OK, I need to write about this tweet as I got quite a few DMs.
First of all, I don’t have anything against meticulously structured design courses. They are structured in a way to teach aspiring designers the technical details and it is crucial to be comfortable with all these technical details.
You need to know;
- Grid System: to create a system to organise, align and bring order to your content
- Typography Scaling: to create a hierarchy and adapt your content to various screen-sizes
- Colour Contrast: to create ADA-compliant designs so that more people can use them.
- Responsive Design: to adapt your website to various screen sizes
There is a place for all these implications, especially when you are creating a design system for your product(s).
However, let me be brutally honest with you;
In my 20+ years of career in Design, I worked in various environments from small startups as a single product designer to large corporations as Senior Vice President of Design, leading design teams and lines of businesses managing trillions of dollars… and I can tell you that we do not always design in such a perfectly structured way. Nobody does. It is just not realistic.
In courses or universities, you are given
- neatly packed design problems to solve
- all the resources you need
- all the time you need
- very few constraints if any
However, in real life, you need to
- dig and discover the root problem
- deal with stakeholders' unrealistic expectations
- deal with tight deadlines
- design with the limited tools you are given
- find solutions under strict constraints
You won't always have time, energy or need to follow the precise design steps.
Design is a messy process as it should be!
In design, there aren’t single rules that apply to every use case. You start with a common rule and revise it for your specific case (if needed).
You break the rules, and it is okay.
Again, don't get me wrong. I just want to help set your expectations right.
All these design courses are valuable. Study them, learn them, but if you ever get overwhelmed (and you will), bear in mind that the real work environments are not that strict, you will have room to break the rules you've learned, explore and make your own rules.