Inspiring the B2B designer

As a designer in B2B, I don’t tend to get much time to look at the most exciting designs of the year. I rarely get to talk typography, layout, paper; meet designers and be the massive geek that I am with my passion for everything design.

So last week was my favourite week in a very long time. I donned a purple wristband and it led me to the creative paradise that was D&AD design festival 2016.

From the second I tied the wristband, I instantly felt more creative, rejuvenated and generally excited. To then be handed the beautifully designed booklet detailing the very exciting features of the next 3 days, well I was in my element.

D&AD Festival 2016 booklet

The whole experience was pretty nice. At first, walking in by myself was a little intimidating, but the funny thing is when people are passionate about the same thing, I usually find that they can bond over it very easily.

The festival was filled with design fever; everyone I met was so motivated and expressive of their passions. I instantly felt like a better designer just for being there, from the students to the designers to the super designers.

For me It all started with a talk by a man named Benoit Vancauwenberghe, a man so passionate, so inspiring and so excited, I couldn’t stop the little cogs in my brain immediately working to think – how I can make my creative process more like his?! How could I be more like him?! I went back to my office that day so ready to make a difference to the world with my designs.

Benoit Vancauwenberghe

Each talk was a new and valuable lesson: a new way of being the most interesting, new ways of tackling a brief, and how to use our time wisely to produce our best work.

My key takeaways from the festival are:

  • Be passionate
  • Create long term goals
  • Be critical of work
  • The journey and the process is just as important as the final product
  • Be comfortable with being uncomfortable
  • Learn from everyone
  • Commit
  • Be visible
  • Be relevant
  • Disruption can affect design

Design advice

One of most important key takeaway for me was “work fast, fail fast”.

It’s so easy for me to forget to take it slow and work at a pace that allows me to really be critical of my work. In the world of B2B, where everything was needed yesterday, it can be hard to find inspiration. But mingling with all these creatives and seeing how they work, seeing their beautiful designs, has inspired me.

And of course my favourite part of the whole festival was being handed a gift by Sir Paul Smith! That was an honour and I loved his talk. The way in which he sees the world is inspiring and I hope to take that away and not allow myself to forget it.

Paul Smith D&AD Festival 2016

Something he said that stuck with me is, “If you aren’t inspired by something it’s because you aren’t looking hard enough”. I’ll try and remember that in all my future design projects.