3 Myths of What it Takes to be a Great Designer Explained by Frog Ventures
Of the evolving list of dream jobs for designers just out of school, the global design firm Frog might have the broadest appeal simply based on the nature of its work. In addition to pushing forward the design industry with sharp, curiosity-driven projects, its approach to design is interdisciplinary—which means it employs designers that work across digital, industrial, and interactive design.
A couple of weeks ago, two Frog product designers took to Reddit to give advice to young designers. What emerged from their Reddit AMA—led by Inbal Etgar, from the San Francisco office, and Francois Nguyen, out of New York—were some key insights into what a place like Frog is looking for in new talent, as well as a more general view of how young designers should be preparing professionally.
“Young designers are usually overly focused on their talent and hard skills, tending to overlook the role positive attitude and grit play in their success,” Etgar writes in an email to Co.Design following the AMA. “In a way, hard skills are easier to acquire than grit or positive mental attitude, as the latter is more subjective and a result of personal growth. It’s common to see young designers fall in love with the hard skills and lose sight of the visionary part of design, the ‘why.’”
We asked Etgar and Nguyen to elaborate on some of the skills—hard and soft—that designers need to have working in the field today, and how those so often differ from the skills designers think are most important.
CONCEPTING ISN’T EVERYTHING—LEARN TO EDIT YOUR WORK
Editing is important to all creative endeavors, yet designers in particular can have a hard time sacrificing attention to myopic details in service of the greater whole. “Those are the two key problems: emotional attachment and not seeing the bigger picture,” says Nguyen. He suggests imposing self-enforced constraints, like hard deadlines or limiting the number of slides per presentation, for example. It’s also helpful to ask for an objective opinion from a professional. As with any type of editing, a fresh pair of eyes can catch things overlooked by someone who is too close to the material.
Nguyen, who is also a musician, illustrates that last point with a story about struggling to complete an album. He brought in a friend who is a music producer to help. “He asked me to cut my 15-track album down to 7, fire my drummer (and friend), hire two other musicians from elsewhere and re-record 90% of my existing parts,” he writes in an email. “Eliminating these tracks that I had lovingly crafted over the years felt like chopping off my limbs. While it went against everything in my creative fiber, I did everything he asked. The result was something beyond anything I could have ever achieved on my own.”
Read the rest of the article here.
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