What Makes a Great Designer?

Wheat and chaff. Good and great. They’re two very different things. When it comes to design, it may seem difficult to separate the okay designers from the exceptional ones because likability is always subjective. Some might say that a great designer is somebody who contributes great value, though value can mean different things to different people.

It’s generally understood that the main duty of a designer is to not only make things look attractive but rather, to solve problems. In other words, strong design has purpose. But what are the marks of a really strong designer? We looked at an article published on Medium, which explores five differences between good and great designers, to gain a better understanding. Below are our findings.

Great designers welcome critique as a tool for growth.
While a good designer may very well feel wounded by “negative” feedback, a great designer recognises the opportunity to improve. They view hurdles as stepping stones to arriving at a greater destination.

They don’t throw in the towel.
Great designers are willing to put the proverbial sweat and blood into their work. They’re willing to reform and refine a design until it’s the best possible version of itself. Simply put, great designers have the ambition that good designers lack. They’re forever in competition with themselves in order to uncover new ways of thinking which makes them more creative and able to solve problems with ingenuity.

Simplification is their specialty.
A great designer questions the necessity of every element of a design and is brutal about removing anything that isn’t working. Plus, they don’t compromise on the final product, or what experience it offers to users, in the process. They only seek to make it better.

Great designers exercise restraint.
Instead of cramming a website or app with evidence of their vast design knowledge, a great designer embraces minimalism and is cautious about including the right amount of everything. They often spend more time on the concept phase and less time crafting because they concentrate on preparation.

They never lose sight of the user.
Great designers consider the user from the very beginning of the design process. They prioritise the user experience above all and consider what issues might arise when interacting with the product, service or thing they are designing. A great designers strives for seamlessness and settles for nothing less.

In the words of Joe Sparano, “Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.”