Each time I watch “Rams”, a documentary of Dieter Rams, something different gets stuck in my head.
This time was brief interaction at the very start of the film. A designer asks how he can propel his work beyond mediocracy. Rams’ response is simple: Find people whom you can collaborate, and to use this collaboration to move beyond mediocracy.
The shift in ability required to elevate your craft is something that often can’t happen alone. Collaborating is the most effective method to improve your work. Looking back, I can pinpoint exactly when and where my sense of design as a developer went from typical engineer to closer to a designer.
I was moonlighting and doing some work with a designer, who was also the lead on the project. I’d submit a revision and she she noticed immediately when my implementation wasn’t perfect. A section was a bit too tall, or a line off by a pixel. Through this back and forth, I began to catch things I didn’t before. My eyes began to see what she saw.
Before I was blind and, through collaboration, I could see.