design is in the details

today over at A List Apart, there's a great article on design being in the details. the graf on completeness deserves repeating:

Finish the design. Don’t miss a footer or a detail. Don’t say, “That’s to be filled in later—I didn’t have time.” Make the time. Don’t give any reason for others to torpedo the design or allow someone to fixate on a little detail—overshadowing the rest of the work. It’s these little details that deserve your attention. Creative directors, art directors, and especially clients will perseverate on details like this, so make sure the details are there.

i'm a fairly abstract thinker, and prone to missing details. there's a wall on my attic bedroom with a paint job that'd make a professional painter cringe with horror -- i didn't feel like trying to perch my not inconsiderable weight on a very narrow ledge, just to fill a half-inch gap. i looked at the 99% painted wall, and said, 'screw it, it's good enough.' i cook meals like this, which is why i'm a lousy baker -- if the recipe calls for baking something at 500 degrees for 50 minutes, at minute 45, i'll open the oven, look at it, and say, 'ehh, screw it, it's good enough.' hell, in my informal writing, like this blog, i tend to eschew the concept of capital letters, because it speeds my typing up by a full 30%. i'm all about getting things done faster, meeting deadlines, and not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

however, when it comes to presenting a design to a client, i do a 180°, and get insane about things like baseline grids, leading, trapping, and consistent capitalization. when they're bringing me comps to review, my designers leave my office, comps bleeding blue pencil or ink, from everything i've marked up. i'm their toughest critic, and i'm pretty sure there are not a few voodoo dolls in my image, out there.

if even i can suck it up and make sure the details are right, you should, too.

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