When I received a Samsung Gear S3 as a Christmas gift in 2016, I was so excited about the watch and all the watch faces available I decided to create a YouTube channel for tech gadgets and watch reviews called Jibber Jab Reviews. It was perfect timing as the release of the S3 watch kicked the development of watch faces into high gear. Since then I’ve seen and reviewed thousands of watch faces and become an active member of the watch face design community.
The trend of developing high-quality watch faces will continue for the foreseeable future. Having coached and reviewed several new designers that have gone on to have very successful watch face collections, here are some things designers should keep in mind to create watch face designs that stand the test of time.
Don’t Follow the Crowd
Creating watch faces is a great way for designers to showcase their ideas, artistic talents and technical skills with the community. Don’t set out to make a watch face design that capitalizes on the latest trend. Instead, start with developing something you like. From there, get feedback from your peers, customers and community to find out what works and build that into your next watch face.
Don’t be afraid to tinker and make mistakes, because that’s all part of the learning process as a creator. Being open to the criticism and feedback you receive is what will help you make improvements and produce better watch faces. It takes time to build a collection of watch faces and it’s very rare to have instant success with just one or two. Take your time, listen to the community and design watch faces that incorporate feedback from others.
Simplicity Isn’t a Bad Thing
One of the biggest problems designers struggle with in the beginning is adding too much functionality into one watch face. Your goal shouldn’t be to create a watch face that can do everything. Focus on the functions that make sense for the face you create; stick to a particular theme and add functionality around that.
Something else designers need to keep in mind during the design process is technical limitations. You may have a great idea for a new function that is beyond the capabilities of the current software. The best way to deal with this is to take a step back and incorporate only what needs to be there for your watch face design.
It’s All About the Theme
There’s nothing worse than designs that seem thrown together or when the graphics don’t complement the intended theme or style. The way to avoid this is to always start with a theme and then ask what it is you are trying to accomplish with this design. Only once you’ve figured out the theme and its purpose should you start building the graphics, backgrounds and functionality. Some designers focus too much on the functionality and then throw in the artistic parts and hope they stick. But if you start with the theme and build around that you’re more likely to end up with a cohesive watch face design.
Trust Your Design
When you look at some of the most successful designers, you’ll notice that they stay true to their aesthetic and don’t compromise usability for a fleeting design trend. Not only have they incorporated great functionality, but they have a unique artistic level that tells you it’s their watch face just from the style and design.
While having a distinct style is important, you should also consider allowing a certain level of customization with your watch faces, both in terms of backgrounds and selecting apps. Customization gives the customer the chance to add their own level of personalization, creating a more engaging experience, which is part of a great watch face.
Engage the Community
Customers and watch reviewers can be a great resource for watch face designers looking to improving their design. The community is a loyal group that isn’t afraid to share their opinions on my YouTube channel and in general. Their honesty pushes designers to continually design better watch faces both in terms of style and technical ability.
Reviewers help bridge the gap between the designer and the customer. When launching a new watch face design, engaging reviewers helps introduce your watch face to a large customer base that may not otherwise know it exists.
In the end, the watch face designers that are the most successful are the ones that listen to their peers and customers, and use that information to develop their design. Remember to keep it simple, take your time, be true to what you want to develop, pick a theme and build around it and listen to the feedback you receive. This will help you develop not only better watch faces, but grow your fan base and brand.