Good vs. Great Design

In this video from LessConf3010, Cameron Moll gives a presentation breaking down “Good vs. Great Design”.

Each main slide he brought up showing examples of what makes the difference between simply producing work to making that work excel, hit me immediately. They seem so simple. He breaks them down in the video, but here they are:

Labor vs. Passion
Reduction vs. Organization
Influence vs. Inspiration
Creative Drive vs. Creative Pause
Solution Refining vs. Problem Defining 

“Influence vs. Inspiration” reminds me of the relationship between older and younger brother. Last week the Washington Post had a great article about newly added quarterback Donovan McNabb discussing the driving force behind his achievements growing up. He, too, had a source of influence that drove him to play sports, in his older brother Sean.

“I was always known as ‘Little Sean,’ ” McNabb says, “and that bothered me.… That’s something that gives you that extra push because you don’t always want to be recognized as 'Little anybody.’ ”

“I always wanted to be better than my brother. I wanted to make a name for myself.”

With a four-year advantage, Sean McNabb was always bigger, cooler, smarter and more athletic. To a young Donovan, his brother wasn’t someone to emulate. He was someone to beat.

Though Sean was his influence growing up, McNabb took that influence and turned it into inspiration – that is, to beat his brother in basketball, and all competitions.

As a part of the people designing for the web, we are all technically in competition with one another. But we are still able to be influenced by those before us, and those currently on the web, setting trends (even if the mere mention of a “trend” would make many designers cringe). The drive to be better than them, and be inspired by their work, in order to create our own “trends” and styles is what will set us apart down the line.

Download the presentation slides on Cameron’s website.