Results vs process: what's more important for designers

Results vs process: what's more important for designers
Photo by Fabrizio Conti

"Process without good results is a huge waste of time." is a phrase I hear quite often from designers. From the first glance, this is a bullet-proof statement. After all, we want to deliver solid results because other people hired us.

But the more I started to think about this statement, the more I realized that it was very controversial.

Design is a journey

Design is a process, a path you take when you want to travel from point A (initial expectations) to point B (outcome). When we think about point B, we skip the important part—the travel experience that takes us from A to B. We're living in the future where we have already created a solid design that everyone, including ourselves, is proud of.

When we constantly think about the future, our brain starts to think about events that might happen someday and ignores most of the things that actually happen at the moment. Plus, this way of thinking is very dangerous because we already created expectations that our product conquered the world and we're the best designers ever. There is no need to say what might happen when the reality is different from what's expected.

Relax your mind

"How do users/stakeholders respond to our design?"

"How will the market react to our business idea?"

"This is a race, and we need to win it!"

Here are just a few thoughts that I typically had when working on the projects. Most of them were created by my brain telling me that other people will judge my work, and I receive a reward (a portion of positive emotions) only if I do my job well.

The problem with this way of thinking is that you postpone the sense of joy till the very end of the project. Your brain becomes stressed and over-focused on tracking things that might not go as planned.

When you relax your mind and start to enjoy the process, you receive a significant achievement—you enter the state of flow. You will begin to live in the moment, and your attention will be focused on what you're doing right now, not on things you did in the past or things that might happen in the future. It gives you an essential sense of enjoyment and satisfaction in your daily activities and protects you from burnout.

The journey is more rewarding than the outcome itself.