Is there a Point of No Return?

I’ve been struggling with something the last few weeks. I’m currently in the middle of redesigning the look for my site (and, by extension), my online presence in general, and, well, not to put too fine a point on it… I’m having a bit of a creative block.

I know, I’ve read the blog posts, twitter streams and facebook updates woefully talking about how you are your most difficult client, and how we need to impose deadlines on our personal work. And, from my experience, they’re absolutely right. I know this, because when I’m designing for someone else– be it when I was still employed full-time (BTW– I’m still looking *nudge, nudge*), or those times when I’ve done freelance  work– I can get things done. My creative output puts breeding rabbits to shame. I can come up with winning designs, execute them, get them approved by the boss/client, and released in a matter of a couple of hours.

Okay, maybe the rabbit reference was a bit much. But here’s the thing. When I start doing something for myself, whether it’s brainstorming a logo, redesigning the look of my site, or setting up a somewhat regular schedule for a blog, I simply get stuck. The muse (if there is one) goes on break.

Then I find myself weeks, or even months, later, with very little accomplished, and usually not a lot to show for it. So then, when I do revisit the work, I start to want to go in a different direction (instead of just refining what I already had), to try something new, because maybe the next time, the next idea will be that much better, and maybe even The One.

So, right now I’m taking what I already had, I’ve turned it on its side, shaken it around, found what I think worked already (in this case, a somewhat stricter adherence to a grid), and now I’m working on incorporating the new ideas (a heavier reliance on web-safe typography, rather than replacing text with images). My goal is to have this rolled out in the next 4 weeks. No, let me rephrase. I will have this rolled out in the next 4 weeks.

But the whole thing got me thinking about a bunch of things. Do you take one idea and see it through to completion before trying something else? Do you work with multiple concepts at the same time? Is one method better than the other?

Or, do you get to a point with an idea, or, in this case, a design, and just see it through to completion? More importantly– should you? Do we take that idea– the one we thought was The One— and tweak it, massage it, refine and polish into whatever it is it’s going to be? Or, do we look at it, write it off as unusable, and move on to a newer, shinier, model? Do we do both, and pit them against each other in an idea “Thunderdome”? Or neither, and we throw our arms up in defeat, grab a soda and plop down to reruns on cable, hoping the whole mess will work itself out in some weird passive-aggressive tantrum?

So, how have you dealt with this? Have you? Or, am I just over thinking things? I want to know what you think.

One thought on “Is there a Point of No Return?

  1. Websites are a constant changing thing. once you get it up, you will still find issues and disagreements with it. it happens. i think something you might want to step back and ask yourself is what are the site goals. in other words, minus the artwork, photos etc. what is it you want the user to do or get as soon as they hit your page. whats the call to action. what is it that you can ultimately do for them. whats the value you bring to the table.

    I know as a designer I tend to dwell more on what Id like to see and have the site do rather than what the visitor expects. alot of times we as designers assume the clients know what we do and how we can help them. Not always true. You need to sell yourself with a message in addition to the visual aspect.

    To a degree YOU are overthinking it. Take your designs to 10 other people, family friends, clients and ask them what they think. Very often you will find that they can offer valuable info. Let it go man.

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