Want to be a better designer? Commit to the habit of writing, and do it every single day. That’s the creative challenge Seth Godin—entrepreneur, marketer extraordinaire, best-selling author, and teacher—has for you.
“Everyone should have a blog, even if no one reads it, and you should blog every day,” Seth says. (His own blog—which, by the way, has a huge audience—is where he writes daily about marketing, design, and, in general, how being a better human will help you in the workplace).
Seth, whose written bestselling books on business and marketing, including Linchpin, Purple Cow, and The Dip, joined us to launch the fifth season of the Design Better Podcast. Throughout our conversation, he shared ideas for how to stand out, and make a difference, at a time when there are more designers than ever. His call to action is to think about how you can differentiate your craft from others.
Think about it this way: You could hire someone for cheap on the Internet to color correct images. So working on your craft of being a slightly better color corrector makes no sense whatsoever these days. The alternative is to get back to what drew you to design in the first place, which is solving interesting problems.
“If interesting problems could be solved using existing approaches, they wouldn’t be problems,” Seth says. Someone would have solved them already so that’s to say you need to find approaches that others haven’t yet tried.
One of his best tips to stay creative is to write. His suggestion? Prompt yourself to write on a daily basis, even if you do so under a pseudonym and even (maybe, especially) if you don’t consider yourself a wordsmith.
“The reason is simple: If you go to bed knowing you’ve got to write something when you wake up in the morning, it will become a productive opening for you,” Seth says.
The key to doing this creative exercise is to not be wishy-washy; take a firm stance and avoid the kind of writing you might read in a big name company’s design briefs that, more often than not, read like glorified mission statements. As an example, one of Seth’s recent blog posts is his take on why the idea of an elevator pitch is lousy. It’s short, to the point and direct.
The idea here? Be bold. Say something that someone else could take issue with. Make an assertion about the world and the change you’d like to make, and you’ll be more likely to follow through on your promise—and your designs will be better for it.
by Eli Woolery
Eli is the Director of Design Education at InVision. His design career spans both physical and digital products, and he is a lecturer in the Product Design program at Stanford University. You can find Eli on Medium or on Twitter.