My System: I Think of My Ideal Reader

Who: David Cole, sleepoversf

Job: Web designer. Makes Tumblr templates (like this one)

System:  To create great stuff (for his blog, a design or a website), Cole imagines whether or not his favorite people or heroes would dig it. Simply, he envisions creating things for his ideal reader, and that’s his filter.

When have you used this system? For a post on Sleepover SF, Cole wrote about clever containers and designed his post as a clever container. He says when he wrote it, he thought about people like San Francisco writer and “media inventor” Robin Sloan.

Did he read it?  Yup.

Modeled system after: This talk that Merlin Mann and John Gruber delivered at South by Southwest 2009. Mann says, “Ask yourself, who do I want to delight?’ Can you think about one face behind your monitor that you see when you’re making something?… The truth is once you figure out who those faces are it gets a lot easier to make something you’re really, really proud of.” Mann, in turn, was inspired by Stephen King’s On Writing which talks about imagining your “ideal reader” when you write.

(p.s. System within a system: Another system Cole writes about in his post: “I frequently rely on metagames in order to entertain myself. Can I do these dishes in under five minues. Go!”)

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