Here I am, after many lessons, black coffees, and hours of sub-par banter.
As I approach the 1-year mark since joining the N4 crew, I thought it’d be a great time to reflect on the things I’ve learnt whilst working as a designer in the industry and the personal lessons I never pictured learning throughout this journey.
For those who don’t know me
My name is Scott Jowsey, and I’m a User Experience / User Interface (UX/UI) Designer at N4. I’m a recent Design graduate from Victoria University and an avid lover of all things sport, food, and music. As a designer working at N4, my role consists of designing digital products for people and creating tailored experiences to address problems faced in their everyday lives.
Stuff I’ve learnt as a designer
Keep it simple, stupid.
K.I.S.S. Translation: Keep it simple, stupid. Creatively, we as humans tend to overthink and complicate the things we create. As the creative visionary Dieter Rams once said, “Good design is little design”, and products should “concentrate on the essential aspects, and not be burdened with non-essentials.”
When designing products that cater for human needs, emphasis needs to be placed on simplicity and making the design as usable as possible. Adapting this philosophy when designing for clients has been a massive learning curve and something that I still struggle to grasp.
Don’t take criticism personally. Instead, embrace it with open arms.
Okay, okay, disclaimer: this is something that continues to plague me. But I’m getting better at it.
Receiving harsh feedback on work that you’ve spent hours producing can be a super demoralising experience, period. But all I can say is - it’s not you, it's the design. So don’t take the feedback to heart.
For myself, I learnt to embrace feedback instead and feel content, knowing that it’s going to make the overall design better and improve the experience for users interacting with the product.
There’s more to a great website than looking good.
While studying at university, emphasis was placed on designing beautiful and easy-to-use products and less on the underlying factors that make great websites – those being; copywriting and marketing.
Copy’s power is second to none. It can single-handedly define the feeling of a brand through the choice of a few simple words. And with brand stories becoming ever more present today, the importance for companies to have their tone and voice down pat is ultimately just as critical as the product or service they’re offering in the first place.
Marketing is just as powerful. The ability to receive site users and gain conversions doesn’t just magically happen. It requires extensive research about target customers and strategies to ensure the right people receive the right information at the right time.
Without these two fundamental elements, the great-looking website you’ve created will simply never get the attention it deserves. This was a key lesson I learnt at the start of joining N4 and is something I still factor in every day.
Stuff I’ve learnt outside of being a designer
Having a quality work/life balance is key.
Over this past year, I’ve learnt that a healthy work/life balance is paramount to my everyday life. Having this balance ensures I’m in the right mindset creatively and enables me to produce high-quality work our clients are proud to show off.
Three things I do outside of work to maintain this balance:
Regular exercise (4+ times a week).
Maintain a regular sleep pattern (6-8 hours a night for most, but 8+ for me).
This all seems easy to manage on paper, but realistically, this lifestyle is far too regimented for a Gen Zer like myself (especially the healthy eating part). A couple of ways I’ve overcome this is by booking specific time to exercise each day and partaking in exercise-related activities with friends. These approaches hold me accountable and keep me active on those not-so-great days.
Coffee has taken over my life, and I have every right to blame Jono for this. Before joining the N4 team, I hardly knew anything about coffee. My involvement with coffee was so minimal that I believed mochas were a great option (see proof here). They’re not.
Now, I can’t function properly without at least one coffee a day. I’m also happy to check in and let you know I choose long blacks. I’ve become an avid long-black drinker who’s constantly persuaded by the daily “anyone want a coffee?” calls echoed throughout the office.
All in all, I’m grateful
As a year passes on my tenure at N4, it’s been a great time to reflect and share my learnings as a young designer fresh out of University.
I’ve learnt to embrace client feedback, design with simplicity in mind, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and to just give in to my undeniable coffee addiction – it’s not going anywhere. However, above all these learnings, the most important to discover was that becoming a designer was the best decision I ever made. Working at N4 was the best thing to happen to me.
The team around me are uber-talented, drive me to create the best work I can, and provide sub-par banter along the way. All in all, I’m super grateful for the opportunity I have here, and I’m excited to see what the next 12 months at N4 will bring.
For the creatives:
Do you like to make cool shit? Do you like being challenged? And what about watching sports? If you answered yes to the above, we’d probably get on. And you should probably join. Submit an application to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do it.