I’ve studied the work of great designers from Stefan Sagmeister, Jessica Hische, Michael Beirut, Jony Ive and Louise Fili and found that all of them shared this one skill.
One trait they’ve cultivated well to elevate their work:
Their Obsessive Attention to detail.
Or what you may know as care for their craft.
Is being this obsessive a mental disorder or just pure dedication? Can this be learned? or is it innate?
I’ve been obsessed with this skill since I learned that this can be cultivated.
Here are a few exercises that I did and you can too to develop this great attention to detail:
- See things from the eyes of a child
Whenever I encounter something familiar, I try to look at it from the eyes of a child.
It fascinates me how a child sees the world. They see novelty in everything, they’re curious, they examine and they question.
Kids have an excellent inclination to see.
Their instinctive ability to see things that we don’t is because they question everything, They see things thru the beginner’s lens.
The old becomes new again, it becomes interesting.
- Think about how you can improve X
Never be satisfied with what you see around you. Great designers always ask questions like:
Why should it be like this? Why can’t it be like that?
How can I make this 1% better?
The moment you see that things can be improved, a new world opens up! You notice things.
Tiny things, seemingly irrelevant things and things you’d want to improve.
- Look Up — Perhaps the easiest thing to do: This means putting your phone in your pocket, and looking at the world around you.
A word of warning:
Developing this skill will may make you manic, and dissatisfied. You’ll get frustrated at everything. You even might get annoying to your partner.
But that thirst and drive is what separates the good from the great.
Is it worth it? I think so.
Shout out to Rob Walker’s Book and Newsletter Art of Noticing
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