the designer.

Why don’t you like the particular colour? Why is that button badly placed? What is it about the main font that doesn’t work for you? What’s missing?

Dig deep. If the entire page ‘just isn’t right’ break it up by section and ask yourself why you feel that way about each one.

If all else fails and you draw a blank, speak to the designer and ask “why” - never be afraid to quiz them on their design decisions.


Wrapping up

A great designer can transform your business - but only with the help of your opinion.

You’ve got one - so use it!

 

SHARE