If it got cosmic at last year’s DesignThinker’s conference, this year’s was all about staying grounded. Yes, there was lots to be inspired by, but what The Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) delivered this year was a lineup of speakers who were as willing to pull back the curtain and talk about how they worked as much as the work itself. Here’s the takeaways that got the biggest underlines in my notebook:
Innovation takes discipline
Roopa Unnikrishnan made a follower out of me as she challenged those of us looking to innovate to bring some discipline to our work by encouraging us to (among other things) pay closer attention to what’s behind trends, challenge everything, and intentionally “live in” the possibilities you hope to introduce.
“Design at its best is the
Though most of her talk was focused on how, as opposed to what, we eat, the biggest serving of inspiration from Emilie Baltz was her delicate and delicious definition of "design at its best" as quoted above. To be honest, I’m not sure I fully comprehend her definition just yet, but it hasn’t let me go since hearing it.
Be the change your boss wants
to see in the company
The VP of Design at Buzzfeed, Cap Watkins, not only had the giphy-est of giphy slide decks, his encouragement to “pretend you’re already there” was the most practical piece of advice he gave. Apparently, telling new hires “we do this too,” is a great way to introduce the rest of your team to change…
Show, don’t tell
Andy Chen’s talk on “Inclusion, Equality, Progress: Dignified Representation in Visual Culture” crossed over from the instructive to the subversive when he graciously invited those in attendance to show the reality we want to create, rather than simply telling people how to act.
BONUS Takeaway: Teams!
Looking for a successful team? Here’s the types of people Emily Cohen has identified as key to making it work:
- Politicians, to balance everybody’s needs
- Cheerleaders: high fives all around!
- Industry Activists, to keep your team both current and relevant
- Tech Gurus, to ensure the team is powered by today’s tools, not yesterday’s
- Enforcers, to keep projects, and people, in check
- Emotional Quarterbacks, to keep the team together on a social level
Cheers to RGD and to all those who put themselves and their process on display during the conference. Here’s to looking ahead to 2016!
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