Behind great products

Behind great products

Lately, I needed to come up with some top level principles for the product I’m currently working on. I seek for some simple yet powerful concepts that will guide our team design decisions and break stalemates in discussions. For the first step, I decided to look around to see what others come up with. Through a miracle of time, I bring together this compilation, that should be useful for those who face the same challenge.

But first, I found that there are some misleading concepts what are design principles itself, so let me take a quick dive into the topic.


The range of principles

If you try to google “Design Principles” you most likely run into some basic rules of graphic design: proximity, balance, contrast, space, etc. Things that good designers usually familiar with, or, most likely, know inside out.

The next huge part is principles of a rational design process. It’s a set of concepts that makes you a true professional who’s able to provide an excellent design with great efficiency. Applying these principles to the whole team sets a bar of standards that new employees should match or reach in the short term. Let’s take a look at the GOV.UK Design Principles.

The list seems reasonable, but what I think is that such things are an industrial standard by now. Everybody design with data, and everybody tries to understands context. I believe that if you choose design principles for your team, you should pick some that are groundbreaking and challenge your team to go further.

Some teams put their principles online, and I regularly bump into some statements which sound like “be human” or “be communicative.” I hold a firm belief that such shit isn’t worth to be hanging on a wall unless your team is full of insensitive silent jerks and you want to change that fact. Why did you hire them in the first place?

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