Author: Brooke Dudgeon, Designer

I moved into a new place two months ago and, soon after, purchased a shower curtain. Riveting, I know. I’d like to share what that little piece of Swedish perfection has revealed to me and how it relates to my recent transition from traditional print to web design.

One magical day, the package arrived. It was love. Seven seconds later, there it hung in all its glory.

(Insert sad trombone music here)

The curtain blocked all light coming from the vanity fixture. I spent the next three days thinking and buying. Buying and thinking. For a normal human, this type of dilemma would have an easy solution. I’m not normal. No cords, no clutter, no kid mess (bathtub crayon drawings and plastic army men excluded).

shower curtain

I bought stick-on lights, LED lights, pendant lights, brighter bulbs, shelves to hide product bottles, containers to stash toys behind the curtain. I researched the cost of an electrician to make adjustments – even considered a DIY skylight after a few martinis. I stood in the hallway and stared into the dark bathroom for hours at a time. I gave up. Sensing my frustration, my man came to the rescue. I walked him through it. Just as I muttered the last word of this saga, he moved the shower curtain. He moved it from the right side of the tub to the left side, immediately solving the 877 design dilemmas sabotaging my bathroom bliss.

The thrills and challenges of expressing yourself through design in a new space can be overwhelming and frustrating. I’ve felt these things over the past year while attempting to transition from traditional print to web design. Often. At some point, I moved my metaphorical shower curtain and realized that this new space in which we are designing can open up possibilities we had not yet considered, rather than refining and defining them for us.

So, now what?

The most relevant advice I received was to understand the basics of HTML and CSS. Here’s a fun place to start: www.dontfeartheinternet.com.

This helped me to understand both the limits and opportunities. All the forces within our digital landscape create quite a vibrant community. Collaboration is our backbone. Ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. Let go of the idea that you can always control your design. Embrace the idea that you’re creating an experience. You have totally just one-upped your digitally dangerous self.

blue sofa

Lastly, a thought on “floppability.” Technically, it’s not really a word. It snuck into my vocabulary during my last nesting conquest – a search for the perfect couch. “Floppability” is my deciding factor. I want to be swallowed up by the perfect shade of blue velvet when I flop onto a couch. After Googling every single couch that exists on this planet, I was overinspired and ready to shop. My mom always told me to never buy a couch you haven’t sat on.

Finding inspiration is so easy. Finding the perfect couch, not so much. For the designers going digital: If we can learn how to digest and control the inspiration we are consuming digitally, maybe we can create richer experiences for our users. Augmented reality apps are great. Let’s go to the next level.