Earlier this week, I attended HOW Design Live in San Francisco. It was my first design conference and one that I've wanted to go to since I became a designer. I was pretty floored when my boss okay'd the travel for the conference, I guess it made me realize just how much my company really does appreciate my talent and that they care to see me grow as a creative person. Of course, I'm sure they're also eager to reap the benefits of my fresh, recharged creative mind.
I could probably write a whole post giving you a full recap of each session I attended at HOW (I took really good notes), instead, I'm going to talk about the aftermath; the actions I plan to take as a result of going to the conference. It's easy to say we all experienced creative influence from the speakers, case studies, upcoming technology and new creative friends. We're all excited about the new connections we've made and perhaps a shiny business card from a potential client or employer. But the truth is, it's easy to get home and feel like sh*t because we're so overwhelmed with great ideas and inspiration that we don't know what to do next. We know we have to do SOMETHING besides return to the status quo we were obtaining before the conference, because otherwise...there's no point in going to the conference or maybe even being a designer, really.
Here are four things I can't wait to implement into my routine to step up my game:
- Blog once a week: When I think about how easy this is and how many times I've told myself I'm going to do it and then don't...I feel like a total loser. Blogging isn't that hard, hell, in second grade I used to write in a journal EVERY DAY. And people actually read it! Given, it was my teacher who was paid to read it, the point is, there was writing and thinking and self-reflection happening every day. Each week I will write about art, design, branding, advertising, anything that I encounter that I think is interesting. I don't care if you think it's interesting. Well, maybe.
- Do something creative for ME: Crafting, a personal art project, baking some sort of awesome new cake (or something), etc. It doesn't have to be good or right or even have a purpose, but it gets me moving and thinking away from a computer and using my hands. If there was one main theme I took away from the conference, it's that we need to take a step back and get to the roots of our creativity. Creativity not Adobe Illustrator or researching logos on the internet; it's the goold ole fashioned juice flowing inside our brains.
- Share more ideas: Working as the sole in-house designer, it can be intimidating sitting in a room of brilliant, well-rounded marketers with a long list of outstanding big ideas. It can be easy to sit back quietly and wait for them to tell you the next steps in execution after they've landed on the big pitch. But, that's a good way to feel useless, I am supposed to be one of the truly creative ones, right? I have good ideas, it's time to share what's being pent up in this special little brain of mine.
- Ask for more feedback: Again, being an in-house designer, I often hear "you're the designer, do what looks good" or "we trust your direction". This is great, for awhile. Until I realize that I have no idea if anyone actually has an opinion on the work I'm creating, or if they're just happy that it's not something someone had to "design" in Microsof Word. I've made it too easy on my team, and have been missing out on a critical step of the design process...FEEDBACK. And, dare I say it, criticism. This could potentially lead to lack of creativity thus letting my work become boring and practically invisible. Starting immediately, I will be putting myself through the wringer on all of my projects, just to make sure I'm doing the best work I can. And more importantly, to make sure I stay out of the bubble of unrealistic, happy designer land where I think I'm the sh*t.
Stay tuned for updates, friends. And if it looks like I'm falling off the blog wagon, feel free to crack the digital whip.