Stop Worrying About People Stealing Your Ideas

Ideas: the germs that grow into those great, award-winning designs we all want to have our names attached to. We all get dozens of ideas constantly, which typically range from fairly good to amazingly good. Ideas are an abundant commodity that we all have, as creative people.

In fact, most designers have more ideas than they know what to do with. Yet, most jealously hide their ideas, paranoid that someone will “steal” them and do something that will undermine their own fame as a designer.

Today, we’re going to explore some important reasons why it’s stupid to worry about anyone potentially stealing your ideas.

Ideas Mean Nothing

First of all, success is 99% execution. The sweat and hard work that go into making a design a reality is really what matters – that’s the important part. Only 1% of success is the idea. Ideas are useless on their own. We all get them – they only mean something if you make them happen. You can have ideas that are sort of ‘blah’, and yet still dominate your field through hard work.

The good news is, people who steal others’ ideas don’t realize this. They think it’s the idea itself that is valuable. But the truth is, a mediocre idea executed well is worth a lot more than a great idea executed poorly. So, if you have good ideas, and you work hard to turn them into something, you can always generate more ideas and have success as a designer.

Telling People Gives You More Ideas

Sharing your ideas will usually foster the development of new ideas. If you’re creative, that is (which you are; why else would you be reading this?). The person you share your ideas with can give you an outside perspective and some much-needed feedback about whether your idea is actually as good as you think it is.

You can also brainstorm together with others to come up with a myriad of different ideas, each one stronger than the last.

If you only have one idea, though, that’s a bad sign. It’s important to avoid ‘one-itis’ or fixating on a single idea to the exclusion of all others. You might be completely convinced that that one, single idea is the end all, be all thing that’s going to make your career, but it probably isn’t.

Success is a culmination of the little things, the daily triumphs we make each time we complete a new project that we’re proud of. So go out there and make as much work as you can.

Provide Value to Others

When you share ideas, you help the entire design community. It’s important to give back to your fellow designers who might be struggling with the same issues you did once upon a time. I’m not saying you have to give away all of your “trade secrets” (although even that’s not as taboo as it used to be).

But talking out an idea and letting others transform it in their own unique ways can inspire you as well. You might see a completely different approach to an idea that you hadn’t considered before.

all ideas grow out of other ideas quote black white

Someone Else Probably Thought of It Anyway

Exactly what it says on the tin. Ideas occur simultaneously to different people all the time, often without them even knowing it. This is why some work can look strikingly similar without the designers even having heard of each other. Great minds think alike. That’s the reason you can’t legally copyright an idea. We humans are just too similar in our thought patterns.

The key is taking an idea that other people might have already explored and doing it in your own unique way, using your experiences and skills as a designer to put an unconventional spin on it. As the saying goes, everything has been done before, but not by you.

Finally, keep in mind that ideas are rarely stolen wholesale anyway. Usually, someone takes bits and pieces of ideas from various sources (or they should, anyway). As we saw earlier, everything is a remix – not a direct copy.

Very few designers who have any pride in their abilities at all will actually want to steal your idea entirely. Those are called hacks – they’re very easy to spot, and the design community doesn’t normally tolerate them for long.

The post Stop Worrying About People Stealing Your Ideas appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

Did you miss our previous article…

How WordPress Full Site Editing Could Impact the Design Process

The way we design and build WordPress themes is evolving. With the introduction of Full Site Editing (FSE), it is now possible to change every aspect of a site’s look and layout directly within the Gutenberg block editor.

Similar functionality has previously been available through the use of page builder plugins. It’s also something that the Customizer has long tried to address. But FSE provides a more cohesive experience.

Now, anyone with a block-enabled theme can perform everything from small style tweaks to massive layout overhauls. Additional plugins and coding skills are optional.

The potential impacts of this feature on the design process could be huge. Let’s take a look at what FSE brings to web design.

Building Prototypes in the Browser

For many designers, the process of building prototypes is completely separate from building the website itself. Tools such as Sketch, Figma, or Photoshop are used to create the look and layout. From there, client revisions are implemented and, once approved, it’s time to start on the theme.

With FSE, there’s an opportunity to move to a browser-based approach. Instead of having to translate a mockup into HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, the code is generated for us as we build. The mockup is a working website, rather than an abstract facsimile.

One can imagine the use of a block-based starter theme, which provides access to the basics of a typical website. The theme.json file can be used to configure default styles, which can then be tweaked within the Global Styles screen. Meanwhile, assets such as custom scripts and functionality are already in place – leaving a designer to focus more on crafting the perfect look.

This could lead to a more efficient workflow. In addition, stakeholders would get an accurate, real-time view of how a website works across multiple devices. And using the block editor eschews the need to dig into code to make design-related changes.

Like every other tool at our disposal, it’s in how we choose to use it. For some, browser-based prototyping could disrupt their creative flow. Others may see it as a major boost in productivity.

Faster Design = Less Creativity?

This approach isn’t without risk. It may lead to cutting corners and a certain sameness when it comes to design.

We’ve already seen this with some commercial theme frameworks. The same features and layouts are used ad nauseam. At worst, this might lead to designing based on convenience rather than need.

Access to theme templates via the block editor could, for example, disincentivize writing custom CSS. Instead of making an effort to create a unique look, the styles that are already available may be deemed as “good enough”.

There’s also the possibility of relying too much on the default styles that come bundled with various plugins or blocks. While some will blend into your existing theme, others require custom work to fit in.

The bottom line is that, just because Full Site Editing makes design faster, we still have to pay attention to the details.

WordPress Block Patterns

Adding Style Variations Through Child Themes

Child themes have been a part of WordPress for years. They offer a means of customizing the desired parts of a theme without the risk of losing them after an update. Update the parent theme, and the child stays intact.

FSE adds another layer, which could be useful in the design process. That is the ability to create style variations through child themes.

It involves making relevant changes to the child theme’s theme.json file. Justin Tadlock has a great write-up on the technique over at WP Tavern. There are plenty of possibilities here for web designers.

As it relates to our subject, this would allow designers to create multiple versions of a site’s design for stakeholders to consider. Switching designs is as simple as changing which child theme is active within WordPress.

Those variations could include any combination of custom color, typography, and layout. It’s great for projects where a client isn’t sure of what they want. In addition, websites that need a variety of design choices can make changes seamlessly.

These are all items that can be implemented alongside the initial design. And making such revisions in WordPress might be easier than trying to maintain multiple mockup files (which then have to be ported over to your theme).

The WordPress Themes screen

A New Way to Design for WordPress

While other content management systems offer some form of visual theme design, it’s only recently (as of version 5.9) come to WordPress. Thus, it’s a new workflow for designers who specialize in it.

Full Site Editing, like the Gutenberg block editor itself, has its quirks. It’s also in a constant state of change. New features are always right around the corner.

But even its early iterations point to changes in the web design process. For some, that could mean doing the bulk of their design work directly within a web browser. There’s great potential in terms of efficiency.

Yet, it’s also worth pointing out that FSE isn’t a requirement. The newly-termed “classic” WordPress themes still work just fine, as does the process for designing with them.

But if you’re ready for a change, FSE could be the tool you’ve been waiting for.

The post How WordPress Full Site Editing Could Impact the Design Process appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.