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Designers Should Be Continuously Redefining

Paul Federico

August 21, 2013
Paul Federico

Designers should be continuously redefining their worldview because the world is continuously redefining itself. We need to keep up with the people we’re trying to reach.

Here’s what I do to keep up with the world.

Leave the house. Behind every great man is a woman who makes him put on pants and get outside. Go to the mall. Be a consumer. See the promotions, the package design, fonts, see what people are wearing…unless it’s Walmart; then just look at the package design.

When I’m out I try not to stare at my phone. Heck, who am I kidding. I do a lot of antisocial phone behavior. I recommend you follow these design folks on twitter: Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch (@holyokehirsch), Just Design @justdesign, Jeffrey Zeldman (@zeldman), Erik Spiekermann (@espiekermann), Jessica Walsh (@jessicawalsh)

Listen to a different radio station every week. Even that one station that makes your ears bleed.  Chances are you’ll have to develop a creative strategy to woo those people. Better find out what they like to dance to.

Check in on TV shows. You don’t have to like “Under the Dome” (or my daughter’s favorite “Dance Moms”) you just have to know what all the silliness is about. Think of it as eating your pop culture spinach.

See a show. Go to a gallery. A museum. A gentleman’s club (just wanted to see if you were paying attention). Sure, a museum may seem stodgy, but I’m sure a work by Kenny Scharf (pictured above) or Jeff Koons can get you excited.

Talk to your co-workers. Actually, I should say listen to your co-workers. No one wants to hear about you not wearing pants.