We have a longstanding gathering here called “Designers Unite.” Once a month, designers get together and share observations and insights. Recently, we decided to reinterpret the title — is it about united designers, or is it about the power of designers to unite others?
We chose the latter, and that’s made the time together more engaging, active, and inviting to other disciplines. Designers Unite is now an open invitation to the entire studio. And guest speakers.
Shifting perspectives is valuable for how we think and what we make. So by creating an environment where we can do that together, regardless of our individual roles, we’re making space for new ideas. We’ve begun to experiment in the unfamiliar to hopefully find something new in what’s become familiar work to us.
This new format kicked off with Future Fonts, a type marketplace and platform founded by Lizy Gershenzon and Travis Kochel of Scribble Tone. While their work has practical implications on our work, it was also an interesting opportunity to hear how a two-person studio gets things done differently than our 45-person studio. How their ability to deep-dive into one project at a time allows for learnings to evolve sequentially, each project affecting the next.
We also hosted Tera Hatfield, Design Director for Torch 3D — an AR technology startup — who shared insight into the work while in their beta phase, and Traci Sym and Daniel Meyers from Plus & Greater Than — an experience design studio. All are thinking through user experience, much like we do on both branding and digital projects. Whether physically or digitally, the strategy is quite similar, and the differences in how they approach it provide a fresh perspective on ours.
Glowbox’s Thomas Wester and Ben Purdy also came in to share some AR/VR knowledge, where we discussed common user journeys: orientation, interaction, and knowledge. While for them it might refer to the first introduction to this type of technology, in our space, it’s a user’s pathway through a website or a brand experience.
So even when our work doesn’t necessarily overlap with our speakers’, learning from their process, their innovations, can have an effect on how we look at, or solve, things, too.
Ultimately, with these new unites, our goal is pretty simple: to creatively work through things together that may be indirectly related to what we do, but are directly related to our creative sensibilities.
Looking to next year, we plan to build on the shift that’s already happened, inviting folks to come in and speak, but also get our hands on more physical creative expressions to think outside of our own regiments.
Because inspiration is usually best when shared.