WHAT USUALLY HAPPENS
As part of Topp's recruitment process for visual designers, we give the candidates a design test. Our design tests are intentionally banal. We ask them to design what 99% of visual designers already have in their Behance history; a weather app.
What we are looking for is a designer to be brave enough to push the designs, one who dares to take a risk and try to do something new.Most often the tests we receive are solid, sane, well crafted and... well, expected.
WHAT MARTIN DID
When I saw Martin Delin´s design test, I was completely baffled. Is this a weather app? I can't see any of the components I've grown accustomed to. There were no photos of cities like in the highly touted Yahoo weather app; there were no nice icons for rain and sunshine; I couldn't even see tomorrow's weather in any glanceable way.
The first reaction was to consider the test a fail - "It didn't tell me the weather". But as the evaluation of candidates moved forward, I showed Martin's test to a colleague and he was really inspired. He said it might not be the best weather app he'd seen, but as a design test, it really stood out.
SO WHERE ARE WE GOING WITH THIS?
Martin is now working with us. When we brought him in for an interview he showed that he knew exactly what he had done. He went for impact, knowing that his submission would be shuffled in amongst dozens of others. He was aware that he was taking a risk by trying to go for brilliant; there is always a risk that people will confuse brilliant for useless. He came prepared with all the changes he would make if the app was ever to go into production. However, he stood by his claim that we don't need yet another solid weather app that doesn't try to make any impact on the user.
So there you have it, depending on your perception brilliant and useless can in fact be remarkably close to each other.