The Truth About Good Design

Good design is never good. Instead, it’s always “good”. 

What’s the difference?

When it comes to design work, there will always be critics. Designers critiquing their own work. Designers critiquing another designer’s work. Other people critiquing a designer’s work, and so on. 

Here’s what I mean when I say there are 2 different kinds of good design.

There’s a version of good where the project passes all our personal checkboxes. This is the first and most personal critique, because it’s done by yourself, alone. A survey of 1. Whether you think it’s good or not almost always doesn’t matter (yes, you read that right).

Good design is highly subjective, non-conforming, and untameable. If we really want results, we need to define what good means. This is where “good” comes in.

“Good” is targeted. “Good” depends on who you’re talking to—your audience, your market. “Good” is defined. What does your project/product/service need in order for your market to say it’s “good”? 

You only need to be “good” for a specific group of people. Oftentimes, the designer herself is not a part of that group of people. 

So before you critique your work to it’s death, ask what are you designing, and who does it need to be “good” for? 

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