Benjamin Kowalski

Benjamin Kowalski

San Francisco, CA Senior Product Designer @DoorDash Joined about 10 years ago via an invitation from Jibran K. Benjamin has invited rob schellenberg

  • 32 stories
  • Posted to Men of DesignerNews, in reply to Ire Aderinokun , Apr 07, 2016

    This guy gets it.

    9 points
  • Posted to Ask DN: I can't move past amateur. How do I effectively teach myself product design?, in reply to John Mason , Aug 05, 2015

    Making more products is definitely good advice, however making without any kind of feedback/validation is not worth it. You need to find a mentor you respect, or a group of other designers you respect, people who have time to look, listen to your rationale, and give executable feedback on a regular basis.

    Also, I personally do believe you need to learn graphic design if you want to be a better designer. Graphic design handles the roots of typography, grid, layout, communication techniques, and so much more. You'll only ever be as good as what you can know from the web if you continue on your current path. However, if you look to the past, learn from design history, you'll definitely progress. It's hard to listen to someone else tell you not to do that when they themselves have not done it.

    I've been educated formally in design/art/history and wouldn't trade that back for the world. I'm a more well-rounded holistic thinker because of it.

    Visually you'll get better if you learn more about why typography works the way it does across all medium. Same goes with color, scale, texture, hierarchy, etc.

    Redesigning other ideas, or making up your own will only get you so far, which it sounds like you've reached that point. Work to round out your education, graphic design is the best place to start. There is a great number of book lists on that site, of which many are fantastic.

    Best of luck with your continued education. Don't get caught up on dribbble, most of that work is shown without context and is rarely executed upon.

    2 points
  • Posted to Site Design: A Dream Undone, Jul 31, 2015

    Nice post mate!

    1 point
  • Posted to Ask DN: What do you use to Spec your designs?, May 28, 2015

    Zeplin is still in beta but it looks like it might be a good tool in the hopefully nearish future.

    8 points
  • Posted to NeuBible 1.1 is now free—and adds Timeline, Smart Highlights & More, May 15, 2015

    I think ignoring the fact that this is a religious text is more exciting because you get to look at the presentation of a dense book as an app. It's a great exploration in hierarchy and organization. Having a reading experience like this for every novel offered through the kindle app would make the reading experience of all longer texts more exciting to read the first time and revisit again later.

    3 points
  • Posted to The Future of Design in Technology, May 13, 2015

    My critical response:

    1 point
  • Posted to OnTheGrid podcast talks to Eli Schiff, author of "The Fall of the Designer", in reply to Matt McInerney , May 13, 2015

    Don't succumb to those who don't want to give serious thought to serious topics! Even busy people can find the time if they are seriously interested. I listened to half on my commute to work and half while eating lunch.

    1 point
  • Posted to OnTheGrid podcast talks to Eli Schiff, author of "The Fall of the Designer", in reply to Sacha Greif , May 12, 2015

    OnTheGrid is probably the best podcast (in my opinion) being made about design and related issues today. This is a long episode because it's discussing 5 essays of in depth writing on a complicated subject.

    Serious discussions take time and commitment. It's a great episode and I recommend taking the time to learn from it.

    8 points
  • Posted to Fall of the Designer Part III: Conformist Responsive Design, Apr 21, 2015

    With each article I tend to agree there is a bit of homogeneous design fad stuff happening. It's obvious. Looking at app websites, studio websites, etc. leads to a pattern because they usually convert to downloads, sales, calls, etc. very well. It's an unfortunate symptom of our "5-sec" generation where you've got 5 seconds to get someone informed and interested.

    Within apps there are patterns that test better than others. However, as shown in my attached picture, many designers today just leave designs 'incomplete.' They follow the patterns, use trendy colors, get a nice layout, but then don't follow through to polish and add detail. I think this shows a lack of professionalism in a lot of designers today. Bootcamp programs, that I know of, don't focus on the finishing details. So much focus is put on research, testing, wireframing, flows, etc. that students are left without details. As Eames said "Details are not the details, details are the design." I think this is the most relevant quote for how our digital design industry works today.

    I don't think we need to look back at Skeuomorphism as the answer. I think studying those interfaces is relevant and they deserve to be looked at. But minimizing distracting amounts of detail (pixel perfect leather texture), paired with user-friendly architectural mobile patterns, and design polish (yes shadows can be good, so can subtle texture) will lead our current designs in to a better place.

    Looking at all of the examples he references, it's only a collection of people who've repeated one another. There are many that don't follow those layouts, are far more complex and compelling, but perhaps at the end of the day less user-friendly. A balance will be found, but criticizing the status quo is always welcomed.

    Types of Design Image

    6 points
  • Posted to Site Design: Design Matters , in reply to Cody Iddings , Mar 31, 2015

    If your philosophy is to focus on the dynamism of the imagery why not move the typography to an entirely different location? Essentially you're putting unreadable and distracting text on top of the important page element according to the dribbble response.

    0 points
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