Why 'Inspiration' is killing your Design career

On the 7th of March we hosted one of our bi-weekly AMAs on slack, our guest for this insightful session was a product designer, Chimdi Chimereze.

Chimdi is a creative and innovative thinker who seeks to change the world with good design. He is professionally a product designer and has worked on products for reputable brands such as Interswitch, OVH Energy and VisaCheck.

Apart from product design, Chimdi also likes to work on visual branding projects as well as motion graphics.
When he’s not looking at his laptop screen, he’s either reading a medium article, hanging out with great people or sharing his knowledge.

Chimdi: Hello Good evening

My name is Chimdi, a product designer and I'll be handling today's AMA session. Feels really great to be here!

First off, I'm kinda shy because I know there are a lot of us who have more experience in the industry than I do, but I'll do my best to share the much I'm able to

Today's session centre's mostly on design, but I believe all the devs in the house can pick something and make input too

Please, I'd really appreciate if the people here can say hi.

I think I'll start by talking a bit about myself. I'm a freelance product designer, and I really love this industry and what I do. Right from time, I've always loved anything that combines science and art and I totally fell in love when I discovered product design, ...and this brings me to the topic of the day

Why "Inspiration" is killing your design career

First off, I'm not about to attack dribbble or anything, not in a thousand years (as long as they don't do anything really stupid like saying dodo is useless :) I've landed great projects from there and have made contact with amazing designers from across the world

But the real problem isn't about the platform, dribble, It's about how designers are using design inspiration today. I feel really sad when designers basically just lift another design without asking the proper questions nor doing the proper research

I've seen designers who design a mobile app for android, then mock it up in iphone x, because everyone is doing it

  1. It reminds me of a story my mom told us once about when she was in secondary school. During their exam, one of the students decided to copy from the next person, but that wasn't even the matter

    The girl not only copied the next person, she also copied her neighbour's name! how dumb right?

    But a lot of the time, designers do the exact same thing!

    Design should be guided by insight, not gut feeling or trends. I spoke a bit about this in an article I wrote a while ago " https://blog.usejournal.com/before-you-jump-to-design-3a512eb267f3 You can check it out when you get the time

    Meanwhile, feel free to throw in a question anytime,

    This obvious misuse of design inspiration can be attributed to several factors such as; The lack of a proper understanding of UI design and UX design and how they work together Some clients just ask for shiny stuff and don't lay much emphasis on how it works, A poor understanding of who you're designing for or a lack of empathy plus other numerous factors that have brought about this trend


    I've spent about 30 mins pointing out the problem, I think it's only fair to now suggest solutions

    1. A proper understanding of UI and UX and how they work together I believe that when a designer understands the basics of user experience, that designer will take research as serious as design because the designer now understands that without UX they could be providing the right solution to the wrong/less important problem


    2. Designers must learn that inspiration is inspiration, not a library of free stuff waiting to be used. The visuals or inspiration should be used as materials to facilitate your design process and the ideas you find should be subjected to scrutiny based on the specifics of the product you're working on such as demographics, user behaviour and so on.


    3. Good designers should invest time into *reverse engineering* . The art of reverse engineering basically has to do with working your way to the foundation from what you can see. Designers should learn to ask more *whys* than *whats* when working on a product. It it far wiser to be more concerned about the thought or reason behind a design decision than just trying to find out how to create that design element


    4. This is something I've observed that a lot of great artists do. Try to look at design inspiration without copying anything. Just look, then lay back and watch your subconscious do the magic. It has worked for me severally so I still do this a lot. After I look at design inspiration, I just soak it in for some time, then I find out that my mind begins to sort of upgrade my creativity in many other ways and I start finding solutions to my design challenges


    5. I also suggest that designers study design systems or libraries that are widely used today especially google's material design and apple's human interface design

https://material.io/design/introduction/ https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/ios/overview/themes/

They are great resources that will help to educate you on certain design principles and guidelines. I'm currently studying material design myself. Try to check them from time to time, because they get updated frequently

That's the much I have to say for now.

Thanks to the entire Ingressive team and community for having me!


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