It’s not uncommon to want the thing you’ve invested time, energy, and effort into to look amazing when you are finished. To desire a process from start to finish that is organized, efficient, and devoid of any significant hiccups. Unfortunately, most creative processes are quite the opposite. They are grueling and messy; they are full of mistakes and redos. I love how Ed Catmull puts it:


Originality is fragile. And in its first moments, it’s often far from pretty.
— Ed Catumll, Creativity Inc.

Hence the term “Ugly Baby” is born. That’s not to say its a bad idea or a failure for the scrap pile. Instead, I need to be OK with its current state and recognize new ideas, new designs, and new approaches need nurturing, love, and attention.

I’ve recently created an ugly baby (or should I say, I’m apart of a team that has built an ugly baby). LexBlog.com is a fantastic idea. To create a site that is not a marketing platform for your company. Instead, a platform that showcases the insight and knowledge of thousands of attorney bloggers. The spotlight is on them.

That said, it’s hard not to go looking at other online publications and lust away at how refined and beautiful they are. It’s easy to forget that they are years in the making and under constant care and refinement as well.

Having an Ugly Baby is not easy to accept. Being OK with it is essential to its growth and maturity. We love it no less. We are honest and open about its flaws and needs, just like any parent honestly assessing their child’s strengths and weakness and formulating a plan of action to address and nurture along to maturity.

The key is to not panic at the discovery of your Ugly Baby. Rather, rejoice in its creation, and set a plan of action to address in “Small Sessions” (It’s not OK to let it stay in this state of incomplete).

Often the quest for efficiency or consistency in the design process can be the killer of creativity and originality. These approaches can conflict with one another to the detriment of the goal, to build something beautiful and usable. To make something you are proud of, something great!

Balance is the key. We need a schedule, process, and workflow to keep projects on track and accountable. We also need time to experiment and explore ideas that are fragile and possibly wrong.

Back to LexBlog.com. I’m excited about what’s in store. I’m excited about what I’ll learn through failure and success as we build and develop ideas to present content in beautiful and meaningful ways. I’m focused on our users. On how can we better highlight the people and organizations using our publishing platform. The goal is to serve others and bring joy to their lives.

I’ve made an Ugly Baby, and I couldn’t be more proud.

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Photo of Brian Biddle Brian Biddle

For the past 14 years, Brian has served as lead designer and art director for LexBlog. He works directly with the product team to provide design and UX/UI guidance for the tools that power the worlds largest legal network.