2007 HOW Conference- ATL

I'm not sure who's camera this came from, but this is a blurry group of HOWies
in the Hyatt lobby. (L-R) Nick (N2), Steve (SAW), Elke (G-girl), Patti (Pad Thai),
Mary (ME!), and Steph (Delineate).

TOAST: How to Make Burnout Delicious

Kevin McConky of Grip Design talked about productivity in the face of burnout. For past conference goers, you may recognize some of Grip's work - they designed the spiffy little 2-way guidebook for the 2005 Chicago HOW conference.

One of the key points to Kevin's presentation : As designers, we need to stop being the "makers of things" and start being the "thinkers of things". Fortunately, I do get the opportunity to be a "thinker of things" as well as a "maker of things". Even in my University setting, we have occasions when a client says they need a brochure and we can then turn around and say "Well, maybe what you really need is a _______. Let us show you how doing something different will help you stand out". Those are the best jobs to design.

Another point Kevin made was "Creativity is not a well...it's an ecosystem". Well's dry up while ecosystems branch out and adapt. As designers, we need to use all the resources at our disposal - our surroundings and each other - for inspiration.

Something that Kevin said helps him keep up with the pace and manage is to list everything. Kevin talked about making lists that prioritize not only job-related tasks, but life-related tasks so that you make sure work doesn't take over your life. If you make sure you cover some of the "fun things" on your list as well as your work related items, you'll reduce the chances of burn out and give yourself the mental breaks you need to maintain a level of productivity.

The last point, of many, that I will mention is "Under promise and over deliver". In his session, he didn't delve too deeply into this topic, but I think we all know the power of this small step in dealing with clients. In my opinion we should take this same attitude with ourselves. Each time we set out to design something, make sure we give 150%! In the end, maybe we surprise ourselves with how much we deliver!

Up next: Armin Vit's School of Hard Knocks