Ira Glass has been haunting me for weeks.
I’ve been struggling with a design for a new project for weeks and weeks. It doesn’t really have a lot of images I could use, nor does it have any major typographical element I could make stand out, nor does it have a central hook that I could play with somehow. It just doesn’t have anything jumping out of the page. Yet, I know that if a better designer looked at the scattered piles of material, they’d come up with something amazing. I just know they would. They’d see something I’m not seeing and make it interesting, make it compelling. It would be great by virtue of its starkness if nothing else.
What you’re left with if you haven’t found that compelling angle to run with is something that’s just good enough. What you’re left doing is just gathering up all the content, styling it neatly with a tidy grid, using nice fonts and a nice subtle, tasteful background, with a nicely crafted menu, and then you sit about and secretly loathe it. You haven’t designed anything at this stage: you’ve cobbled something together. Using bits and pieces of your aesthetic and your style, you cobble. But you don’t design.
The same thing that makes something good enough is precisely the same thing that makes it crap. I really wish Ira had spent more time talking about how we get past this.