So you spent 2015 exercising regularly, eating right, and spending quality time with the family, but how are you going to top last year’s resolutions? Why not try to improve your creative abilities? They’re way more important than that other stuff anyway. Here are your top five 2016 design resolutions.
1. End the Typeface Diet
As new operating systems have been released, the list of available typefaces has grown to include some solid choices: Helvetica, Futura, Baskerville, Garamond, and Gill Sans continue to find purpose. Typefaces however, as the veneer of language, should reflect the cultures of their content. We do a disservice if we put the southern Romantic language of Mark Twain in a Swiss sans serif or the succinct writing of Hemingway in an ornate Italian serif. Therefore, resolution number one on this list is expanding effort to discover these representational typefaces and reduce the visual homogeny that is breeding generic design.
2. Use Your Personal Time…To Design
After an entire workday of molding webpages, logos, and advertisements, it can be difficult to find the motivation to continue designing for yourself. It’s much easier to binge watch that British detective mini-series you’ve heard so much about, than spend an hour fiddling with color in Illustrator. By adopting our client’s motivation permanently, we limit our creative capabilities. We lose the opportunity to experiment, to think what a poster would look like if you spent two months instead of two days working on it, or what a logo would look like if you carved it out of a potato. Apart from being highly enjoyable, these self-prompted assignments may actually motivate, inform, and inspire your commercial design. Make the effort to design something for yourself in 2016.
3. Visit a Design Museum
While many blogs and gallery websites contain vast examples of art and design, nothing beats directly observing these implementations. Especially if your work is primarily digital, it’s important to see physical representations that prompt questions like, “What does vibrant red look like without a LED backlit?” or, “Just how large is 72 pt type anyway?” Museums also guarantee a diverse selection with high aesthetic standards. While the Internet gives us accessibility to a large selection of work, rarely does it facilitate exploration. After finding a personally appeasing source, exploration ceases, inspiration becomes homogeneous, and creative thinking dissipates. The Stedelijk, Cooper-Hewitt, and Victoria & Albert museums are exciting places to start.
4. Find Your Design Community
Without an accessible design community, motivation and inspiration can run low. For the duration of an art or design program, you are constantly supported by peers who critique and deliver a creative dialogue. Post-grad life may contrast, and work that involves freelancing can be isolating. This prospective community doesn’t need to be as present as your studio mates from college: they can be online organizations, classes at a community collage, or local chapters of AIGA.
5. Redo the Resume
The content of a resume is not static, so why should the design be? Take everything you learned from the past year and use it to update the legibility and aesthetics of the document crucial to your career. Maybe you’ve developed a new eye for negative space or have added a new color to your personal brand. Whatever the reason, do not overlook your resume- it’s the first piece of your portfolio. Updating your resume yearly also prevents the year’s hard work from being forgotten. Even if you’ve held the same occupation, did you win awards or volunteer? Did a blog feature your work, or did you participate in any seminars? A little reflection can not only improve this self-promotion, but also encourage future achievement.
Hopefully these resolutions may inspire some thoughtful design. Whether you’re creating yourself or observing the work of others, consider your aspirations and 2016 will be a fantastic year for design.