Why You Should Focus on the Process Instead of the End Result

Why You Should Focus on the Process Instead of the End Result
August 16, 2016 Daniel Palacios
trust the process

When you see a logo in its final stage, it’s easy to say, “anyone can do that.” Without a supportive case study, it’s hard to imagine what went into making the piece of art you admire right in front of you.

What happens a lot is we overvalue the outcome versus the process.

Let Ideas Grow

Rather than thinking about what the end result will look like, execute on the process.

Going through the process gives you the opportunity to develop ideas on paper, make proper adjustments and assess your goals without sacrificing quality. While there are no concrete “rules” to follow in design, it’s important to have a consistent process to rely on. What works for you might not work for someone else, but you should consider what you’re trying to accomplish before making decisions.

A good example of this is a marathon. Most people can’t show up on the day of the marathon and expect to succeed. You have to go through the process of training. Today, you might make it around the block. Tomorrow, two blocks, and so on until you have built up enough endurance to successfully finish the marathon.

While finishing the marathon is a huge accomplishment, it’s easy to see that the training (aka the process), was actually the crucial factor in your success. The exact same concept applies to design.

Focusing on the small tasks immediately in front of you will allow you to accomplish great things with value in the future.

People only see the results. They don’t see the endless hours spent in the gym working, sweating, screaming. – Arnorld Schwarzenegger

Create More Value

If you’re taking on pro bono projects, make it clear to your client that the work isn’t exactly “free.” Have a dollar amount shown with a line through it like this: $1,000. This will make the client understand that there’s value behind what you do. By showing your process in a case study, you reinforce this concept even more.

It’s easy to dumb-down creative work because people are used to only seeing the polished version and not all the revisions, breaks, sketches, outlines, mind maps, research, brainstorming and time that went into it, which are all part of the process.

If you were to compare a design that went through a 4-week development process to one that took a day, which do you think would be more effective in the long run?

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Do I know my process?
  • Is it written down?
  • Does my client know the value if it’s free?
  • Am I documenting the design process in a case study?
  • Why? (ask this a lot)

Making a design look effortless takes a lot of effort. As artists and designers, it’s our job to communicate the message visually while also making it effective and beautiful.


Get a Trust the Process Poster

Do you have a particular process and need a reminder to stay focused? If you said yes to both, then this poster will help keep you on track.

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