I’m often asked to comment on designs that have already been finished or are in the final phases of being finished. These are usually projects that are happening on the periphery of the network or by a company or firm that is mostly out of our control. But none the less, as the Art Director, I’m asked my opinion.
Often these designs are not what I’d like to see or what I would have done had I been involved in the process much earlier. So, providing feedback can be difficult. It’s very hard to correct a design that has wildly steered off course and evolved into something that I don’t personally see as “good design”. It requires a long list of “this doesn’t work” or “try this, then that” and it’s usually better to simply start over if possible. In fact, in trying to correct this type of design a person may actually be seen as “hard to work with” or “a difficult person to please”. But starting over is usually not an option so a Director is left to try and correct or steer the remaining design bits into a direction that is palatable.
Until now, it’s been very hard for me to communicate to outside groups who aren’t designers why I feel it’s usually better to start over. They tend to have a visceral reaction. After all, I just attacked their project - their baby. And we all know that design is a very personal & emotional process. But I think I finally have an answer to this type of situation.
Most people understand the game of Poker and how it works. Cards are dealt and after the first round of betting, players are asked if they’d like to discard anything and receive new ones. If you’ve ever tried to discard 4 out of the 5 cards you were originally dealt, you should understand this analogy. Most good players will tell you that if you don’t like 4 out of the 5 cards in your hand, you don’t want 4 new cards - you want to fold. And that’s what should be done with bad design. Not give a laundry list of items to try and fix it. Fold. And try a new hand.