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Getting value from your design principles

Design principles are a tool and not a "vanity project". Make sure you're using them everyday as a way to validate and critique your design work.

I often hear mixed views on principles.

Some people feel that they are the bedrock of good design. Others feel that they are another corporate or strategic box to tick. A file that’s left somewhere in the depths of a hard drive slowly gathering dust.

I actually think that both these views are right.

“Strategic” work often falls into the same trap. More effort or emphasis is placed on creating strategy over implementing it.

“YAY! we have these cool new Design Principles Whoop Whoop. Good job everyone!”

Now what?

“Let’s file it on our hard drive under Brand/Design Principles, so we can refer to them.”

“No, let’s print these out on a fancy poster so other teams can see that we take Principles very seriously.”

This is all BULLSHIT.

Principles are a TOOL, they are part of your guidelines and they need to be actively used day to day.

Using your principles properly.

At your next review or critique, print out your principles on cards or write them down on Post-it notes.

Look at the design and review that work based on one of your principles.

That’s it!

The work we create everyday should embody the design principles we set ourselves. So let’s make sure we use them everyday.

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