3 Ways To Be A Better Design Leader

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There are countless books, seminars, conferences, and programs to teach you about business leadership, but design leadership requires an entirely different skill set and is not nearly as well documented. It can take years to master the management complexities at the intersection of business and creativity, but many design leaders are forced to learn on the job. To shorten the learning curve, we’ve gathered some unique insights from top managers and design leads to help you become a better design leader.

Build A Culture Of Design Through Transparency & Advocacy

Design touches all aspects of a company—marketing, product, operations, even customer service—but because it’s harder to quantify success for a design team than, say, the sales department, demonstrating the value of design can often prove difficult. Woo Jin Park, Head of Design at Helix, says his team is all about informal transparency. “At Helix, the design team is trying to find simpler ways to champion design by building transparency around what we do. By doing little things like printing and displaying all of our prototypes in an open gallery, inviting others for design reviews outside of conference rooms and in the open, and pinning up a big calendar of what’s next for us, anyone from any team can walk by and see what we’re working on. That way, every time someone passes by, it’s an ongoing education, and people feel invited to engage with design. Transparency just makes communication easier, and showing what your team is doing to advance the company’s goals adds another layer to the value of design.”

Read the full story… designerfund.com

 
 

Design Advice From The Women Of Midcentury Modernism via FastCo

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Image: Sister Corita Kent’s prints

The mid-20th century was filled with luminaries in design and the visual arts-Eero Saarinen, Richard Neutra, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock-and the most well-known figures are mostly men. But this is starting to change, with exhibitions and articles beginning to celebrate the accomplishments of mid-century women.

The book Mid-Century Modern Women in the Visual Arts, for one, highlights the work of 25 groundbreaking female designers and artists from that era, sharing their advice through quirky, colorful illustrations by Ellen Surrey.

The painter Bridget Riley—depicted in the book in her preferred blacks and whites—believed that “focusing isn’t just an optical ability, it is also a mental one.” The designer Ray Eames—illustrated lounging in one of her classic chair designs—advised, “what works good is better than what looks good, because what works good lasts.” “Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That’s what invention is about,” said the artist Helen Frankenthaler, who’s portrayed amidst the swirls of color on her canvas.

Read the full story at FastCo

 
 

Tuesday Inspiration!

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“Catching the Big Fish” is a brief and charming book about creativity from the point of view of David Lynch. It is full of “gems” about his creative process. Many of the “gems” can be appropriated by people who need to be creative even in a business environment.

The reader probably knows some of David Lynch’s films (like “Wild at Heart” with Nicholas Cage and “Blue Velvet with Isabella Rossellini and Kyle MacLachlan) and the famous TV series “Twin Peaks” produced by him. Lynch is also a visual artist and a musician.

It is difficult not to admire David Lynch. On one side, he is one of the most iconic and creative filmmakers alive today. On the other side, it is difficult not to admire is persistence and “never give up attitude.”. His first movie (“Eraserhead”) took several years to finish. Basically, David Lynch worked in other jobs to have enough money to film it – when he had money to buy celluloid and other filming material he would go on.

“Catching the Big Fish” is a book about creativity but many of its ideas can be applied in other areas of our life. The book is written in a very direct and charming style about his methods for having ideas and developing them. It consists of small excerpts that could actually stand alone well. Many of those excerpts have ideas and concepts that will challenge the mind of the reader. However, those small excerpts make sense together as a whole, without any problem.

The view of David Lynch is very hands-on. One of the key points of the message of the books, is that artists should learn by doing. Learning stuff and don’t applying, doesn’t make sense to David Lynch. In a way, if you don´t apply what you learn, you don’t really know it.

Read the full story… http://www.intelligenthq.com

 
 

Telling Stories Through Art

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I love the process behind these creative results. The designs are beautiful!

Columbus, OH-based Danielle Evans has worked in paper, food, snow, shoelaces, sheets, plants, kitty litter and more to create her letter-driven illustrations. “For me the medium is the vehicle for the concept, the star of the image,” she says, adding that she likes the challenge of making something unappetizing or traditionally disinteresting seem fascinating.

Art That Tells A Story
Evan describes her process as “quirky and kinetic”—she spends hours crawling, balancing on tabletops, trying not to shake or knock things over as she creates images without using stencils, templates or guides. Her recent workload leans heavily toward social media campaigns, and she says she’s most proud of making money by creating art that tells a story.

Evans derives her inspiration from questioning if something is possible rather than from what she’s seen. “I tend not to look directly at lettering or illustration for my inspiration because I’ve found that my intuition is trustworthy and I don’t want to emulate someone else too strongly,” she says. “I owe myself individuality.”

See the work…

 
 

Hiut has the right idea.

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I’ve been a fan of Clare and David for many many years. I was super excited when I heard that they were reviving an old mill (and a forgotten town) in Cardigan Bay (UK).

This team is doing everything right. They have a great work philosophy for the company and the community. Aside from making amazingly well-crafted jeans, they also started a lecture/talk series – called “The Do Lectures.” Their goal is bring the DO-ers of the world together – the movers and shakers, the disrupters and the change-makers – and ask them to tell their stories. (typically in some type of magical outdoor, 3-day camping-under-the-stars-experience).

If you haven’t heard of them – well, here are a couple of links. Enjoy!

http://www.thedolectures.com

http://www.hiutdenim.co.uk

 
 

What a Working mom looks like

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I’ve been working on Red Tricycle lately, and while I can’t share some of the top-secret projects I’ve been designing for, I will share these. I have these photos posted on my desk and I can totally relate to the emotion in these pictures on a DAILY basis. I love thinking about moms and kids and community – it’s pretty awesome.

 
 

Bluchic – Dorothy Theme

Several people have asked me about how I designed my website and I thought I’d finally write about it. SteamedArtichokeStudio.com is built on WordPress via the Bluchic “Dorothy” theme. I made some minor template changes and built custom portfolio pages as the foundation – rather than leveraging the site as a straight-forward blog. I wanted complete control for my portfolio – but I didn’t want to turn into a programmer either! I learned a few tricks along the way – but that’s only because I wanted to push my site beyond the standard template. The BluChic theme made it super easy for me to explore custom layouts.

I’ve built four sites with Bluchic themes – for client projects and my own personal projects.

If you’re looking for an elegant and contemporary website template, these folks have a great catalog to choose from. The Bluchic themes are also super easy to install and customize. I wanted to create a unique portfolio site (eh hem, with very little programming experience), so it was important that customization was easy. Also, it was crucial that my sites were responsive across all platforms. It only took me an afternoon to figure out how to customize my sites! I specifically like that the theme designs don’t compete with my content. I’ve tried several other random themes over the years and I finally realized that my content was getting watered down because the theme design was shouting for attention. I needed something beautiful, but not overpowering, something that had character, but didn’t compete with the core content. I discovered the “Dorothy” theme several years ago for Steamed Artichoke Studio and I don’t plan on changing my site anytime soon. *I’ve also used the Jacqueline theme

Things to consider when purchasing a WordPress theme:

-Make sure the theme comes from a reputable group

-Make sure it’s responsive

-Cost: I suggest a one-time purchase price (you don’t want to keep paying a fee year after year)

-Make sure the theme is a visual match for your content

-Make sure the theme supports your business needs (social, ads, email field, side bar, comments, search field, SEO, etc.)

-Make sure the theme developers have great customer support – especially if you’re new to the WordPress experience.

-Have fun – you’re going to be in complete control of your site and it’s totally liberating – no more generic templates

Check out the some of the Bluchic themes here.

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