Design Cheating

When designing the upcoming (Not)Recipes app for Food52, I often find myself searching for solutions that other apps have figured out previously and working to combine those into our app. At first I felt guilty of not innovating or becoming too mundane, but a recent quote from an interview with Wilson Miner helped assuage my fears: > I think I overvalue “boring” design solutions relative to most other designers. And I don’t mean I value simple solutions – I think that’s pretty common – I mean boring: unexciting, nondescript, dull. I usually gravitate to and in teams often end up championing the most mundane solutions.

One of my favorite quotes about design is attributed to Charles Eames: “Innovate as a last resort. More horrors are done in the name of innovation than any other.”

I think it’s natural as designers to feel like reusing an existing solution is somehow cheating or more likely just a missed opportunity to show our skill. But in my experience the more “innovative” solution often brings more value to the designer than it does to the product or the end-user.

There is nothing more satisfying to me on a project than finding a fitting solution to a problem just lying around, integrating it as seamlessly as possible, and getting zero credit for it.

The whole QA on Quora is worth a read.