Learn To Bead

At Land of Odds / Be Dazzled Beads – Beads, Jewelry Findings, and More

Design Debt: How Much Do You Have?

Posted by learntobead on January 19, 2023

For most jewelry designers, the primary focus on their work is on creating pieces which are beautiful and desirable. The focus is on effectiveness. But as a business, you have to repeatedly ask yourself, But At What Cost? That is, you need to think about efficiencies in the design and production processes, if you are to make a sufficient profit and survive and thrive as a business.

Design Debt:
Something Serious Which Needs To Be Managed

In more jargoned, but eye-opening, language, things the jewelry designer can do to increase efficiency will also reduce what is called Design Debt.

Design Debt refers to all the inefficiencies in your design and production processes which add more time and effort to what you are trying to accomplish, as you are designing or producing any piece of jewelry. Design Debt continues to accumulate and increase as a project matures over time. Even after the designer has relinquished the project to the client, Design Debt will continue to accumulate if the designer fails to deal with it head on.

Design Debt includes things like…

  • Taking too much time to meet your goals
  • Having to do too much research or experimentation when figuring out how to proceed
  • Spending too much time thinking how to make a particular piece of jewelry unique or special for a certain client
  • Failure to adequately streamline the steps in the production process
  • Failure to match each step in production with the skill and pay level of the person doing it

Design Debt also includes all the good design concepts or solutions you skipped in order to complete your project on time. Design Debt includes all the additional time and effort you will have to make, should you have a backlog of projects which keep accumulating and accumulating as you are trying to finish the particular project you are now working on.

Some designers might approach the ever-accumulating Design Debt by cutting corners or relinquishing the project to the client prematurely. The designer might settle for a lower fee or less profitability. The designer might find that negative word-of-mouth is building too quickly with unsatisfied clients or demanding business stakeholders.

There are many sources of Design Debt, some very tangible, others less so. Examples of these sources of Design Debt include…

  • The designer relies on an overabundance of non-reusable materials, or too much variation in inventory, or, inconsistent styles and conventions, all difficult to maintain
  • The designer might start a project with assumptions, rather than research
  • The designer might not have sufficient time or budget to implement each choice and step with care
  • The designer might not have a full understanding of how each design element, form and component should best be arranged and interact within a particular composition
  • The designer might be working with a partner or assistant, with incomplete information passing hands, as each works on the project
  • The designer might not have a chance to test a design before its implementation or sale
  • The designer might not get the opportunity to find out what happens with a particular piece after it has left the studio and the client wears it
  • The designer might not have in place any formal or informal time and procedure for reflection and evaluation, in order to understand how various choices led to good or bad designs, or whether there is an improvement or degradation in the designer’s brand due to good or bad performance
  • The designer might rely on published patterns without the wherewithal to adapt or customize them, or otherwise approach unfamiliar situations

Ultimately, Design Debt is measured in how satisfied our clients are with the products we design, (also understood as revenues and profits) and how that satisfaction affects what is referred to as contagion — the spread of word of mouth and its positive or negative impacts on our brand and reputation (again, also understood as revenues and profits). Over time, Design Debt accumulates and becomes a great burden on any designer and design business.

Anything which unifies the design process and reduces variability in the numbers and types of choices we make as designers will help us tackle Design Debt.

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

__________________________________

CONQUERING THE CREATIVE MARKETPLACE: Between the Fickleness of Business and the Pursuit of Design

This guidebook is a must-have for anyone serious about making money selling jewelry. I share with you the kinds of things it takes to start your own jewelry business, run it, anticipate risks and rewards, and lead it to a level of success you feel is right for you, including
Getting Started, Financial Management, Product Development, Marketing, Selling, Resiliency, Professional Responsibilities.

Kindle

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

So You Want To Be A Jewelry Designer reinterprets how to apply techniques and modify art theories from the Jewelry Designer’s perspective. To go beyond craft, the jewelry designer needs to become literate in this discipline called Jewelry Design. Literacy means understanding how to answer the question: Why do some pieces of jewelry draw your attention, and others do not? How to develop the authentic, creative self, someone who is fluent, flexible and original. How to gain the necessary design skills and be able to apply them, whether the situation is familiar or not.

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook , Kindle or Print formats

The Jewelry Journey Podcast
“Building Jewelry That Works: Why Jewelry Design Is Like Architecture”
Podcast, Part 1
Podcast, Part 2

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

I developed a nontraditional technique which does not use tools because I found tools get in the way of tying good and well-positioned knots. I decided to bring two cords through the bead to minimize any negative effects resulting from the pearl rotating around the cord. I only have you glue one knot in the piece. I use a simple overhand knot which is easily centered. I developed a rule for choosing the thickness of your bead cord. I lay out different steps for starting and ending a piece, based on how you want to attach the piece to your clasp assembly.

184pp, many images and diagrams EbookKindle or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

In this book, I discuss 16 lessons I learned, Including How To (1) Find, Evaluate and Select Craft Shows Right for You, (2) Determine a Set of Realistic Goals, (3) Compute a Simple Break-Even Analysis, (4) Develop Your Applications and Apply in the Smartest Ways, (5) Understand How Much Inventory to Bring, (6) Set Up and Present Both Yourself and Your Wares, (7) Best Promote and Operate Your Craft Show Business before, during and after the show.

198pp, many images and diagrams, Ebook, , Kindle or Print

___________________________________________

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: