Details Matter

How would you react if you made a gigantic mistake? Or how have you reacted if you’ve made a gigantic mistake? In today’s episode, I want to talk about a mistake that I made that wasn’t even a figurative big mistake. It was literally a big mistake.

For many years in kind of a previous life, I had the privilege of designing for professional motorsports teams. One of the big fun projects of doing that kind of work for me, was designing the transporters. Or the haulers, or if you’re from overseas, the lorries that the cars would be transported to and from racetracks. Alongside of these trailers there’s often these big beautiful murals that usually promote the team or maybe a sponsor. It might have a photo or a picture of the driver, or the car. It might be a combination of these things. As much fun as it is there’s a lot of stress and there’s a lot of work that goes into these kinds of projects.

My mistake came when I was putting together one of these projects. I was using some artwork that was for position (we were waiting for final artwork and such). In my rush to finish the project and push it onto the next stage of the process of getting this finalized, I realized that I forgot to take out the FPO artwork. Nobody in the entire process noticed it.

When I finally stood next to it a couple of months later, it was staring me right in the face. It was a huge punch in the gut for me. But rather than beating myself up for stuff like this, I stepped back a little bit and thought about what I learned. So here’s three lessons I got from this:

Get the details right

When I sit down and do a project now because of things like this, I start to make a checklist of everything that I need to do. And the checklist isn’t necessarily design related but it’s process related. Among those things, is to make sure the FPO artwork is removed from the project and the final, full resolution photos are in.

Mistakes happen

…and covering them up makes it worse.

Any time I do notice something now, I figure a possible solution to it, and alert the people that need to know. If we’re able to alert somebody and say hey you know what: this was my fault, but here’s a solution,” thay may not get quite as upset. Versus only pointing it out, or if they notice it before you do.

Learn from my mistakes

I know everybody says this but, I don’t think it can be iterated on enough.

In this case, I’ve learned to stop rushing. I’ve learned to walk away from things for a little bit. Take even five minutes or a day. Let it sit for a weekend! Whatever the case might be, I need to remove myself from what I’m doing and come back with fresh eyes. It’s what you can notice or pick up on that you otherwise would have looked over if you were rushing through the project.

I’m hoping for those of you out there who have been through a similar situation like this, that some of these things can help as serve as a good reminder to you for you know if this happens to you. It’s not the end of the world no matter how experienced you are or how long you’ve been doing this. It happens to all of us. And the best way is to just not beat yourself up too much over what had happened.

Sign up for Finally Friday

Get weekly updates from me, as well as a free sample copy of my typeface Harvest Stout!

Daniel Nisbet will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. You acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.