“I truly believe that design is all about style. It really is.”

As a kid I was extremely fascinated by the internet and would always try to use it as much as I possibly could. The younger generations wouldn’t really understand this, but back then the internet was limited, slow, expensive, and with little purpose. I would have to disconnect the phone line in order to ‘go online’, which always caused problems with my family. I would be lucky if I could use the internet for more than an hour each week. It was exclusive…a novelty if you wish.

Today it is a big part of my identity. And it will only get bigger.

When I think back, it’s hard to remember what exactly I would use the internet for. I very faintly remember looking for groups to chat with on mirc, searching for game cheats, and doing basic research. There was no Facebook, no Twitter, and MSN was still a new concept. Many of the things that make the internet what it is today did not exist yet, and most importantly, or to me at least, there was a missing design element. And design is important.

* * *

I truly believe that design is all about style. It really is.

This is not to say that practice is irrelevant, because IT IS NOT. It’s just that style and taste are what really makes a designer unique and stand out of the crowd. Unlike many other passions and professions where intense practice is all that is necessary to become the best of your craft, design is an art form, and as such, technical abilities can only take you so far.

Design is all about the individual and expression plays a big role in that. Its the cumulation of every single thing that person has seen and done from the very first moment they’ve opened their eyes up until that very moment. This is what develops style, and according to the person, they may or may not have a taste that is relevant to that of the design world.

At least that is what I think.

Now of course, technical abilities are necessary, and being able to combine this unique style with hours of practice and hard work is what I believe differentiates the average from the best. This is what makes a design classic.

We need more classic design.

* * *

Today, of course, I see things differently. You can literally connect to the internet from almost anywhere, it’s fast, cheap, and with a lot of purpose. There is a lot of emphasis on good design and many people goes as far as to make it a priority. Things are different now and I couldn’t be happier.

Why you may ask?

Because it gives me hope. It gives me hope of a future where every single aspect of the web will be designed beautifully right down to the smallest detail. It gives me hope that the kids of our generation will continue to be inspired by these improvements.

It will encourage them. And most importantly, allow them to develop a style of their own. Because well…

Design is Style.

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit.

Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile.

You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

— Ira Glass