A Natural History of a Design Project
This is not a universally true timeline of design projects. I am sure that somewhere, out there, there are designers who are planning every step of the project, never skipping a milestone and never spending sleepless nights towards the deadline. I have not met such a designer yet, but I haven’t met Bigfoot either, though there are strong proofs that it exists…
No, this text is for you, the designer who is spending time right now reading it, instead of working on your assignment. Be honest, you do have an assignment. But it’s Friday, so….
So let’s see how most of your projects usually progress, step by step.
1. Lazy Early Days
Wow, this project is really cool! You have a relaxed deadline, you got all the details worked up with the client. And it’s so simple that even your dog could do it (but you don’t have a dog). No need to panic, time to call all your friends and go out for beer, see a football match, catch up with each other and cuss out stupid clients. Life’s good. It’s great to be a freelancer.
You don’t even notice how time has passed. It’s been a week or two since you last talked with the client…probably two weeks. Your carefree days, however, are about to be over. Because here comes a day when you get an email from your client. He wants to know how his project is progressing. Any work in progress you could send him for some feedback.
Thus we move on to the second stage of your project….
2. The Moment of Panic
Holy tamales! You don’t have anything ready! Literally. You didn’t even create a project folder. You have the file where you wrote down all the details of the design project which you discussed with the client, but you can’t find it. You scour through your computer, smartphone, pockets and even the dirty laundry….Finally, you find the Notepad file somewhere in the same folder with your unpaid bills notifications.
Suddenly, the project doesn’t look so simple as it was at the beginning. You realize there is a lot of work to do and you only have…A FEW DAYS????
Yes, because it was a 3-week deadline, you wasted the first two weeks and now you’re wasting precious time running around like a headless chicken.
3. Getting Down to Work
You miss your warm, comfortable bed, although it is right next to you. But you can’t go to bed. For the last days and nights you have learned the sleeping and waking hours of all your neighbors, because you’ve been wide awake trying to finish the design project.
Your room looks like a fast-food battlefield: empty Coke cans and pizza boxes. You’ve started smoking again to curb down anxiety. Your coffee has no taste anymore. Your fingers are cramped and your eyes are bleary.
As time is ticking away, you make a resolution in your mind never to let this happen again. You are beyond tired. And sometimes you can’t even see the colors correctly. The pizza delivery boy starts looking concerned at the bearded, wild-haired creature and hopes you will not attempt to eat his brains.
You made it! The project was ready by the deadline (but just so). You can actually take a shower and shave. The neighbors meeting you in the street ask if you were on a trip last week. You smile politely and say yes, it was business related. They don’t need to know that it was a trip in the deepest pit of hell. But all is well now. Lesson learned.
Until the next project, that looks so simple, that you could take a well deserved break, meet up with friends, have some fun…
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