Good design matters.

I hate to sound like an Apple fangirl, but, when I think about good design, Apple products spring immediately to mind. Say what you will about the hardware, about the corporation, about Steve Jobs; the products that Apple releases are designed with extraordinary attention to detail. I finally started reading Jobs’s autobiography, and design—appropriately, given the Jobs’s focus on it—features prominently throughout the text. Based on my reading, it appears that my design philosophy shares some commonalities with Jobs’s design philosophy.

Steve Jobs believed in designing every part of the product, from the user interface to the physical item to the item’s packaging. Taking a page from his father’s book, Jobs even cared about the look of the parts you couldn’t see. He believed that good design was simple, that it included only the essentials.

I think simplicity is one of the keys to good design. There is a time and a place to dress things up, and I believe in making something your own, but I think the most beautiful design is clean and simple, accessible and intuitive.

I’m going to try to keep these ideas in mind as I practice design in graduate school. As someone who worked for a web start-up for a year and who participated in a full redesign of the site during that time, I’ve seen the importance of good design in action. At the end of the day, a bad design decision can break a company. Even if I don’t end up in a job as a professional designer, I know that understanding design is essential to success on the web.

As I practice, I’ll be studying up on design, and I’ll be collecting design inspiration from all over the web. When it comes to the ideas behind design, I like Smashing Magazine and A List Apart. For my inspiration, though, I look all over the place: Pinterest and Tumblr are my mainstays, but I also love Jasmine Star photography, Pioneer Woman photography, and, from time to time, DeviantArt. I collect inspiration from all over the Internet, really; between Tumblr and Pinterest, it’s easier than ever to collect any random bits of inspiration I happen across in my browsing.

I’m excited about the more formal approach to design education that UF is going to offer me over the next few semesters, and I’m excited to build on the experience I’ve gained thus far. I’ll be documenting my progress in and out of class right here on this blog. I hope you’ll stick with me through it all.

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