Finished Yet?

Found this link via which got me thinking about the recurring statements of how to decide something is finished….. heres what I extracted:

“I’m never 100% happy with any piece I’ve made, so in my eyes, no piece I have ever made has been finished. ”

Ok, fine but thats no help whatsoever.. its such an easy stance to take but at what cost? This one makes a little more sense:

“When any more would be too much and any less would be too little.


“I know a design is finished when every time I add something or adjust something it seems to get worse.”

hint: save your history, so you can revert to ‘better’ and ‘BEST’

Maybe this one is the moral of the story:

“A design is finished once it has accomplished the project goals.

What those goals are, varies depending on the nature of the design project – whether it’s client work or personal work, the audience you’re targeting, and others. Every project should have criteria that need to be met. Throughout the process you work to meet those criteria. Once they are met, you’re done. You need to build in stages into your design process where you are the critic. If you’re a constant skeptic you can’t create, but you need to build in time to analyze your design. Ask yourself questions. Is the design interesting? Does it communicate what we’re after here? Is the typography legible? Does it meet your goals? Run through a checklist in your head. A good designer is their own worst critic. Keep in mind though that you need to set reasonable limits on this process based on the end audience, deadline, and project scope. If you’re refining details that the audience won’t notice, then you’re pushing unnecessary pixels, and you’re hindering both your business and your clients.”

or; “It’s hard to tell when the piece is really finished, because you could fix and fix it forever.. When it looks good and everything is nicely together, you should save it and check it next day. That’s how you will notice if there’s something still what needs to be fixed.”

Now go read the rest, and tell me what makes most sense to you – I have lots of stuff to finish this week & the jury is out…

4 thoughts on “Finished Yet?

  1. greg

    when i was in film school, my teachers always said to us: you should never be completely happy with what you make and you should never expect that you will make the “perfect” movie. if you you’ve made the perfect film, then you might as well stop, because you’ll never accomplish this again.

    i think this really speaks a lot to the creative process. it’s always been my opinion that one part of what keeps us (creative types) going is trying to outdo what we just did.

  2. Gustavo

    Hi Tim

    Definitely, the best is “A design is finished once it has accomplished the project goals…..” As it is seems to be more “objective”, like a definition of design.

    For the rest, I like this one:

    “A design is finished when satisfied at the moment in doubt what to add next”

    I like how it express this kind of alarm that says “hey it`s fun, but you are not playing. That´s ok.”

  3. Enos Desjardins

    Aah! The never ending dilemma of when to leave a project go! I think we all go through that same stage of not knowing when something is finished! I read a quote from someone some time ago. I can’t remember the exact wording but it went something like this. “A film is never finished. You just work on it until it is taken away from you.” I think I’ve twisted the quote a bit but it was something on that line anyways.

    I have always had a problem with letting projects go and therefore spent a lot of teenage years and beyond just working on projects but never having anything I could say was a finished piece of work of mine to show to others. The easiest mistake is sharpening things too much until it just breaks.

    But I agree with finishing a project when you have achieved the objectives for that specific work. I’ve noticed that ever since I’ve started working on projects that are not for myself, but have a specific “client” the deadlines and objectives just force you to know when to stop! I find it easier to work with a deadline!

    Its always positive to think that you will always have the next project to work on! You walk and learn I guess!

  4. rene

    I’ve been fortunate enough to have client imposed deadlines on the vast majority of my work, so I never really have struggled with when to put a bow on it and call it “done.”

    Generally for my own stuff I just use the same standards that I use for the client stuff. This has has the positive effect of both pushing my client work farther while reigning my own noodling in. I also tend to work towards very specific goals with my own stuff, so that helps out quite a bit as well.

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