Failing Your Way to Great Design

Benjamin Franklin once said, “I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.”

While Ben Franklin may have said this almost 250 years ago, I still maintain that, in this quote, he has encapsulated one of the key components to being successful in the world of creative web design.

I work for one of the world’s top internet marketing strategy companies and, in particular, I specialize in creative website design services. So I know a little bit about creative design and, even more so, I know about failing a hundred times and then a hundred more on the way to that one great design.

I still remember the day that I learned this lesson :

Early in my career I was having one of those days. I had spent nearly an hour stretching, flipping, rearranging, skewing, and removing pixels to no avail. My Creative Director, with years of experience (and plenty of awards to show for it), observed my struggles and offered me this simple suggestion:

“Try removing anything that isn’t working.”

My eyes scanned the pixel scrap yard that I had worked so hard to salvage over the past hour.

Certain that my potential as a Creative had just resigned, I began to delete the elements that didn’t work, leaving just the few I was certain of.

I learned something very important that day :

Only by cutting back your canvas to nothing, do you have the foundation upon which to build something great.