A few things I try to remind myself of when I’m working
Create with conviction, hear with humility
Compelling design depends on making brave decisions and seeing them through, but becoming better depends on recognising when we’re wrong. Seek to be proven wrong—not right—and remember that criticism is aimed not at you but at your work.
Make complexity meaningful
Accept and design for the natural complexity in ideas, workflows, and processes. Look for elegant ways to clarify that complexity instead of making ‘simple’ the goal. Don’t dumb down detail, make it meaningful.
See opportunities, not problems
Defining design as being ‘problem solving’ assumes there are definitive, right or wrong solutions. There aren’t. Set conventions aside and identify alternative ways of reaching the best possible outcome.
Keep asking ‘why’
Eagerness to tackle a perceived problem can mask the underlying root cause. Asking ‘why’ creates an important hurdle between you and the work: it frees you from established patterns and techniques, so that you can approach the work in unique ways.
Give process rigour
Getting paid to bring new ideas into existence is a privilege, but finding the best ideas requires rigour in your process. When the work feels easy, acknowledge that you’re wilfully ignoring the real complexity of what you’re doing.
Use data to guide, not govern
Data helps us ask better questions, highlight unseen patterns, and keep us grounded in reality. But decisions born purely of data and controlled by rational reasoning are a crutch for designers too afraid to be brave. Make data a guide, not a rule.
Be led by values
Articulating your values lets you measure what you say against what you do. It attracts others who’s values align with your own. That breeds trust, responsibility, and accountability — the tenets of a relationship where great work happens.
Start with people, not tech
Time is best spent considering what to design, not how to design it. Doing so demands human connection: accepting perspectives, recognising emotion, and withholding judgment. It means starting with people, then working backwards into technology.