Ever gotten to a point in your design journey where you get stuck on a project for hours merely because you have been searching for the right font to use or the right color combination? I bet you have. I have too. As a designer seeking growth, there is constant pressure, even from within to produce a much better design than the previous. While this is necessary to keep you on your toes, it results in ANALYSIS PARALYSIS — an issue you might not know exists.
Analysis paralysis, in plain terms, refers to a situation in which an individual or group is unable to move forward with a decision as a result of over-analysis or overthinking.
It spans various fields like sports, software development, government, companies and businesses and even in our daily activities. My focus here is on design.
In this creative field, the number of available options tends to increase as one gains experience or expertise, so also considerations that appear at every decision point, say, for that onboarding screen, you could picture a greater number of concepts than a beginner in the field.
CONSEQUENCES OF ANALYSIS PARALYSIS
- Unmet deadlines — You spend an inordinate amount of time and run the risk of exceeding the project deadline.
- You could churn out deliverables that are either too detailed or difficult for clients to understand.
- You lose money because time is money.
CAUSES AND SOLUTIONS
- Information overload: Trim down the brief. Get references, mood boards to serve as a blueprint. Once you have these, there’d be fewer decisions to make.
- Over-analysis: The designer strives to complete the analysis phase. There’s no harm in jumping to your PC then back to your notepad to refine your ideas. Go with your instincts (sometimes the first idea is the best idea) but also be discerning in doing this lest you become ‘extinct by instinct’. Check out my post on the creative process.
- Striving to achieve perfection: Understand that the satisfaction of clients is the ultimate goal. There is a level to design beyond which the client cannot see (unless you make them).
- Inadequate planning in form of research: As much as over-analysis is a culprit, under-analysis is no better. Do a proper research to make sure you fully understand the brief/project. It might mean reading up an article relating to the project, watching a movie, whatever.
- Lack of confidence: Be confident in yourself. You’re your biggest fan!
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN ANALYSIS IS ENOUGH?
You don’t. It is difficult to judge when you’ve done enough analysis. The truth is that your design will never be perfect; there will always be one tiny detail you forgot to include or didn’t think was necessary — that shadow, highlight, effect, etc. Once you get past the fallacy that perfection can be achieved you can then get into the zone of focusing on the objectives of the project.
BREAK THE CYCLE. DO THESE THINGS.
- Understand design principles and stick to them — Your design would look pretty decent even at its barest. This is why I insist on starting with design basics when people approach me to teach them.
- Focus on completing the work. Don’t stop midway. If you are unsure about an element, it’s color, form or placement, move on to the next. When the design is done, you could always review it. Who knows? It might just turn out fine 🤷🏽♂️.
- Make use of project timers (set a deadline for yourself). This works for me, all the time 😎.
- Get help. Get the opinion of trusted people.
- Be confident in your skills.
- Make templates in your spare time.
- Be organized, declutter your space.
All these processes have worked for me one time or the other. You can cycle between these steps and more, find out what works for you and stick to it. There’s no such thing as the best workflow, the best technique, the best tool, the best process… There is only what works and what doesn’t.
Originally published at http://davozblog.com.