Told in movie quotes because lets be honest, who doesn’t love a good movie quote set in a banging typeface. I’m a freelancing digital designer and these are the lessons I’ve learnt over the years. I’ve worked with a wide range of clients, some small some not so small. But with each client has come a fresh set of obstacles. That’s why I try and stick to a simple set of dos and do nots. They help me to deliver designs that achieve big results and plenty of smiles.

I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse – The Godfather

1. Give the user what they want
Put yourself in the shoes of your user, do a bit of method acting if it helps. It will allow you to understand what actions the user is going to take and what they’re going to expect from the design of your interface. You need to make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Sixty percent of the time it works every time - Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

2. Do your research
While wearing the shoes of your user, create some style boards. Look at typography, colour, layout, UI elements and anything else that will be used in your design. It allows you to get a taste of the direction of the interface without having to push a single pixel in Photoshop. It’s also great for giving clients a whiff of what to expect in the design phase.

We’re gonna need a bigger boat – Jaws

3. Shape the content
Designer, “They broke my bloody design!”. No, you broke their content. Work with your clients to find solutions that enable them to produce content that exceeds user expectation. It could mean a spot of art directing to source imagery, produce copy or even commission a short animation. Consider different options for different devices, user groups and platforms. Don’t let the content break your boat, let it keep you afloat instead.

It’s like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black – This Is Spinal Tap

4. Do not follow trends
Trends go out of fashion. If you happen to produce a design that matches a current trend, great. Just keep your idea original cos’ that will never go out of fashion. It’s always best to design a trend than to simply follow one.

Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads – Back To The Future

5. Design for tomorrow
Not for Windows 95’. Mobile web browsing will surpass desktop browsing very, very soon. Focus on designing for browsers of today and screens of tomorrow. If a user is browsing the web in IE6, then they’re used to seeing the web look a bit shit. It’s OK not to worry about them, it really is. One day they’ll upgrade and BOOM your site will be looking as fresh as ever.