Even the best writers work with editors. Even the best developers collaborate with one another to optimize their code. Why should you, as a designer, be so different?
Whether you’re reaching out to a colleague to hear their thoughts, asking for advice from a mentor, or simply speaking to a friend about something you’ve made, a second opinion can be extremely helpful. Asking for one doesn’t mean you’re admitting your work is flawed. It doesn’t mean you’ve done a poor job.
Rather, it means you’re invested in making your project as perfect as possible.
Firstly, a fresh set of eyes might see something you’ve missed. No matter how skilled or experienced you are, your opinion of your own work is not impartial. Everyone has blind spots.
“People seem to have no idea how biased they are,” explains Boston University Associate Professor Carey Morewedge. “This susceptibility to the bias blind spot appears to be pervasive, and is unrelated to people’s intelligence, self-esteem, and actual ability to make unbiased judgments and decisions.”
Morewedge has extensively studied psychological bias as it concerns judgment and decision-making. While his research might not be directly applicable to what we’re discussing here, it does present an important point. We all have our own biases – about politics, about society, and about our own work.
And often, we are blind to them.
Maybe you are hypercritical, with a tendency to see design flaws and mistakes where there are none. Maybe you have a habit of making the same minor design mistake on multiple projects without noticing. Maybe there are a few minor improvements that could be made, but you’re not aware of them.
Either way, someone who knows you (or at least knows your craft) can help you overcome these biases. Plus, if you’re collaborating with someone who works in the same field as you, they might even be able to share some creative input. You might be able to collaborate with them to come up with ideas and concepts you might never have dreamed up on your own.
As a designer, you have no reason to work in isolation. Art, at its core, is a naturally collaborative medium. There is neither harm nor shame in working with someone else.
More often than not, you’ll be able to make something together that’s far superior to anything you could make alone.