Design is a Marathon: Takeaways from Vitals…

In partnership with Slack, Vitals once again gathered three design leaders to explore the essentials of their craft, today, forever, and never.

The second installment of Vitals: A Design Event About What You Need took place on December 15th. The Webby Awards’ virtual event, hosted in partnership with Slack, once again gathered three of the creative industry’s top designers to explore what key ingredients it takes to make great design work, now and in the future. Each participant used 10 slides and spoke for 10 minutes about their design process and ethos.

Here are five takeaways from Gail Anderson, Chair of BFA Design & BFA Advertising, School of Visual Arts, Joe Stewart, Designer and Founding Partner of Work & Co, and Maria Gonzalez, Design Lead at Slack.

1. VITAL TODAY: TREAT YOURSELF TO A NOTEBOOK & KNOW YOUR HISTORY

For presenter Gail Anderson, Chair of BFA Design and BFA Advertising at The School of Visual Arts, taking notes and organizing your thoughts or daily inspiration is the first step. Anderson also believes that “along with the writing, comes the reading.” It’s important to fill your library with design books for research.

Joe Stewart, Designer and Founding Partner of Work & Co shares a similar ethos: It’s vital to study your design history in order to define the future, and apply that knowledge to form of design you venture into.

2. FOREVER VITAL: DESIGN IS A SHARED. TRUST YOUR COLLABORATORS 

Collaborating with partners and clients is vital to the process of creating great work. Both Anderson and Stewart agreed that those collaborations need to be based on trust. “Without that trust, it’s not going to be fun,” said Anderson.

Great ideas come to you when you’re in a calm place.”

— Joe Stewart Designer and Founding Partner, Work & Co

3. FOREVER VITAL: CURIOSITY

The most important question a designer should ask is “why?” Then ask it four more times. For Maria Gonzalez, two questions that anyone should ask are”why should the audience care, and what can we improve upon?” Using these as a guiding light for work is critical to producing great design.

4. NEVER VITAL: DESIGNING TRENDS OR PRESENTATIONS

Part of Stewart’s ethos is the belief a workflow for rapid concepting is one of biggest assets a designer can have, whether it’s by using products such as Figma, Principle, Quicktime, etc. According to Stewart, if you can describe your idea in one sentence, it is strong. If a client understands the concept when seeing it cold, it is a strong concept. Lengthy presentations about your creative process are never a vital pieces to actually crafting great work.

5. FOREVER VITAL: GOOD IDEAS COME WHEN YOU’RE CALM

Don’t overtax your mind or use digital services for recreation, as they only make you more tired. For Stewart, great ideas come when you are in a calm place,” so it is always best to find what helps you remain present and practice that.


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