Everything is designed. Few things are designed well." — Brian Reed
Developers try to learn multiple programming languages and tools. Just like any other skill, knowing how to design can be greatly beneficial, especially if you are a developer. Everything in this world is designed, and likewise, anything can be designed. Designers find patterns and colors everywhere they go, positioned systematically!
According to Barron (Designer at Replit) - “Design is about understanding how people see, use, and interact with things.” Nowadays things are becoming more digital, so making tools and sites which are easy to use is essential. It doesn't have to purely be visual; the way you organize a piece of writing, or how you style a programming language is also a design. If you want to create, for instance, an API that is easy to understand, developing it is also a form of design. A good design is important as it makes other people’s lives easier and the success of your product or business heavily depends on it.
Where to start?
The internet! On the internet we have all the resources/courses/answers available to us. We can learn anything in just a few clicks. You can open a figma file or create a repl on your tab and can get started! All we need is the determination to learn something.
Learn by doing, making and breaking things. You must know enough about design concepts to identify what's going on, and to properly apply it to your end product. Start from learning the fundamentals of designing – color, typography, hierarchy, spacing, etc. There are so many free courses available online on Youtube, Udemy, etc! Which you can benefit from, so be curious to learn! You can also check out Design Systems @ Replit to learn about what makes a design and design system better.
Display your ideas
“Design is intelligence made visible” — Alina Wheeler.
Designing will make it easier when you work with teams, and can help make things simpler to use. Design enhances communication with the consumer and developers. A picture is worth a thousand words. Draw your ideas when applicable: create layouts and wireframes, as it can help to avoid misunderstandings. You can use tools like Excalidraw or Miro to create the wireframes, I often use Replit’s draw feature which is inbuilt excalidraw!
If you find digital tools overwhelming with the abundance of features and options, don’t hesitate to go back to pen and paper. It’s fun to do things the old school way!
Creation and inspiration
"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." — Maya Angelou.
Designing can help you improve your creativity, but it’s okay not to feel creative all the time. We all have our ups and downs. The importance is to keep trying.
The key to learning how to be creative is by trying out lots of variations. Get inspired from places and people. Work on projects with friends or on your own, seek feedback from people you admire, try to break down/analyze popular products and designs, or look at examples of others' work. Keep trying!
Fear of Perfection
“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it” — Salvador Dali.
Nothing in this world is perfect. However, you can achieve excellence by practicing. Try not to be obsessed over making things perfect or the “right way”. You’ll figure it out along the way. Don’t overdo things, make your designs simple yet significant, and practice as much as possible. After all it's through mistakes that you actually grow, and remember to enjoy the process! Having fun is the best way to create amazing things.
Here are some cool resources which can be helpful for both Developers and Designers!
- Dribbble - A social network platform to post your designs and get inspired!
- Behance - A platform for presenting and discovering creative work.
- Design in the Real World - An amazing open source curriculum taught by Barron (Designer at Replit.)
- Replit - A platform not only appealing to coders and developers, but also to designers who want to share their projects! You can participate in the community to gain knowledge, learn from tutorials, or create from templates!
- UX Collective - An independent design publication built to help designers.
- Digitalsynopsis - A site which showcases the best ideas in design, advertising, and visual communication.
- Frontend Toolkit - A complete toolkit for front-end developers.
- Design+code - Courses about UI design, web and iOS development using Figma, CSS, React Hooks.
- Hype4Academy - Designer and developer tools for trends like Claymorphism, Neumorphism, or Glassmorphism.
- Meta mockups -A great list of high-quality devices for mockups. Includes a wide range of devices, from desktops to TVs to tablets to phones!
- Haikei - Generator for unique, customizable SVG backgrounds. Loads of patterns for any type of project.