April 12, 2017

Design & Grits: 10 Takeaways from Creative South 2017

Creative South 2017

Push10 visited historic Columbus Georgia for an immersive weekend of design-centered thinking, collaboration, and exploration at Creative South 2017.

We thoroughly enjoyed the inspiring line-up of speakers and had the opportunity to collaborate, compete, and #hugnecks with some very talented designers. Inspired by dozens of motivational conference speakers, we’ve put together our top 10 bold design-life takeaways for creative folks of all types.

Badge from Creative South 2017

1. Embrace your competition.

We quickly learned that at the core of the Creative South conference is community. While a little friendly competition can be healthy, the best work in our industry comes from a place of collaboration, mutual understanding, and respect. Celebrate each other.

2. Be the right size fish in the right size pond.

If you’ve become complacent and don’t have opportunities to learn, find a bigger pond. If you’re floundering and overwhelmed, search for a smaller pond where you can grow through the support of a more intimate community. Find the work environment that helps you grow, not the one that looks best on LinkedIn. If you aren’t growing in some way you are regressing.

3. Your WHO is more important than your DO.

When you let the things you Do become Who you are, you’ll sell yourself short and lose sight of your relationships, your creativity, and your contentment. The quality and consistency of your work may even suffer. Reclaim your Who by prioritizing personal joy and satisfaction in daily activities. Side hustles and extracurricular activities are wonderful, but some people’s side project just needs to be rest. Own your time, don’t let it own you. Available work always takes available time.

4. Don’t define your job by your title.

As designers, we help companies figure out who, what, where, and how they will achieve their goals. It’s important to constantly stretch, push, and morph our tools and tactics across disciplines to solve these challenges with design thinking. Your title and tools will come and go. Your thinking & curiosity is what matters.

5. The best clients are made, not found.

Take the time to educate your clients. Meet them where they’re at with empathy. Over time, a mutual trust and understanding will allow for the true collaboration and partnership that leads to incredible, innovative design solutions. The quality of your client relationships is up to you.

6. Find someone who pokes holes in your work.

At it’s most basic, design is craft coming together with concept. Designers need to be masters of both. If you aren’t able to articulate the “why” behind what you do, find a mentor who can help you develop your strategic thinking. Design is not art. Design has a business responsibility.

7. Be a full stack human.

Stop trying to be the best at everything and try to be the best human instead. At the end of the day, we’re all just people, and it’s the support you provide for others that matters most. Help others whenever you can.

8. Stop saying sorry.

Don’t use “sorry” as a filler word. No one wants to hear empty apologies. Instead, speak about the solution you have created or intend to create. Speak like a problem solver, because you are one.

9. Yes, and…

Don’t just say yes. Collaborate. Build on other’s ideas to make a better solution. Make the phrase “yes, and..” part of your daily vernacular. Good ideas are not created in a vacuum.

10. Failure is an event, not a person.

It’s okay to fail sometimes. When failures do happen, it’s important to remember that they are events. These events don’t define you. In fact, these events can serve as a guide that set you up for success. Failure is the tuition you pay for life’s lessons.