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Asking for advice/mentorship

September 26, 2019 at 10:33pm

Asking for advice/mentorship

September 26, 2019 at 10:33pm

Hi all! I'm a junior designer, and the only designer at my company. I recently got handed a project that I feel like is way beyond my scope. Essentially we are transitioning everything we have on our current app to build a new app with some of the same functionality, but way more advanced. Has anyone here done something similar? There are days where I feel like I know what I'm doing, but many other days where I really have no idea if I'm going in the right direction/doing things in the "right order'. I'd love to talk to someone who has done something similar, because I could really use some advice. Thanks in advance!


September 26, 2019 at 10:52pm

Jump over to Skillshare or Lynda.com to learn. There are so many resources out there to consume. Live and breathe this stuff. PODCASTS! https://www.bookmarks.design/categories/design-podcasts/

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That's a big job! But don't be afraid — it's a common design challenge, so don't think like it's beyond your scope. Design is like searching for your keys in a dark room. There are best practices to help you avoid hitting your shins on the table, but never a single right direction to get to the right spot. You won't really know you're there until you're actually there. Look at frameworks like design thinking, but just use them to help you determine next steps. Stay rigidly focused on what success looks like (how will you know you have hit this project out of the park?) and work backwards from there.

Keep in mind case studies of design problems are often post hoc analysis; the actual design process (in my experience and many other designers I know) is this: Pick a framework and start following it; things get confusing along the way; you stress until you find the right solution; you write a case study in your portfolio that makes it seem like you knew what was going on the entire time and you never deviated from Design Thinking ™ (or whatever framework you're using). The right order is the order of steps that allows you to consistently produce successful product design. You're a junior designer, so of course you haven't found the right set of steps for you yet. Pick something, experiment, learn, repeat.

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That's a big job! But don't be afraid — it's a common design challenge, so don't think like it's beyond your scope. Design is like searching for your keys in a dark room. There are best practices to help you avoid hitting your shins on the table, but never a single right direction to get to the right spot. You won't really know you're there until you're actually there. Look at frameworks like design thinking, but just use them to help you determine next steps. Stay rigidly focused on what success looks like (how will you know you have hit this project out of the park?) and work backwards from there.

Keep in mind case studies of design problems are often post hoc analysis; the actual design process (in my experience and many other designers I know) is this: Pick a framework and start following it; things get confusing along the way; you stress until you find the right solution; you write a case study in your portfolio that makes it seem like you knew what was going on the entire time and you never deviated from Design Thinking ™ (or whatever framework you're using). The right order is the order of steps that allows you to consistently produce successful product design. You're a junior designer, so of course you haven't found the right set of steps for you yet. Pick something, experiment, learn, repeat.

Thanks so much for the reassurance and great advice Zac! It’s good to remember every design challenge is tricky and there’s no “right” approach to any design challenge, but with more experience, and trial and error, I’ll find the rhythm that works for me. I’m actually a Tradecraft alum—started after you left, and have heard great things about you, so awesome to hear from you!

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Jump over to Skillshare or Lynda.com to learn. There are so many resources out there to consume. Live and breathe this stuff. PODCASTS! https://www.bookmarks.design/categories/design-podcasts/

Thank you for the tips Alan! Will definitely dive into all these resources :)

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Thanks so much for the reassurance and great advice Zac! It’s good to remember every design challenge is tricky and there’s no “right” approach to any design challenge, but with more experience, and trial and error, I’ll find the rhythm that works for me. I’m actually a Tradecraft alum—started after you left, and have heard great things about you, so awesome to hear from you!

Awesome! Good luck with the project and try to have fun with it.

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I bumped into this goldmine tonight and thought of you: https://www.lapa.ninja/book/

ENJOY!

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Another tip I found helpful was - don't be afraid of saying "I don't know". Designers aren't geniuses and we might not know the answer when we're asked. At the end of the day, design is a "collection of opinions" so as Zac mentioned, there is no right or wrong answer :)

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I bumped into this goldmine tonight and thought of you: https://www.lapa.ninja/book/

ENJOY!

This is awesome!! Thank you again!! :)

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Another tip I found helpful was - don't be afraid of saying "I don't know". Designers aren't geniuses and we might not know the answer when we're asked. At the end of the day, design is a "collection of opinions" so as Zac mentioned, there is no right or wrong answer :)

Thank you for that Brian! Always a good reminder that it’s ok to not have the answer and to be uncertain sometimes :)

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