May 17, 2024

We should be designing more

Every time I go on Twitter, there’s always someone posting amazing work, whether it is graphic design, mobile, websites, or even the brilliant copy audit stuff Defne does almost every week that actually got her new clients for her agency.

Is it client work? Is it hobby? Who cares. They love doing it and it is a fantastic demonstration of their skills and thinking. And just like Defne, a potential client might be seeing those and are currently thinking of hiring them. Cool, right?

But what about YOU and ME?

I’ve been hesitant about posting some of my previous work. I’ve been laid off for a while now, taking the occasional consulting gig or some freelance work. So, my depression is at an all-time high. What if I am not good enough to get likes and comments like those other posts? What if people just ignore me?

Imposter syndrome sometimes gets the best of us. While I was lamenting my situation post-layoff, other folks continued designing and posting. Maybe they came up with a cool concept for an app or had an idea for a feature for an existing app. They mocked it up and posted it online for thousands of people to see.

Soren Iverson is doing the same thing every week, but he puts a twist on it and instead is creating parody feature designs of the apps we use daily. You know the other crazy part? There are a lot of other people doing the exact same thing, and one of those folks got HIRED by Soren for his design studio, Iterate.

Feel bad about your life yet? I know I do.

It should have been me

Anyone who works with apps has at least once or twice said “Man I wish Google Maps had this feature, it would have really helped me out.”

Guess what. You can design it.

You don’t have to build it. Just use Figma or whatever to create a concept. Just a few screens is enough. Think about the idea for a few hours. How does it help the user? Does it save the user time and money? Or maybe it might create more problems for the users?

What matters is either way you can start a conversation with people. Post on Twitter, LinkedIn,, Peerlist, or even the new social media feature on Layers. If you are part of discord groups, post it there. Talk about the inspiration for this and ask folks to critique it.

I decided to try it out myself

So I had a huge flight coming up. From Houston to Bangladesh. 20 hours total. There was a layover of 6 hours in Dubai and I had to be at at the airport 3 hours in advance. I’m flying alone. Would be nice to meet some new folks with shared interests. So I thought… what if there was an app that could do that. So I mocked it up.

AtTheAirport - Concept Design

Notice that personal information is NOT being shared. You could pick a real or a fake name—it's up to you. There is no need to add a photo of yourself either. No one wants to be stalked through the airport. I got the idea for the random icons from the Google Docs anonymous animals.

I was quite proud of it. I posted it on and it did pretty well. Posted it on LinkedIn and Twitter and the response was meh (as expected). I am part of this open source dev group and I got a lot of interesting feedback. One of them stood out:

this reminds me of YikYak which got banned due to the anonymity aspect.It was massive on campuses but the amount of random threats etc became a hassle fo schools. My only concern would be mixing airport security and people posting inciting stuff on throwaway accounts.

Even with all the security at airports, adding anonymity is double-edged sword. It can protect you from being stalked but it can also shield individuals trying to cause mayhem and confusion.

I plan on brainstorming more, come up with new ideas, design a few concepts, and share it with the world. I am tired of moping around all day.

Hi, I'm Nabil

I'm a Houston-based Product Designer. I enjoy working on new problems, doing my research, and trying my best to understand the concerns of the business so I can help them grow their business through design.

Photo of Nabil holding a Zoro doll