A lesson learnt about design from card making


3 min read

I took up card making as a hobby years ago, partly because buying cards in shops always seemed so expensive and it was hard to find any I liked. And partly because it looked fun. I like a hobby that's creative and useful.

The lesson I learnt is: less is more.

When I make cards I find a good-looking sticker or print out a picture related to the recipient's interests, slap it in the middle of a the card and put a Happy Birthday sticker on the top.

It looks basic, maybe even bare. But most people are excited to get a card that relates to something they like and have no idea how to make cards and think you're a genius/have taken ages on it. It does the job it needs to, they're happy.

You could make that design better, but you can also make it worse. Very easily. By slapping more stickers on.

Maybe it would look better with some stars in the corners. And it's still looking bare, so let's add some present stickers around the middle. And now it's full of stickers and looks terrible. It doesn't take many stickers to be too many stickers. And stickers are hard to unstick without making everything look worse.

In web development, making something that looks amazing is hard, unless you're a designer. Making something that looks terrible is easy. Making something that looks ok is also easy. And something that looks ok but is readable is better than something that looks amazing but is an unreadable mess.

So if your design has a bit too much going on, maybe try taking some things out of it, chances are, it'll look much better.