I’ve never made resolutions because I’ve never thought of a new calendar year as a more valid excuse to strive for improvement. For reasons unbeknownst to me, that all changed this year. Here’s a list of resolutions I’ve made to grow as a designer in 2016. Maybe you’d benefit from some of them or they can inspire you to make a design-related resolution list of your own.
- One thing at a time (or at the very least fewer things at a time)
When I’m working on anything under the sun, I reach a creative, mental, or emotional stopping point and feel the need to move onto something else. While this can without a doubt be healthy and necessary, it can also depreciate your ability to focus on the task at hand. Stop and think about sitting with whatever it is for just a minute or two longer. Maybe all you need is a step away from your desk. I’m attempting to be more attentive to the number of tabs I have opened, how many Adobe Illustrator and/or Sketch files are going, and whether or not the podcast playing in the background is helping more than hurting.
- Reach out to people you admire
I have the tendency to admire from afar, but the laundry list of designers I love grows daily. Often I think, “This person must know they’re fantastic, people probably tell them all the time.” There’s an element of fear that surrounds telling people you admire them, because you never know how they will respond (or if they’ll respond at all). If that happens, it’s still okay. And maybe they surprise you with the pearl of wisdom that you’ve been hoping for. In this day and age you have access to any and everyone, so you might as well give it a go.
- Collaborate often
I’m never sure how to proposition someone to work together. In New York especially, people are busy and have their sights set on their own vision and goals. That being said, you never know who shares your passions or who compliments your process. As previously mentioned, just put yourself out there! Some of my best work has come from working alongside other people, and I think growing in the future will have a lot to with collaboration. Try making something with someone once a month.
- Routinize and ritualize
I adamantly resist routinized anything. I want everyday to be different, unplanned, unexpected. This however, I’ve found, can make it very hard to output work at the pace that I would like, or that my team needs. If you’re naturally bummed about routines like I am, introduce elements that exist for pure enjoyment. For example, I work for three hours in the morning and then I always get a juice. Whatever. Anything that breaks it up and makes you happy.