A set of fresh eyes

Jun. 2022 · collaboration · 3 min

File fatigue

When spending too long on a project or a design, I’ve found myself tired, lacking creativity and less motivated. I call this phenomenon file fatigue. It’s important to recognize when a routine, rigid systems or processes prevent us from thinking outside the box or from doing our best work.

The solution

Designers by nature need novelty. Our industry is full of trends, and we are a curious bunch, always looking for the next thing, or the best way.

We need to kindle our creativity and inventiveness to keep design playful and push boundaries. Design is a collaborative effort, this is why design critiques are so important. I now try to get feedback from colleagues that don’t usually see my designs, in order to get as many different perspectives as possible. I’ve also had success in the past by occasionnally switching projects or responsibilities with teammates, for a few hours up to a few days. Done with regularity, we learned from each other’s ways, and after swapping projects, we also saw the quality of our design reviews sessions increase.

What about skill gaps?

Of course, not all projects or designs can be swapped. You have to take into consideration the experience of your team members as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

But even with an experience/skill gap, it’s an experience where both parties can learn something. A junior designer will be glad to be working on more complex tasks, and it can keep a more senior designer in touch with the craft, or at least a well deserved break.

Go ahead, have fun and switch seats!

Colin Olphand