Now and then you stumble upon a tsunami of posts for “Designers should…” where authors go into great detail to put boundaries and limitations in place. While advising you on how to achieve a certain outcome.
I’m a huge fan of “to each, their own” and letting people decide on what works best based on their current situation. Take other people’s unsolicited advice (mine included) with a grain of salt and decide for yourself how you’d like to get things done.
Designers “should” code
Having a basic understanding of HTML/CSS will help you use Figma’s Auto Layout features and have a better understanding of how responsive websites and mobile apps are built.
It can also help with collaborating with Developers and Testers. It goes both ways, right? A Developer who has a basic understanding of design fundamentals can help improve the collaboration process. There’s also the case for playing to your strengths and having mutual respect for other people’s areas of expertise.
Designers “should” have a degree
In my experience, I’ve found universities to be out-of-date with more of a focus placed on theory rather than real-world/practical applications.
If you learn by doing, you can teach yourself how industry-recognised tools like Figma and WebFlow for a fraction of the cost. The fundamentals of design can be acquired through books and online courses. However, you might also find value in a university degree. Up for grabs.
Consider what makes the most sense for your preferred learning style. Here are some great online resources to get you started:
- Figma – https://www.figma.com/resource-library/
- Webflow – https://university.webflow.com/
- Interaction Design Foundation (IxDF) – https://www.interaction-design.org/?r=rich-mcnabb
Designers “shouldn’t” have a portfolio
Whenever I speak to a recruiter they normally end the call by saying “Send me a copy of your resume and a link to your portfolio”. With that said, consider structuring your portfolio more like case studies to better explain your thinking and approach to solving a particular problem. If you can, include quotes from actual customers and metrics to show the impact of your work.
In the past, I’ve suggested doing case study walkthroughs over design challenges during the interview process. In my experience, design challenges fail to articulate real-world problem-solving and don’t accurately explain my approach.
A solid case study means you can speak with confidence on something tangible you have delivered and some of the wins and challenges of each project. This might be a better place to focus your time and energy.
You get to decide
Take on board what resonates and reject what doesn’t. Stay rad ✌️