San Francisco, California

The Boring Designer

I love this post by Cap Watkins on the traits and values of the boring designer:

The boring designer realizes that the glory isn’t in putting their personal stamp on everything they touch. In fact, most of the time, it’s about leaving no trace of themselves. The boring designer loves consistency. The boring designer loves a style guide. They love not having to worry about choosing the wrong blue or accidentally introducing a new pattern. They pick and choose the right moments to upgrade or update existing laziness-promoting tools, but are open to being persuaded not to do so (see the “Rarely stand their ground” section). If no laziness-promoting tools exist, the boring designer temporarily allows themselves to be super-exciting so they can create those tools and go back to being boring once more.

I think this is the perfect way to describe my own work. I really don’t care about making a big spectacle – I just want to make valuable things. And often that means making the interface less special, less flashy, and less memorable.


“Delight” is my least favorite word when it comes to evaluating a design. I believe it relegates designers to the realm of pixel pushers and artists. Design ought to provide value, first and foremost, and not delight.


One of the most incredible UIs I’ve stumbled upon lately is Apex Legends, the new free to play battle-royale FPS that’s all the rage with the teens. And the UI is brilliant because it doesn’t let anything else get in my way of the fun; it has a timer that limits other people’s character selection, it’s insanely fast loading, and removes all the junk and crap between me and playing a dang game.

The speed, the UI, the gameplay physics and character design all add up to something much bigger than the sum of their parts – what this game really shows us though is that great things are possible with unwavering team focus.