Great products don't spring from great designers like Athena from the skull of Zeus; instead, they were usually the result of a lot of trial and error, missteps and blind alleys, and hard work and deep thinking. There's no secret sauce. Great designers aren't those with the most natural talent, or the smartest, or can draw the best. Great designers are those who've designed great products, period. And the only way to design those is the hard way. And while you might have a vision of how the product should be right from the start, it takes a lot of work to get it right. You have to explore. You have to prototype. You have to test. You have to see it live. You have to see someone using it. Only then do you get a refined design. No one gets it right the first time.
How do you go about and create mind-blowing software products? From where beautiful designs come from?
This question is what I ask myself everytime time I stumble on a beautiful application design. How are these applications created? Put together so elegantly. A delight when you experience it in your hands. Like a bird which floats through the air without trying, you meander through it, you want to come back and use it. You feel like it was built for you.
When I use good software and try to understand how it was built I only find iterations of the same product which were scraped. Like drafts of an essay. I only find the older versions which don’t make it to the final cut.
When I speak to designers who inspire me, they share the same tip; keep finding new ways to do things and don't give up. Which does not answer many of my questions as a design novice but it tells me even the greatest make mistakes but then they reiterate and they never settle. This is their secret. I am sure you have heard it before.
No one gets it right the first time.
The answer sounds trivial in its wording but it is very powerful in its meaning. The question then is, well it is about you. How many times are you willing to discard and redraw? Forget and re-imagine. Let go of old ideas for new one to surface. Research and comeback. In practice, a beautiful design surface after walking a brittle path of many hours of hard work, deep thinking and countless reiterations.
This is what counts if you want to become a great product designer. Great artists or creatives are those people who work hard in something they are passionate about. They work for the process and not the result. They don’t cling on to the final product, instead they look forward to improving it.
Beautiful and creative work does not surface overnight. The most dangerous thought to have as a creative person is to think you know what you are doing. Once you think you know what you are doing you stop looking for other ways of doing things. You prevent yourself from seeing other possibilities that could have existed.
Bruce Lee famously said to "empty your mind". Emptying your mind is necessary in designing and creative thinking. To create beautiful designs there is a need to simply empty your mind of existing ideas and make space for new one to surface. There is a need to forget what you know and to think from a place where you haven't been before.