Design Tutorials

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Great Designer (Part 3 of 3)

Hone your soft skills and get beyond pixel-pushing

Jon Moore
Modus
Published in
6 min readMay 31, 2019

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Illustration: Timo Kuilder

Note: This entire article is tool agnostic. That is, it doesn’t matter if you use Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD, or Microsoft Paint, these tips will help you.

TThis is the final installment of our three-part series for becoming a great designer. Part 1 and Part 2 have put you on the path toward becoming a master of tactical design execution.

We’ll end this guide by discussing the more strategic side of design and ways you can extend your design prowess outside of pixel-pushing.

Before we start, click here to check out my design system for Figma!

9. Design less

This may seem counterintuitive because, well, you’re a designer, right?

Junior designers tend to design a lot. And I mean A LOT. If you look at their design files, you’ll see dozens upon dozens of artboards of what we’ll call “design experiments” — that is, iterations on the same design pattern in an attempt to zero in on a final version.

Iterations are part of the process!

This isn’t inherently bad; experimentation and iteration are fundamental to the design process. But as you become more senior, you’ll start making more of these decisions in your head before ever opening a design tool, because you’ll know which patterns work and which ones don’t. This will only come through repetition and practice, so study your designs and make note of their successes and failures. Sooner or later you’ll internalize these decisions without needing to actually see them in pixels, giving you the freedom to assess even more potential solutions.

As you progress in your career, you may participate more in the ideation and solution-forming process than in the execution phase. Your value to your organization will tip away from pixels and toward the ingenuity you bring to the table. At that point, it’ll be your design intentions that matter most; pixels will simply be a…

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Jon Moore
Modus
Writer for

Principal Product Designer at Salesforce