Last year, I asked 12 design leaders what their new year’s resolutions were. This year, I continue the tradition with 8 incredible leaders in the design industry on their own creative design resolutions. The good news? 2019 is looking pretty sweet.
Creative Design Resolutions for 2019
An Xiao Mina
Author, Memes to Movements
I resolve to apply design in service of justice, against the forces of hate, propaganda and authoritarianism, and to always remember that design plays a role in reinforcing and amplifying long-running systems of oppression.
International speaker, strategic creative, advocate for positive social change
- Be brave. Don’t let fear or pain stop progress and growth.
- Be reliable, responsive, realistic, and therefore trustworthy.
- Ruthlessly and unapologetically prioritize who and what you love.
- Recognize and invest in the good things in the world.
Chair of Design and Associate Professor at USC Iovine and Young Academy
More novels and less news
More Beto and less Cruz
More yes and less no
More glee and less woe
More saving and less spending
More beginning and less ending
More collect and less scatter
More silence and less chatter
More doing and less thinking
More growing and less shrinking
More exercise and less sweets
More accept and less deletes
More always and less never
More wise and less clever
Freelance graphic designer
My 2019 resolution is to get better at saying ‘no.’ Freelancing was always attractive to me because of the freedom, but without any constraints, I’ve found myself saying ‘yes’ to everything, which means overbooking myself to the point of overwhelm. It’s a good problem to have: too many client opportunities, too many speaking invitations, too many workshops, but it’s still a problem that I’m learning how to navigate.
I think part of this resolution is remembering that I am a human being, not a creative lettering machine whose purpose is to create as much work and income as possible. It seems silly to need to remind myself of that, but I definitely need to every now and then.
Strategic designer and lecturer
For a while now I’ve been thinking that one should strive to maintain a kind of balance: Do Make Say Think (like the name of the band). On the one hand, in the current context, there is a huge emphasis on doing and making stuff. Unfortunately, most of the time this takes the shape of an uncritical type of ‘doerism’. On the other hand, a lot of people that put great effort into thinking only end up saying things but not doing anything.
As a strategic designer and lecturer, I tend to fall on the second camp. Last year was very good in terms of learning, teaching, writing and speaking. In 2019, I really want to shift the balance towards making and doing—while trying to keep a critical perspective, of course.
There is a large-scale and urgent context for this resolution. As the recent report from the IPCC clearly stated, the next decade will be crucial if we want to avoid the worst scenarios of climate change. There is plenty to do and make on that front. Starting next year, I want to increasingly align my work with that aim.
President, AIGA Los Angeles | Art Director
I plan to embrace the awkward pauses in conversations instead of filling them with words—taking the time to really listen to others, not to rush to judgment or ready my response. We all have the ability to be advocates, catalysts to make the world better, to embrace the pauses and listen with intention. I look forward to hearing more in the spaces between the sentences.
Founder & Chief Creative Officer, dreams • design + life
2018 encompassed a lot of change for me as I started dreams • design + life, a boutique innovation firm that seeks to unlock human potential through the creation of empathic and holistic experiences. Prior to that, my career represented mostly big-company experience with chapters in engineering, business and design. While running my own business is new territory and full of interesting volatility, I’m enjoying the creative freedom to experiment on all curiosities (e.g. client work, video blogging, serving on boards of design communities, and investing in startups).
For 2019, I want to double-down on the convictions that led me to start this firm. I truly believe in the power of integrating physical and digital experiences, and I’m committing to regularly making “things” (i.e. prototypes, experiments, etc.), daily, weekly or monthly no matter if it’s attached to a client or my own investigation. I also want to commit to the video blog more regularly, as I find the more I share with my community, the more I free myself (and my mind) to learn in the same respect.
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Iowa State University
I haven’t been inclined to make New Year’s resolutions recently. Instead I have tried to regularly identify things I need to work on and ways I can improve. That being said, being asked to participate in this does offer a great opportunity for reflection as much as any other time of year. These are things that I am going to work on over the next year in the hopes that they have a broader, lasting impact on who I am as a designer, artist, educator, and human.
For the next year, I will work on:
- Better sleeping habits. This is something I have not prioritized and the effects in many aspects of life, work, and wellness are _really_ beginning to show.
- Listening better. Both in my work as a sound artist, in my position as a educator, and in my activities in the community. This is especially important in today’s cultural climate but is also necessary with my closest family and friends.
- Finding ways to use my position(s) and privilege(s) to help others. I don’t always know the best ways to support those who need it but I am going to be less afraid to try.
- Letting those who are important to me know it. I have amazing people in my life and out-of-sight often still means top-of-mind. I need to reach out more so they know.
Designers, what are your resolutions for now and tomorrow? Make sure to leave a comment letting us know and consider if one of your resolutions is about your professional next steps. If so, HOW Design Live is coming in May and could certainly help you discover the answers you need.