Kill Your Darlings

The phrase “kill your darlings”, frequently directed towards writers, can also be advised towards designers. During the design process, Joshua Brewer states that there is a “risk of emotional attachment.” This can come from the feeling of joy after solving a problem or simply from the amount of time poured into the design.

When this occurs, the designer loses the ability to be objective about their work. They see their creation as the one and only answer, creating bias towards the answer. The design you make might not actually be perfect.

However, he also says that emotional attachment might not always be bad. While a lack of attachment will cause the designer to be more objective when creating there work, the process of creating the “darling” is crucial to the overall process and it might lead to a better solution. Best case scenario: It actually is the right answer and others will think so too.

Coming up with true examples for “killing your darlings” is pretty difficult. Nearly every interface and homepage update contains some example of this which relates to “Don’t Make Me Think” as well. Simplicity and efficiency reign supreme over cluttered, unstructured design.

Good demonstration of title hierarchy and blocking.
Poor example of letting too many design choices clutter usability.

There is a distinct lack of differentiation between personal and public content. This detrimental to both people with large followings and people who follow a large amount of celebrities.

Example of not fully killing a concept, but rather building on it to find an end result.


UX Design Short – Kill Your Darlings

Redesign sample image

Visual Hierarchy, Information Architecture, and the new Snapchat Update