How Do You Become a Better Designer?

I’m not a full-time designer, in terms of the nature of my work, but from the notes from my last design project, here’s what I think I’ve learned can make myself a better designer:

  1. Record the minutes etc during every meeting and make sure you truly know what the client wants.
  2. Have detailed breakdown of what you’re doing for the client so he feels assured that his money is well spent, on the right things.
  3. Recommend solutions, don’t just accept client’s demands.
  4. Offer alternatives, and explain the rationale for your design.
  5. Where possible, present your explanations/notes in a polished manner. This relates to point 2 above: making the client feel like it’s worth his money. This sense of assurance, I feel, is very important.
  6. Rationale for your design = ONE. knowing the purpose of each screen, knowing the priorities of elements on each screen
  7. TWO. Know why each of the element is the way it is. E.g. why are we using this font size, this typeface, this letter spacing? If you don’t, you’re probably going through the motion. Sure, everyone does that once in a while, but to be able to clear this, I think, makes me feel like I’m a real professional.

I noticed much of what I’ve noted above is related to communication. Yes, as opposed to an artist, or even an engineer, design is all about communication. Communicating to the users/readers of the design, and communication with the client commissioning the design. There’s surely more, but I’ll leave it as it is for now—might add more in the future.