Lessons Learned from My Previous Design Projects

When you review your portfolio, what do you see? Perhaps it brings back memories of challenges or difficult clients. Maybe you cringe at the sight of outdated designs or obsolete technology. I understand.

Throughout my career, I’ve had my fair share of successes and failures. Looking back at my old projects used to make me feel embarrassed. However, over time, I’ve gained a new perspective.

Every project, even those that didn’t have a positive outcome, offers a valuable learning experience. With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my past work.

Here are a few takeaways from revisiting my old projects that made me realize they weren’t so bad after all:

1. Code Is More Resilient Than You Think: Retrofitting old websites for mobile devices was a daunting task. However, I discovered that converting table-based HTML layouts to CSS was surprisingly manageable. This demonstrates the resilience of HTML and CSS and the possibility of salvaging elements from older websites.

2. Typography Isn’t an Afterthought: In the past, limited font options led me to make poor decisions regarding font size and line height. I prioritized aesthetics over legibility. However, I’ve come to understand the importance of legible typography and its role in accessibility.

3. Creativity Can (Still) Solve Problems: In the early days of web design, using hacks and workarounds was common practice. While these methods may not have been ideal, they were driven by the goal of making websites accessible to a wide range of users. Today, we have tools to solve design challenges creatively, and harnessing that creative energy can overcome any obstacle.

4. Clients Require Guidance for Best Results: Initially, I treated client meetings like taking orders at a restaurant, simply delivering what they wanted. However, I’ve learned that positive outcomes require a solid plan, and it’s our responsibility as web designers to provide guidance and keep clients informed.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Change: Change can be intimidating, but looking back at my portfolio, I realized that my fears were unfounded. Embracing new technologies and skills has allowed me to evolve as a designer and stay current with industry trends.

By retracing your steps as a web designer and revisiting your old projects, you can gain valuable insights into your growth and development. You may be surprised at how far you’ve come and how you’ve applied those lessons to your current work.