Freelancing 101: Attention to Detail

Looking back to the original late night random internet surfing session that began this whole thing I am drawn again to Behavior Design‘s Lead and Visual designer job requirements. In fact, I think they are laid out so well that I would love to give some time on what each one means, and how you can incorporate it starting today.

What is this thing you call ‘Attention to Detail?’

This is the first quality that Behavior Design lists for their designers. That is because attention to detail is what separates the men from the boys; the heavy bikes from the rice burners; the Micro Machines from the not-the-real-things.

As any designer will tell you it’s the details that make or break a great design and the attention to those details that make or break a great designer. Paying attention to them requires just that: paying attention. Laziness will be your downfall.

In fact, taking a break from this article to peruse my RSS feeds I read this quite suitable quote thanks to Joshua’s Blog.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. — Aristotle

O.k. Moving on.

Look at your design and now ask yourself …. “Why?”

When I began getting my feet wet in the ocean of print design I had an established designer to help me out. I would send him my pathetic designs and he would tear them to shreds critique them.

He would point out the primary elements of my design and then ask me “why?”

I hated that question. “What do you mean, ‘why?’,” I would respond. “It looks cool. That’s why.”

If it doesn’t have a purpose perhaps it would be better to take it out. It’s amazing how many of my own designs I shoot down simply by looking at the elements and asking myself ‘why?’.

Lazy-shmazey. Go waaaay beyond.

The ultimate enemy of attention to detail is laziness, and laziness is a by-product of indifference.

Not taking the time to line up your text and triple checking your work before you send off a proof will make you look like a poor designer even if you’re not.

For example:
Even though the text comes directly from the client, I still spell check it. Because if a word is misspelled it may have been their error, but they’re reading it on top of my design. And that makes me the poorer for it.

Your client should only have to give you feedback based on opinions and updated information. If you’re good, they will rarely have to point out any obvious mistakes – yours or theirs.

[This article is part of the Freelancing 101 Series]

Freelancing 101: Attention to Detail