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24 ways to impress your friends

Nine Things I've Learned


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Amen! Concise and well articulated, I agree on all points.

I have started taking it a little easier on those evening and weekend projects though, they can end up draining your energy.

Danny Barnes

Nice article to kickstart my Sunday. Point 1 is something that I’ve only just really started to realise, which is why I’m spending today working on some cool little projects. Cheers.


Good article. Especially points 3 and 4. I am still studying, but I want to start my own business soon. So these points really helped me out. thanks for sharing!

Yanay Zohar

In one single post, you have manage to articulate so many of the thoughts that I hold true, but maybe don’t stop often enough to think about, that all I can say is THANK YOU.

Definitely added to my “must follow” reading list.

Luke Jones

Excellent essay ‚Äď I’d go so far as to say it’s the best one I’ve read on <em>24 ways</em> this year. Points 3 and 4 both struck a chord for me.

Dave Ashenden

Thanks for the article, have to say I agree with pretty much all you have said. Particularly point 1, though this has made pricing harder. I find myself like a moth to the flame on interesting projects, but in reducing the price to get them I have sometimes deterred the client. It’s a tricky one to balance.

Shrinkhala Saxena

I’ve found these lessons applicable not only for design but also for life in general! Basically, all you wanted to say, may be, is a good designer needs to be a balanced human being first, a mature businessman next, and of course practice makes creativity work…Okay, may have got it entirely wrong, but thanks much for sharing the lessons learnt! We got some really useful points to learn ourselves. Kudos!

Fraser Hannah

Competing on your own terms and charging to stay motivated both resonate with me. There is so much competition in the web design field that we learned early on to chart our own course and not worry about what other people were doing. We havenít looked back, as we have a lot of self-confidence and belief. Its this self confidence that stops us being afraid to charge a rate for our work that keeps us motivated.

Stuart Robson

Thank you sharing with us these nine little nuggets of what you’ve learned over the years. Whilst reading this, most points have helped affirm things ‘going on in my head’.
Thank you.


Nice article Mike, thinking a lot about points 4 and 5. I can understand where you’re coming from with point 5 – and it completely resonates considering your designs always have very strong colour themes.

I guess it’s something I’ve been doing subconsciously anyway, but now you mention it I think I’ll be sticking to the limited colour palette rule more rigidly.


Thaks for sharing these little thoughts. Insights like this from someone’s experience is often the most valuable advice one can get.


Agreed on all points!

Just to add to the “Learning by Doing” point, I find it interesting how rarely people recommend having a stab at copying another (successful) design as part of the learning process.

I frequently see art students in museums, making sketches of artworks by the masters: why not do the same for web design? As a creative coder (rather than a graphic designer) I love trying to remake javascript widgets in pure CSS, just for the learning experience. You see little details, and get a fuller appreciation of the UI — in the same way I’m sure art students pick up knowledge of shading and brush stroke tips by trying to copy masterpieces.

When we’re learning, not everything has to be completely original. See for more!

Barnaby Walters

Some good tips. Whilst I agree completely that supplying more than one design is a waste of your time and the clients money, I prefer to involve the client in the design process, so it works as one long revision. I find this more productive than producing a design then showing it to a client.

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