When we launched our playoff with Dribbble last month, we asked designers to share the most important lesson design had taught them over the years. From the zany and weird to downright inspirational, we received many amazing submissions from members of the Dribbble community. Some graphics were self-explanatory. Some required a detailed explanation. Either way, we gained amazing insight into what design teaches us every day.
To help us choose our winner, runners-up, and ten honourable mentions, we gathered together a panel of expert judges from Dribbble and Shopify. Each design was carefully considered for its creativity and originality, demonstration of technical skill, and popular vote. After much back and forth, we settled on the finalists.
Without further ado, here are the winners of the 2015 Shopify and Dribbble Design Contest!
Grand prize winner
DesignTaught.Me, by Brandon Harrison
Here’s what Brandon had to say about the inspiration behind his design:
I had a crazy idea yesterday evening when talking with Brandon Sager about what to do for rebounds. And it hit me...what if I could design and develop a responsive website for this competition over night? I literally felt my gut churn the minute the words came from my mouth. Was I crazy?! I had 8–12 hours to write, design, and develop this thing from nothing! But I did it!
Ladies and gentlemen, introducing designtaught.me.
Here's the behind-the-scenes screen capture if you want to see my 8-hour sprint condensed to 5 minutes:
I knew a blank canvas would be hard to deal with and potentially paralyzing, so I strictly limited myself to a color palette and only HTMLS/CSS (no images allowed). I also decided to add some extra hustle by trying something new — flexbox. Since this was just for fun and I was strapped for time, I had to drop my cross-browser concerns and just go with something that would look great in modern browsers.
Everything was coded by hand (no frameworks) minus the non-design bells and whistles via jquery, animate.css, scrollTo.js, wow.js, and jribbble. Is it perfect? Definitely not. But that's another thing design has taught me — celebrate progression and don't always stress perfection.
Congratulations, Brandon! As the winner of our Dribbble playoff, Brandon will take home our Grand Prize of $4,000 USD, one year of Dribbble Pro, and a creative collection pack which includes:
$50 gift card for A Book Apart
Five Simple Steps collection
Palette “Victionary” Series (No. 1; No. 4; Metallics)
1 Year subscription to cloud.typography.com
1 year subscription to Offscreen Mag
6 month Subscription to Monocle
Design Deck playing cards
$50 Credit to Creative Market
Some bookends to hold up all these new books and magazines
But wait there’s more! We also picked two runners-up.
Design taught me to listen, by Jonathan Howell
Design taught me to never quit searching, hard work, to never stop learning, and to always seek opportunity, by Brandon Sager.
Design taught me to explore, by Brook Wells
Design taught me to focus on the right audience, by Vanessa Colina
Design taught me perspective, by Ian Mortier
Design taught me to simplify, by Aaron Johnson
Design taught me how to be a risk-taker, by Shaysa Sidebottom
Design taught me “I yam what I yam” (or stick to my guns and be true to myself), by Schiani Ledo
Design taught me to fail often, by Scott Biersack
Design taught me divergent thinking, by Mitch Bartlett
Design taught me to understand humans: their emotions, values, cultures and the way they think, by Igor Izhik
Design taught me how to have a healthy design baby, by Nathan Yoder
Nathan's design comes with a bit of an explanation. Here it is in its full complexity and glory:
Design has taught me a lot of things but the biggest lesson by far has been the good o'l fashion lesson in relationships.
Here is what design taught me about how to have a healthy design baby:
Love At First Sight — If the client is just in it for your body (of work)... BIG red flags. And this goes both ways. Genuine, mutual, interest is key to getting things going.
First Impressions Are Huge — That first date is always going to be awkward. It's hard to avoid this but the key is confidence. You need to show the client you can take care of them. There are a lot of jerk designers out there who are only in this thing for a one night stand and the client knows this. You need to show the client that you're a committed kind of person.
Seek Feedback From Friends — No matter how good the first date went, it's always a good idea to do some research. Love is blind and while you have your head in the clouds, you may be overlooking key details that give away incompatibility. Never disregard the word on the street either.
The Follow Up Call — Don't be too eager! Give it a day or two before you follow up. You don't want to look needy! Confidence, my friends. It's all about confidence.
Communication — Once you've asked the client to be your partner, it's important to keep the communication up. You're only dating! They are free to leave at any moment if they feel neglected and, trust me, there are a lot of other really great designers out there who are single and very ready to mingle.
Marriage — Not many designers are interested in committing these days, but I very much encourage binding your relationship with a contract before kids are involved. It can get messy real quick otherwise.
Conception — This is a very important phase of the relationship. You can't do the client's job and the client can't do yours. It's always best to have the "birds and the bees" talk before conception of the design baby and not during this phase...please have it before. Phew, glad that one's over!
Labor Pains — While the baby is growing, there is a good chance that the client may acquire bizarre cravings for styles and colors that you've never dreamt of. There is also good chance that their emotional state may be very unstable, and they might get upset over very small issues. Keep your cool in these moments. It may not seem like you're doing much good at the time but later, when the client is in their right mind again, they'll remember the patience you showed them when they were being impractical. Be sure the client is getting what they need in this phase — it's crucial for the health of the design baby.
Delivery — Every client is different when it comes to delivery. A natural delivery is always recommended seeing as someone barging into your workspace can be very traumatic for both you and the design baby. Upon delivery, make sure that you properly swaddle the design baby. It may be a bit fussy at first but a few swats on the dropbox should move things along. Dress it in something cute, heck, put it in a pdf for all I care, but don't just throw it out into the world bare-bottomed. Take some nice photos of the design baby that both the client and yourself will be excited to share with family and friends.
Parenthood — If you signed up for the long haul, read some parenting books and always be there for your design baby but, more importantly, always be there for your client. You wouldn't have that design baby without the client so make sure you're keeping that flame alive. Both the design baby and yourself will benefit from a strong client relationship. If your client decides they want to wash their hands of you, make sure you give them everything the design baby needs to stay healthy. This could include notes for what colors it enjoys best, the fonts it likes to eat, and a safe proximity that it should keep between itself and other design babies.
And there you have it! This is what design has taught me.