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Topic: Creativity

Catch a fire. Get inspired. Stay inspired. Developing creative processes, overcoming creative block, fighting inner demons, working with others. Facilitate great design. Cultivate artistic distance from your work. Harness the power of sketching and doodling. Learn to give and take design criticism (while banishing the inner critic that keeps you from getting anything done). Redesigning your own site.

  • Help! My Portfolio Sucks

    by Jeffrey Zeldman ·

    What if a lot of your past work reflects times when you satisfied the client, but couldn’t sell them on your best ideas? How do you build a portfolio out of choices you wouldn’t have made? Our very own Jeffrey Zeldman answers your toughest career questions.

  • How to Do What You Love, the Right Way

    by Rian van der Merwe ·

    You can find work where you do what you love, even without making a huge career zig-zag. Start now by doing what you love some of the time, and it will help you get to a place where you can do what you love most of the time.

  • The Politics of Feedback

    by Nishant Kothary ·

    We’re obsessive about collecting input from a wide range of potential users and stakeholders. But with such an onslaught of feedback, there’s always a risk of having your motivation and faith in humanity sucked right out of you. Sometimes, you just need calm critique from the few people who really get you. So which kind of feedback is best? The answer is both.

  • The Culinary Model of Web Design

    by Antoine Lefeuvre ·

    If you want to create a meal that nourishes and satisfies, and can even become a memorable experience, you hand-pick fresh, honest ingredients and combine them with care. It’s how the “mothers,” the great women chefs of Lyon, earned accolades and loyal customers—and it’s a great model for web design, too.

  • Work Life Imbalance

    by Rian van der Merwe ·

    Workspaces now include the comforts of home, and homes are filled with devices that connect us to work. It’s time to reconsider our enthusiasm for being available to deal with work any time, day or night. The balance we thought we’d find is tipped heavily toward productivity, to the detriment of exploration, inspiration, and regeneration.

  • Letter to a Junior Designer

    by Cennydd Bowles ·

    When you’re starting out in design you hunger to fix all the things. Your imagination and passion are boundless. So what turns a junior designer into a seasoned pro? It’s more than experience—it’s an ability to be in the moment and be a whole person.

  • Me and My Big Fat Ego

    by Laura Kalbag ·

    In a design project, there are usually areas where the client sees room for improvement—and that’s hard to take if your self-esteem is bound up with your work. You need confidence to present your work, but be sure to dial back the ego if it stands in the way of a successful client relationship.

  • Inspiration

    by Laura Kalbag ·

    In the design world, asking about one’s “inspiration” is often code for “where do you pinch your ideas from?” But the act of copying needn’t be wreathed in euphemisms: just like in art class, we learn by copying the work of the masters. The trick is using the experience to learn and then making the technique or pattern your own.

  • Good Taste Doesn’t Matter

    by Nishant Kothary ·

    Do we truly believe beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Or do we actually seek out some external standard of good taste in design (and then try to impose it whether it leads to the best solution or not)? We may be happier, and better designers, if we let go of that notion.

  • The Silent Subcontractor

    by Laura Kalbag ·

    Subcontracting for an agency can sometimes leave a freelance designer in the shadows, unable to talk directly with the client during the project, and unable to show their own work in their portfolio later.

  • A Moment to Breathe

    by Nick Cox · Issue 387 ·

    Burning both ends of the candle night after night, weekend after weekend, has long been part of web design and development culture. Especially in the startup subculture, we pride ourselves on working long hours with little sleep. It’s part of a new generation’s favorite myth—the one where we get in early in a company destined for an enormous IPO, work our little hearts out for a year or two, and end up rich and happy. The truth is rather less glamorous: the way we are working starves our prefrontal cortex, hurting not only our precious health, but also our productivity. Nick Cox shares the science behind the high cost of constant crisis mode, and explains how to strike a better balance.

  • The Monster Within Us

    by Nishant Kothary ·

    There's a monster within you and me—we all have it. It's driven by primitive needs and it's relentless, but—plot twist—it's trying to save your life. Only it doesn't understand what's going on and it can hijack your thinking and actions in an instant, making you a menace, or at least a jackass, to everyone around you. Scared yet? Fortunately, there's a great technique for keeping the monster at bay.

  • Defining a Vision: Making Sure Your Work Matters

    by Russ Starke · Issue 380 ·

    When an architect designs a structure, he or she can be fairly sure the work will endure for decades, maybe even centuries. Here on the web, we’re not so lucky. Knowing how temporary digital creations can be, how can we ensure our work matters? By defining the organization's vision. This isn’t just about solidifying a mission statement, though. Russ Starke shows you how to help organizations create a detailed story of their future success—and how that story can serve as a compass for both the company and its customers.

  • Getting to Flow

    by Breandán Knowlton · Issue 380 ·

    When design and client cultures truly come together, magical and memorable projects emerge. These magic projects aren’t random, though—they happen when you reach a state of flow. The beautiful part is, you can get both yourself and your client into a flow state more often by doing three things: enabling immediate feedback, balancing capability and challenge, and setting clear goals with visible progress. Breandán Knowlton shows you how.

  • It Is What It Is

    by Nishant Kothary ·

    One of my first managers — we shall call him Bob — had a saying that used to drive me nuts. To most of my complaints about workplace dysfunctions in our manager-employee one-on-ones, Bob would respond, “It is what it is.”

  • Hellish Other People

    by Cennydd Bowles ·

    Childish, inaccurate, bizarre, and condescending? Perhaps—but you can’t just ignore articles like that. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic’s Seven Rules for Managing Creative People sets lofty standards for missing the point. At its nadir—“Creatives enjoy making simple things complex, rather than vice versa”—it ranks among the most baffling things ever written about creativity.

  • Give a crap. Don’t give a fuck.

    by Karen McGrane ·

    How do you know if you're doing a good job? There's always an external way to measure quality—being prepared, attending to the details, listening to the collective wisdom about what it means to do good work. Give a crap about the little things, and you're good. What about doing a great job? There's no checklist, no guidelines that will get you there. Being great means being vulnerable; not giving a fuck about what other people think. It's harder than it sounds.

  • See What I Mean

    by Kevin Cheng · Issue 370 ·

    We’re pleased to share an excerpt from Kevin Cheng’s new book, See What I Mean: How to Use Comics to Communicate Ideas, available now from Rosenfeld Media.

  • Becoming Better Communicators

    by Inayaili de Leon · Issue 365 ·

    As designers, we already know how to communicate with users in a language they understand. Yet, we often don't do this when communicating with those whom our work requires us to talk to every day: our own colleagues. Inayaili de León shows us why—and how we can build the human relationships and shared vocabularies we need to get better at it.

  • Facilitating Great Design

    by Kevin M. Hoffman · Issue 354 ·

    Imagine the most fulfilling, collaborative design meeting you've ever had. Hours seemed to fly by, and those hours were productive. Political and mental barriers melted away and in their place were innovative ideas, or realistic solutions for complex problems. For several shining moments the team worked as one; the conversation or the activity was equally fun and productive, and you left the room feeling smart and empowered. It's highly likely that someone in that meeting was a facilitator, either by design or by accident. Kevin M. Hoffman leads us through what it takes to facilitate great design.

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