In so many ways, great design is representative of the way we should live our lives: keep it simple, try new things, and help make others’ lives easier. The team at design collaboration platform InVision recently interviewed two of the best designers in the business: Elliot Jay Stocks, Creative Director of Adobe Typekit and the founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, and Jake Giltsoff, Designer at Typekit. InVision gave us a sneak peek at their conversation, and we’ve compiled six life lessons that all designers should consider.
1. On formal education
Jake: When I was 18 or 19, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, and you don’t necessarily have enough drive at that point to go and do what you want to do anyway. University is a great opportunity to figure out where you want your life to lead.
Elliot: The best learning experiences I had at university came from the things I did in my free time.
2. On inspiration
Jake: Originally, web typography was very influenced by print typography, but in the next few years, I think we’ll start to see it breaking off and doing its own things.
Elliot: I think typography transcends all media. Good typesetting somewhere is good typesetting anywhere. Looking for influence in other media allows you to bring new ideas into your own medium.
3. On creativity
Jake: Sometimes, I actually think not having an internet connection is a good design tool. It’s important to get away from it all and focus, at least for a little bit.
4. On collaboration
Elliot:You don’t need to know everything if you’re capable of working with other people. I can make better work when I stop trying to do every little thing myself and acknowledge that if somebody else can do something better and faster than I can, I should work with them. The most valuable skill in design is knowing when to turn to others.
5. On slowing down
Elliot: You have to evolve things slowly over time [at a large company]. There’s a real care and craft that goes into it, and you don’t get that when you’re in the startup world and you’re just trying to get it out the door as quickly as possible. When you slow down, you’re able to make sure you’re crafting the right experience for your users.
6. On finding your niche
Jake: If you can find your niche – two or three things that you’re good at – and market yourself around those, you’re going to get a lot further than the competition, especially if those two or three things don’t necessarily go together often and are exciting together. If you can do the work that it would take two other people to do, you’re going to succeed.