I have a problem. It’s not really serious, but it isn’t easy ignored. No, it’s not foot odour… I’ve come to terms with that years ago. What I’m really having trouble with is the constant and never ending need to redesign.
As a professional web and graphic designer, it’s my job to create interesting and striking products for clients and for myself. From large businesses selling elevator hoists to small web ‘zines, the design has to be awesome. I’ve been told by a few people (thanks Mom) that I’m pretty good at my job. Some people have even paid me for what I’ve created for them. But do I take this praise and money to heart, let a site or print piece go and move on to the next project? Nope… I’m not built that way.
Once a website has been released to the wilds of these internets, a small pang hits my stomach. I quickly view the site to make sure everything is working well (which I’ve done all through out the creation process anyway). So it’s working well. Maybe the pain in my gut is nerves as to what the client might think (even though they’ve worked on the project with me and have seen it the entire way as well). Nope, that’s not it… I don’t care what the client thinks (I’m only kidding… sort of). The problem is, I don’t like the design. I want to pull the site down, redesign it to one of my ten other ideas and then I’ll be happy. Or so I think.
I’m sure this happens to many artists and other creatives as well, but as soon as I put something out to the world, I doubt it. I should have added this, I should have used this colour, I should have included an animated Santa Clause racing a motorcycle and jumping over that dancing baby thing from the late 90′s…. Oh what I could have done if I just would have been more creative! Sometimes, the redesign is needed. I have around fifteen designs saved up for my personal website. Some of them are really cool and some aren’t. A lot of work could go into making my site the coolest on the web, but as soon as I’d finish it, I’d hate it, so what’s the point. That attitude is horrible and I’m glad I really don’t think that way!
Why can’t I leave well enough alone? I think deep down it’s a good thing. By creating something that blows me away, I am sure it will blow everyone else away. The problem of course, is that to blow yourself away is very hard. If you’ve spent weeks and months on something, how can it possibly excite you after all that time? That’s when you just have to realize that you could work on something forever and it would be a slight bit better but not worth the effort. If I really hated what I put out into the world, I’d hope I would just stop creating, but I’m probably too stuborn. By finishing a design, you are saying it is “done” but really, as with any other type of art, it is never done. It needs to grow, change, engage and transform not only in it’s physical or virtual form, but also in the way a user sees or interacts with it.
Redesigns, however can be great. This site, for example didn’t work out as I had hoped once all the content started to appear. Navigation was tough, the text took over… blargh. The new design is more clear and easier to use, plus has some nice new features. To ease my psychological issues, there are still some things to add, but I can add those later. For now, I’m happy… at least for four more weeks.