I hear people complain about designers who don't get or ignore usability, it definitely exists in our industry. I think theres another designer trait, thats less spoken about. Interactive designers who hide behind their knowledge in the science of interaction and therefore don't get the creative side right.
When I lived in Edinburgh I really enjoyed screen printing, I miss it a lot.
When I was starting out, I would stand at the press carefully trying to apply the exact pressure, with the right ink consistency, lifting the screen, shaking my head and crumpling the paper before chucking it in the bin.
A girl watched me do this at least six times.
I saw her smirk and so I asked her nicely if she could help, she responded by saying: "Stop trying to be a printer".
"Huh?" I replied, thinking that a rather cruel thing to say to a new start.
"You are trying your best to be a digital printer, a machine, rather than enjoying the randomness of a press, relax."
I put the screen printers guide to ink consistency away and focused on making a piece of design to be loved. She was right, when I focused on the idea I was trying to put on paper and I really started to relax, then the technical side improved a lot too.
It's a similar issue I see a lot with interactive design, young digital creatives often box themselves into a corner looking for the perfect technical execution. Because guidelines and structured rules provide shelter from the often harder emotional/aesthetic challenge.
You can't solve an emotional problem through purely scientific means, and when humans use something, there will always be emotion involved.
You have to find a balance between the emotive and the functional need.
It's much, much easier to stand in front of a client and talk about accessibility, legibility, adherence to guidelines and visual priorities than it is to talk about how it will make a user feel or think. To protect your work with science rather than expose yourself to opinion.
There's no article or journal to back you up, run focus groups, but at some point you are going to have to trust that others will see the value and beauty in your ideas. Create something people love to use, not able to use.
I am not saying to give up on science, on grid systems, on usability. But don't focus so tightly on it that you create something cold, lacking in humanity and warmth. Or even worse, just plain dull.