Stepping Back

It’s said that design is in the details. Yet it’s the sum total of the details that makes the design. When you’re in the middle of something, you can’t see the whole thing altogether. It’s only when you step back far enough that you see its entirety. When you can see the whole, say, from the “30,000 ft. level”, you become aware of patterns, anomalies, structures, contexts and overall design.

Try these simple techniques for getting a new perspective on your work-in-progress:
  • Take a break. Walk away from your computer or drafting table and do something entirely different for a few hours.
  • Look at the work upside down or in a mirror. Rotation and reflection changes the orientation brings a fresh perspective, literally.
  • Take a picture  with your camera phone. Seeing your work in miniature on the phone’s display gives a sort of 30,o00-ft level view.

Zoom in on your design and then zoom out. Reflect and evaluate before calling it finished.

What are some ways you refresh your point of view while developing design or art?

Alvalyn Lundgren

Alvalyn Lundgren is the founder and principal of Alvalyn Creative, an independent consultancy providing brand strategy design and bespoke illustration for more than 30 years. She is the creator of Freelance Road Trip — a business school and podcast for creative freelancers. She teaches design and design practice on the college level with design schools and programs.