The Truth About Good Design Pt. 2

2 days ago I wrote about the truth of good design.

Today I share a personal story that illustrates my point in that post which is: good design is always subjective. In order to achieve successful design, we must define “good” and put boundaries on what that word means to us as designers. 

Last week I clocked into work and right as I was getting ready, one of our customers came up to the counter to order his daily cup of milk tea. 

As he was waiting, he noticed there was a special menu we made for the Lunar New Year sitting on our trays. After looking at it for a few minutes, he made several points about it. 

Some of them were: 

“The format was all wrong” 

“It’s hard to understand”

“There should be a format where the customer could choose what they want rather than have fixed sets” 

He said his suggestions would make it better because he studied design in school. 

I told him that I did as well. 

Having nothing more to say than to compare the schools we both went to and why his was better, he eventually left. 

The truth of the matter was, it didn’t matter whether or not the menu was under universal principles of good design. 

What mattered more was why it was considered “good” to a certain audience. For us, it was our Instagram audience. During the span of Lunar New Year (roughly 2 weeks), we sold over 90 sets using that menu. Very roughly speaking, that’s 8k in revenue (which is a lot for a small business like ours). 

For my design friends, don’t fool yourself into thinking that design to impress others is the way to go. 

Don’t make good design. Instead, be specific about who your design is going to serve. Design for them. 

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