As a designer, I feel I spend A LOT of time searching for new patterns, textures and resources. I have a fairly large collection, but sometimes it’s nice to expand my design horizon. I’ve complied a big list of the best patterns (that don’t suck) that are fresh, new and modern and thought it would benefit others, so I decided to share. Some of them are free, some of them you have to pay for, but most of them are well-worth the dollars. Also, Subtle Patterns is a great resource for minimal textures.
I‘m the type of person that likes to be in control. Of everything. I have always longed to control the way things are and how I want the future to unfold. No matter how much I try to take grasp of my destined path, it always seems to sieve gracefully through my unsuspecting fingers.
I started practising yoga because I not only wanted to keep my body in shape physically, but I also wanted to alleviate stress. I was introduced to hot yoga by one of my good friends and it’s been quite the breakthrough experience. Not only has my experience on the yoga mat infiltrated other areas of my life in powerful ways, but it’s pointed out more things in life I can not bend or stretch. It’s these principles I’ve embodied that have nothing to do with yoga at all.
My first yoga class was nerve-racking. I was immediately greeted with people who had obviously been practicing for years. They appeared calm, elegant and centered. As my first class began, I noticed a pattern in how much emphasis was placed on the importance of the connection of your breath to how your body moves and how this consciousness created a union. This cultivates a balanced attitude towards our practice, and our everyday lives.
Learning to connect with my breath allowed me to become startlingly aware of all the energies that were coming in and out of my body. It made me realize that my body and mind place limitations on me. At times, every cell in my body is screaming “no” – to just take a break and relax. Knowing that you are pushing through the pain, while maintaining a tranquil breathing sequence is an accomplishment in itself. Other times, I had to realize when it was okay to stop, breathe, gain some strength and go back into it.
I’ve always been wound a little tight, but I was never really aware of how much I had bottled up until I started practicing yoga. Even the tension within my face and neck was apparent when I was trying to maintain a steady flow of air into my lungs. I was discouraged. I couldn’t perform certain poses correctly – and I still can’t. It will probably be years before I can effectively achieve these poses, but the lesson in this is to be patient with yourself. As in our careers, it can be monumentally frustrating to feel like you’re standing still in an environment that demands and requires constant growth and focus. Even at the best of times, our work can sometimes feel meaningless and deprived of context. Being patient with myself gave me the ability to listen to my gut, and not always react in an unpleasant way when my physical and spiritual beings are lagging behind.
Yoga teaches you to become aware of your surroundings, aware of your choices and aware of the current state of your body emotionally, spiritually, psychological and physically. I learned to teach myself to stop reacting to situations, but rather to bring awareness to settings that will eventually evoke a sense of appreciation and gratitude within me.
One of the true gifts I’ve been learning to implement is to slow down, breathe and accept possibility.
Good yoga encourages this, to keep connected to the spiritual and emotional world, but to also keep our feet firmly grounded in reality. Having patience is the ability to let go of a desire to get to the end result. This patience has given me the ability to focus on the present, while not concerning myself with the future as much.
I‘m a bit late with this post, but I wanted to take a stab at writing an “Ideas of March” post. (Yes, I know it’s technically May). Chris Shiflett started the blog revival, calling on designers to pledge to write more than they did in the previous year. Meagan Fisher, Sarah Parmenter and Rachel Shillcock have all posted articles that resonate with me deeply. Not only because they are awesome female designers producing exceptional work within the industry, but because I too have the same frustrations of feeling discouraged about my work, the struggles of keeping up with an industry that moves at dizzying speeds, and trying not to succumb to the nervousness I feel even pondering the decisions I have to make within the next year.
“Potential”. It’s something many people have told me already as a designer. “You’re so young, your work is so good for still being in college,” or “I love your style.” Although I appreciate these comments and am genuinly humbled when being compared to more established and seasoned designers, I can’t see it. To be honest, when I look at my work, I can’t even describe a “style” that might be associated with my work because I feel like when I’m designing, I should always be producing the best work – and I feel like I’m not delivering. Maybe it’s a female thing:
“I didn’t work on anything I was especially proud of, I didn’t write anything I feel really good about. I had plenty of treasured moments with my friends and family, but all in all, I’d been living without direction. I don’t want to anymore.” – Meagan Fisher
This quote by Meagan seems absurd to me because Meagan is one of my design idols. I adore everything she designs, writes and talks about. Maybe that’s just her perspective. Just like how I have my own perspective of my work. As designers, it’s a constant battle with our inner critic.
I see such young designers, some of whom I have the privelage of calling my friends, such as Tyler Galpin, Collin Henderson, Rachel Shillcock, Hillary Hopper and Iain MacDonald… people who are SO talented and seem to be so confident in their work for being so young. I feel like I still have so much to learn and that I’m not particularly excelling at anything.
Rachel recently tweeted an article by James Young titled You’re Not at the Cutting Edge, and That’s Fine. This article was a literal sigh of relief for me – to know that I was not the only one feeling overwhelmed.
“There’s a new framework or grid system released every week, some are useful and some aren’t. You don’t have to use them. Guess what, it’s still entirely possible to make a website with a text editor and your brain. These tools are here to potentially make your life easier but if you try and keep up with everything you’re going to feel swamped and lost.” – James Young
I don’t know how to do the latest and greatest in CSS, nor Illustrator. Heck, I’m still trying to find the best way to work in Photoshop. It’s a learning curve, yet it still proves to be continually frustrating trying to teach myself these skills when something bigger and better always keeps coming along.
Keeping up to pace with the design industry is a daunting task that proves to be time-consuming. I’ve lost relationships in my past, some people who I’ve greatly admired and connected with, because I have placed so much emphasis on my work. This is something that I’m not proud of and looking back, I feel like these relationships could of been salvaged. So, there comes a point where you have to ask yourself: “What do I want? For my career, I say I want to make and write and speak. But this leads me to ask: What do I really have to say? What can I make that’s actually meaningful?”
Expectations is a word that also scares me. I’m often frightened by what people think I should be doing, rather than what I feel is right. Expectations are placed on us from parents, friends, co-workers, significant others and more, and in the design industry it can be hard when people place expectations on you without really knowing who you are. I feel that since I have gained a bit of exposure through Twitter, people almost expect you to be “an expert” at what you do. In no way is this the case and at times it can prove to be overwhelming to live up to what others are expecting, whether that be in your design work or other aspects of your career.
Going deeper into finding out why designers such as myself feel this way is important. What is more important, is that these experiences, thoughts and emotions be published – vulnerable and in plain sight for everyone to see. Blogging helps establish our voice, strengthen our confidence and ultimately, helps us become better designers.
If you’re interested in what other people are writing about for the “Ideas of March,” you can follow the Twitter search #ideasofmarch.
“Good design aims to promote those features and values that are timeless. Truly great design embodies them in a way that cannot be forgotten.” – David Bushell
Dear Photograph is a lovely blog where people submit photographs of old photos taken over the original. Browsing through the pictures, my mind started wondering how these nostalgic photos have a connection to design.
Our job as designers is to build meaningful associations and connections between people. Designers achieve experiences of emotional feeling that have a lasting effect; an experience full of purpose and meaning. (more…)
Using grids in web design isn’t a new trend, but what designers are doing within these boundaries is pretty amazing. These designs break the mold of the traditional and adapt easily to different screen resolutions and mobile users. Grid intensive layouts on the web is something to keep an eye out for. I have a feeling we might see more of this style in the future.
In a recent article written by Zeldman.com, he outlines some statistics about how men are continually outnumbering women at web conferences, such as An Event Apart. The New York Public Library did a study to find out some statistics about the percentage of women in our field. Here’s what they found:
- Men outnumber women in this workforce by over three to one.
- The percentage of women employed in the field is declining instead of growing.
- Women who participate in the field may not be promoted as often or as high as their male colleagues.
Being a women in the web design industry, it’s nice to see other talented and accomplished women that I can turn to for inspiration. Here’s a list of the top design portfolios of women on the Internet.