January 2020

NU Year’s Resolutions For Creative People, From Our Designers

8 minutes

As we welcome a new year - and a new decade - our team of designers have been reflecting on a wonderfully creative 2019, and are full of excitement for all that 2020 has in store.

Love or hate them, New Year’s resolutions are the ultimate new year tradition. Tired of making and breaking the same resolutions each year? Take a look at some suggestions from our design team for an inspired, creative and fun 2020. We promise we won’t make you feel bad if you don’t stick with them all.

1. Attend more creative talks and workshops

Keeping up with the creative community and with the latest trends and technology means taking advantage of all the events, talks and workshops on offer for designers. Here are just a few of the creative events that the team are putting in their calendar:

Karen - “I’ll be trying to make it to Nicer Tuesdays, a monthly event run by It’s Nice That. Each month a speaker will share insights from a recent project, showing the ideas and processes behind its making. Fun, candid and ever-eclectic, the talks are a source of inspiration for creative people of all types.” 


Tara - “I love the Glug events, and really would like to attend more this year. Based around a series of talks and informal networking, Glug events are a really great chance to connect with other people across all kinds of creative communities. They run all over the country and internationally as well!” 


Liam - “I plan to attend TED Fest in New York in April which is an event of TED Talks with an audience made up of TEDx event organisers from around the world.” 

To find out what’s going on in your city feel free to take a look at Design Calendar: https://www.designcalendar.io/

2. Take part in regular design challenges

There are countless ways to flex your creative muscles outside of a client brief.  Here are some of the creative challenges the team will be embarking upon: 

Steph - “I’d really like to contribute to 36 days of type this year! It’s a project that invites designers, illustrators and artists to design a letter or number each day! Even if you don’t take part, it’s worth following the project on instagram to see all the creative ways that people approach each symbol and their endless graphic possibilities!”


Em - “I’ve followed poster jam on instagram for a while, but haven’t taken part yet. It’s a monthly design challenge where designers and artists are asked to create a poster design with a single word given each month as inspiration. It’s incredible to see the diversity of creative approaches. My resolution is to try and submit a poster design every month!”  


3. Reach for the design books and magazines

Seeking inspiration and fresh ideas offline is a great excuse to step away from your desk. And what better way to do this than through the wonderful medium of print.

Here are a few design books and magazines that the team currently have on their eye’s on: 

Tara - ‘How to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world’


Laura - ‘Less is More: Limited Colour Graphics in Design’ - https://www.counter-print.co.uk/collections/all-books/products/less-is-more-limited-colour-graphics-in-design

For some book inspiration feel free to check out some of our favorite design book stores:






 4. Start (or commit to) a personal project

Finding the time and motivation to kick-start your side-hustle can be difficult, but the creative rewards and sense of achievement make it all worth it. Here are a couple of side projects that the team plan to get off the ground this year:

Will - “This year, I’d like to commit (again) to creating cartoon poster artworks”

Karen - “I’ll be looking to improve photography skills and attempt a studio shoot” 

Ryan - “I’d like to work on a series of zines” 

 5. Design blogs to actually keep up to date with

We’re all guilty of signing up to (and ignoring) design blogs and e-news letters! But here are a few design blogs that the team will certainly be keeping a close eye on for design inspiration and trend watching:

 Karen - A lovely collection of carefully selected works from around the globe:  https://thedsgnblog.com/tagged/graphic-design

Alicja - Beautiful and inspiring works across graphic design, web design and video:  https://mindsparklemag.com/ 

Will - Established by a group of designers, illustrators, coders who were keen to share the best work they see across the industry. A great resource to see international work, keep up with trends, or just get inspired.


Theo - Lots of illustration and print inspo to be found on the wrap magazine blog: https://wrapmagazine.tumblr.com/ (they have also have a printed edition too!) 

6. Attend design festivals and exhibitions

2020 looks to be an exciting year for exhibitions and design festivals – here are a few of our teams highlights:

Em - “I’d love to get to Doti Festival this year”


Liam - “I must visit the Steve McQueen exhibition at Tate Modern that starts in February”


Some other festival highlights: 

- Offset (Dublin)


- Us By Night (Antwerp) 


- AIGA Design Conference 2020 (US) 


- D&AD Festival 2020 


- The London Design Festival


7. Create the optimal desk environment

We’re lucky enough to be moving to a new studio soon, and we’re busy thinking about how to use the space to create the ultimate calm and creative environment. Here are some of the team's plans for our new home:

Nnamdi - “More plants in the new studio will be nice way to decorate the space and bring a sense of calm!” 

Theo - “I’d like to hear some new artists on our studio Spotify playlist, I’ll be looking for some new music to inspire and energise the team”. 

Liam - ‘We should have space for a little photo/video studio corner for off the cuff photography and videos of what we’re getting up to.’

8. Listen to more creative podcasts for inspiration: 

Make the most of your morning commute by enjoying some audio inspiration to kick-start your day. Here are a few that have caught our attention:

Nnamdi - Design Matters

Will - Magic Lessons


Karen - TED Talks Daily


9. Step away from our screens more  

Taking regular breaks, and stepping away from the computer throughout the day is on the resolutions list for most of the team.

Liam - I’ll be taking Molly for lunchtime walks as a way to take a break. 

Alicja - Whenever I can, i’ll be stepping away from my screen and picking up my pencil and notebook to sketch ideas and layouts.  

Em - As we have a gym and a climbing wall just downstairs at our new office, there’s no excuse not to step away and get some exercise at lunchtime. 

10. Try something new

No matter how much you know, there’s always something new to learn. Weather it’s an online tutorial, and evening class, or a personal challenge here are some of the new skills the team are planning to tackle this year. 

Steph - ‘This year I’m planning to run my first marathon. Wish me luck!’’

Nnamdi - “I’ll be investing some time to learn Motion design”
Jimmy – “I’d really like to start going to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes”

11. See the world

We’re a well-travelled bunch, and for good reason. Traveling to new cities or countries takes us out of comfort zone, stimulates new ways of thinking and brings new inspiration and insights from different cultures. Here are a few of the travel destinations on the team’s list:

Liam - “In December 2020 I hope to visit ‘the trashiest place on earth’ Dollywood.”

Will - “Next year I plan to visit my younger brother out in the US to watch him play football”

Karen - “I’ll be going to Nepal in January and save for a big African adventure for 2021” 

Em - “I have so many places on my travel list, but Helsinki and Alaska are high up on the list”

12. Do one thing to improve your wellbeing  

The resolution to ‘get healthy’ is perhaps the most cliché’d of all the resolutions (and the one often most short-lived). But some small changes go a long way, here are some of the team’s resolutions to improve overall health and wellbeing:

Jimmy - “Start meditating on a daily basis again”

Will - “Take up a sport again”

Karen - “Lunch time gym sessions”

Ryan - “Take up yoga classes again”

Have you set creative resolutions for the year ahead? We’d love to hear about them. 


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