You want to be a designer, so where can you start?

I think it would be fair to say that I’m not qualified to give the answer to such “big questions”, anyway, here is my algorithm of problem solving where you can get one simple thing done: design something that would be useful to someone else, but before, to you.

late Middle English (as a verb in the sense ‘to designate’): from Latin designare ‘to designate’, reinforced by French désigner. The noun is via French from Italian.

New Oxford American Dictionary

In this particular case, by design this post has to tell what I mean when I use the word “design”, something you can do in order to solve any kind of problems, like, giving an answer to the question “where can I start if I want to be a designer”, and it doesn’t matter what are going to design, chairs or user interfaces, even writing this post (for me) is in itself the process of design.

1. Read a lot, read everything!

Blog posts are great starter point for anything related to problem solving (because other people doing it all the time, might be your problem had already been solved), if you clearly see a problem you want to solve for yourself, and it can be useful to other people, you have to have some basic knowledge of what you are doing on your side. Which blogs?

You can Google it “I want to be a designer”, but it is not good idea as Google can be tricked by SEO agencies to show you not so good bullet points with some text and nice pictures. They aren’t good in fact! You need an inspiration, not some sort of steps to go through. (It is my own personal opinion, because it didn’t work for me.)

This guy and this post! Paul has all required reading for you, go and check him! He is a designer at Twitter, the interesting thing is that by reading majority of his posts, you’ll see the roadmap of what it takes to land a job at the great company, at least enough popular company which product you might have used before in your daily life.

This blog post is enough information to start doing anything you want, solving any kind of problem you want in the field of designing something, I said “it doesn’t matter, if you have a brand new spoons or new resistive touch-screen technology”! (Actually, it does matter as the latter is some kind of serious problem solving than constructing chairs.)

2. You must have some sort of tools to check your ideas against reality as quickly as possible

Let’s see, you want to be a designer of user interfaces (UI Designer), not an engineer which works with touch-screen technology. It’s a fairly simple to start to work in this field as you already have ready-to-go tools and huge market as everyone nowadays uses touch-screen displays where you can immediately show your work.

It is a truly democratic system, user/developer relationship, if someone likes your ideas and their implementation, they will use it, right? You have heard about tools like Figma, Origami Studio, Xcode and so on, as each level of these softwares are providing you the toolset to solve the problem (no pun intended) in each level of designing process.

Figma

From paper to screen, iterative process has to be very quick and ready to be changed immediately, you need to be fast quickly check your ideas on the fly, and Figma is a free-to-use software to help you with that.

The irony is, I think, that we didn’t have Figma like programs 4-5 years ago (absolutely free to use and just amazing workflow) and now we just thinking, “how we lived before at all”, this is the magic of problem solving. You must notice that the founder of this company (now it is a legit company) can be younger than you.

He saw the solved, he solved the problem, and I believe he is rich now!

Origami Studio

It’s all levels as you knew it, layers I would add. Layer upon layer upon layer, you can choose one, or you can choose all. I think it’s because one of the reasons, obviously, when you have a user base of 1 billion people even monthly, decision to change 12×12 pixels icons to 14×14 can cost you 1% decline in user base and that is millions of people, right?

The events happening on the phone while user touching device, sometimes it’s much safer place to get the notion of how it feels when you have a raw prototype on Origami Studio and it is cost effective to show the changes in front of your co-workers.

Origami Studio was created at Facebook, and they have plenty of real life examples how they using this software, if you have a mindset to learn from the best, Origami Studio has to be on your list of programs you want to master.

Xcode

Again, layers upon layers, upon layers! Congratulations, this is the final step to make things happen in your process of design! Now, you are not working with the colors of certain buttons, or what animation is linked to this particular user interface, now you are designing a code to make all these two layers happen on the real device! You are now an engineer, a coder, a magician!

3. Thousands little steps are more important than one big jump

You can’t get here anything just like this, if you are enough interested to know what I wrote in this section, email me at alik at outlook dot kr!

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