Four things to do with a dead project

We all have them; the projects that were never meant to be. As I edge closer to my decade of designing, the metaphorical body count is accumulating. But don't worry, I have complied a short list of how to make the most of the abandoned Figma files and good ideas that just never made it into the world.

Learn from it

This is by far the easiest way to make the most of those dashed projects. The initial work might not have made the cut, however the design process my still be valid. You may have worked with new technologies or with different end users. Whatever the situation the nuances of the project may have given you some insight you can use at a later date.

Use it for parts

Like an old broken car, your dead project may have some redeeming features. Take them out and use them, it could be a part of your design you can upload to Dribbble or even have a few components you can use on another project, after all there is no point repeating work.

Put it in your portfolio

If that was a substantial enough project it could be a case study for your portfolio. Make sure you document your work thoroughly so you can talk about your work in a detailed way. Show what you learnt and how the design meant your user's needs, even if the project was incomplete.

Use it in an interview

These ex-projects are perfect for showing development as a designer. In interviews it is important to show your design maturity in what you have learnt and how you have learnt it. Incomplete project are perfect for this; you may be asked questions like:
  • Had there been a time where you would've changed something about your design?
  • What would you do next if you could complete this project?
  • Can you think of a time of where you would have done things differently?

Final thoughts

Incomplete projects have a place alongside your complete projects. You might not be able to attach glamorous design KPIs to them but drawing from that experience can bring value and help you grow as a designer. So next time consider using your next dead project for an interview or for spare parts.