We live in a time that is far removed from the late 90’s battle with 640×480 resolutions with IE 4 (oh how I shudder at those days). Today, the web is an elaborate medium for artistic expression, and we have no shortage of talented designers strutting their stuff and receiving their due recognition. But I must admit that I, and most of the web designers out there, aren’t a “good designer” in the traditional sense of being completely original. In fact, I venture to estimate that the truly revolutionary ideas come out in web design is coming from a group smaller than 5% (similar to this is how much of a country’s wealth comes from the upper 1%). So, what about the rest of us?
For a long time I was discouraged that I would never be a Cameron Moll, Eric Meyer, or work for Happy Cog. I thought since I couldn’t compete at that level it was better that I hang up the designing shoes. Well, I have since learned that being a good designer isn’t just about being a good designer, and I want to elaborate on what that means and its implications for the majority of “designers” out there.
I have learned that just because I’m not completely original designer with my layouts, methodology, etc that doesn’t mean I can’t be a “good designer.” While I might not be the most original I can work on how I discern good from bad and functional against un-functional in doing design work. In short, the average designer can be a good designer by honing their ability to be discerning on design choices and therefore be able to give educated opinions to clients and co-workers about best practices in the design world.
To prove this we need to look no farther than this site! It is chocked full of resources, best practices, and galleries of exceptional designers/programmers doing exceptional things in order that we may learn from them. The fact that there are no shortages of design galleries on the Internet speaks to the market of inspiring other designers. That doesn’t mean we can blatantly copy them, but we can see how someone else approached a similar design problem and then mix and match to solve our individual design requirements.
Just because most of us (including myself) might not be in the upper echelon of designers doesn’t mean that we can’t be talented in how we approach our design work. It’s true that being truly original is great, but for the rest of us we can stand on the shoulders of giants while paving our own way!