My name is Bryan Veloso, and I am a re-designer. I do not create, I improve. I do not envision what is new, I envision how something that already exists can be better. Eh, okay, enough of the serious nonsense... but seriously, this might get a little serious.
Blame it on specialization, "finding one's self" or something of that sort, but a series of events has led me to conclude that the designer you know (and hopefully still find partially relevant) is really only good at redesigns. That is the way my mind seems to work, and maybe the years have brought with it an even harsher line separating my ability to create from scratch and my ability to improve what exists.
Let's look at the past, for example. Three designs that come to mind from my freelancing years were Flock, Mashable and The Addictionary. All three were redesigns. My brain can take almost any site and make enough improvements to it to classify it as a redesign, but throw me an abstract idea--even if that idea is my own--and my brain feels as useless as an executioner without an axe. This is quite true, I failed at designing something for a client. My "patented" "first-shot-design-success" fell flat--and I felt hopeless.
There's another huge drawback to being "a re-designer" by trade; there's no such thing as an "incremental change." Kyle's work on the incrementally-new GitHub is a great example of a situation where a designer knows there are things he has to change, but can prioritize and even restrain his or herself to make those changes when the time is right. Me? HAH. Every job I can think of being a part of, I bring my philosophical white paint. I then take that paint and proceed to clean the walls. Think of it this way, have I ever made an incremental change to Avalonstar? To Revyver? I've always said I would, but by the time I sat in front of Photoshop, I had another gallon of white paint.
It's disheartening in a way, but motivational in another. The more you know about your quirks, the easier you can take advantage of those quirks. Hello! Ranking, for example went through more redesigns than I could count on my hands. But the thing is, I set myself up. I was able to take all my failed attempts, view them like I would if I were given this as a freelance job and redesign. The fact that the site is even in private beta is a testament to it working. Hell, I've already started to "incrementally redesign" it... well, who am I kidding, it's more of a redesign in general.
But... I'm learning. And to be honest I still feel as green as I was the day I started blogging here.
When you learn your limits, you start to better yourself within those limits and not try to reach for things that will ultimately disappoint you if your efforts don't bear fruit. It's something I've learned by learning programming. There's this one piece of code, the code that powers the ranking system for H!R that I know will never be the best piece of code ever written, but even knowing that, I still take the time to improve it a keystroke at a time.