• Devin HalladayDevin Halladay, over 8 years ago

    It's hard to overcome stagnation like that. The best advice I can give you is to try to learn something new about your craft every single day. Read blog posts, subscribe to newsletters, follow industry leaders and newcomers alike—all of these things can teach you something new.

    Aside from learning, I would suggest finding an app you really enjoy that you think could be improved, and write a short case study on how you might go about improving it. Design those improvements on your own and explain why you made the decisions that led to them. This doesn't need to be a large, unsolicited redesign of an existing app or website—in fact, I'd advise against going in that direction. On the contrary, what this practice will do is allow you to spot pressure points in existing designs, how to spot and harness nuance to design something great, and how to keep aesthetics within an app consistently wonderful. It may take a lot of these exercises for you to learn a lot, but each one teaches you a few new things about design and thinking creatively.

    I'd also suggest experimenting a lot. Try new techniques, explore new media, and apply knowledge of your current craft to the exploration of a new craft. For example, I always thought of myself as a web designer up until about two years ago. Then I decided to experiment with branding, then with poster design, then with editorial design, and the list goes on. Now, because I experimented with new media, new areas of my craft, and new techniques, I have a much broader and more well-rounded body of work.

    The last thing I'll leave you with is that I think it's important to design a lot of things. It doesn't matter what you design (as long as you're doing it for yourself and not a client). Nobody ever has to see these things. Some of them might be terrible, ugly, and ineffective—in fact, most of them probably will—but that's 100% okay. This will teach you about iterating, about researching, about trying new things and taking new risks. It'll teach you one important lesson above everything else: that failure is part of the process, and you need to keep overcoming it to create something better.

    3 points