Back Keeping creative, positive, and focused during lockdown
Last month, Pentawards launched the first in a series of Instagram Takeovers hosted by top creatives and designers to help share some positivity, inspiration, and tips for those working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Mauro Porcini, Senior VP & Chief Design Officer at PepsiCo
- Designer Karim Rashid, Designer
- Carolina Alzate Alvarez, CEO of OpenLab and Pentawards Jury Member
- Kelly McKenzie, Founder and Creative Director of White Bear
- Steve Honour, Design Manager Europe & Africa at Diageo and Pentawards Jury Member
- Thomas Herman, Founder and Marketing Director at Path
- Founders of Taxi Studio, Spencer Buck, Alex Bane, Ryan Willis, and Aart Jan Van Triest, Non-Executive Director
See below the designers and agencies we heard from and links to their full takeovers.
Mauro Porcini, Senior VP & Chief Design Officer at PepsiCo
“Real design is about us as human beings, our talent and ability to create something that is meaningful for the world and for others. Right now that’s more important than ever”
In the first live stream takeover, Mauro highlighted how designers should take this time to grow, re-prioritise and focus on being good humans. He discussed how this is also a great opportunity to take time to connect with others, appreciating having more time to spend with family, but to also connect with those we know are alone and who may be struggling.
Mauro shared three incredible things that he has seen recently that he found inspiring:
1. The way that nature is healing and coming back (with the example of the dolphins returning to the coast of Sardinia and water in the canals in Venice becoming clearer)
2. The amount of love and solidarity people are showing for each other (from singing on Italian balconies to his own personal experiences)
3. And seeing all the possible ways creativity is helping the world (with 3D prints of PPE, and how it can help amplify messaging)
Karim Rashid, Designer
‘Design needs to regain that sense of feeling, aesthetic, and problem solving’
Karim talked about the notion of design, how design is about problem-solving and how it needs to regain that sense of feeling and aesthetic.
As designers, we need to ask ‘is it functional, practical smart, experiential, emotional, engaging? Is it solving a problem?’ He also believes that moving forward, designers have to push themselves even more in the digital age to be original and creative.
But how do we do it? In packaging design, for example, we shouldn’t be original just for the sake of it but should do it by being hyper perceptive of the world today.
He shared an example of his process when recently designing dish soap bottle packaging, and how designers can be their own test dummies, as at the end of the day they are consumers too. “Very simple things can inspire us, but you have to be perceptive and hyper-aware, look around you, how can you make it feel better, look better, make a better experience”. Design is a social act, about the betterment of everyday life and society.
Carolina Alzate Alvarez, CEO of OpenLab and Pentawards Jury Member
"This moment of uncertainty is an opportunity to create something new"
During her takeover, Carolina discussed how designers and brands should use this moment as an opportunity to create something new, to create a new world where we share and collaborate.
“It’s not just about the awards, but giving people the beauty and hope. Right now we need to keep hope for everyone, with the same message, and we have the responsibility to do this.”
She goes on to say that right now, we need to do something from love and positivity. For designers, that’s a huge responsibility because they have the ability to redesign everything, to redesign their lives, and to make it happen for everyone. During this moment of uncertainty, designers have the opportunity to create something new for a world that needs beauty and positivity.
She also suggested that now more than ever, brands need to be responsible with the messages they are sending out to people. They need to show that they care about their clients, that they are healthy and have a positive mind.
Kelly McKenzie, Founder and Creative Director of White Bear
Kelly and her team took a slightly different approach, sharing images from their home workspaces and tips on what she has been doing to keep the team motivated.
What’s been keeping her inspired? “The sense of community, with industries seeing people at their best, especially in the creative industries. Everyone is doing their bit”.
Since lockdown came into force, some of the key ways the team have been keeping in touch and staying positive are:
• Daily brainstorms: taking time out every day to discuss ideas around the company, clients or other businesses
• Make your workspace welcoming: make your workspace work for you, by decorating it and organising it in your way
• Friday Beer o'clock: don’t forget to socialise, we’re all human (and might be a nice opportunity to meet friends and family!)
Steve Honour, Design Manager Europe & Africa at Diageo and Pentawards Jury Member
“We are in lockdown but our creativity isn’t”
Creativity won’t suffer because it comes from within and there’s a lot of experienced designers that have been creating the most amazing products for years. I feel enlightened by the fact that creativity won’t drop.
As a note to designers, he states that “as long as you are pushing risks, challenges, etc, then you will get the same response from the client”.
“The aim of design hasn’t changed, the circumstances have. Our job as designers is to take risks, push boundaries and challenge perceptions. Our fundamentals stay the same, so I’d advise if you are designing from home, still challenge the perceptions that you would’ve, still push the boundaries”.
“As a client, we know it’s difficult for you, but also know you are capable of doing this work in these times, and we understand everything else that’s happening at the moment, going to have to allow for interruptions”.
“He’s also embracing the new elements of working from home: “what I’m finding incredible from people I’m in contact with is speaking to people in their homes, in a new environment, and trying to embrace that. It’s an exceptional time for us to build relationships”.
Thomas Herman, Founder and Marketing Director at Path
“Taking a different path is more important now that it’s ever been”
We are now creating design for a world that’s ever-changing and will see enormous changes in how we think and our priorities. There is no better time to be thinking about the different paths we can take in the future.
Design can compound behaviours: do the same, buy the same, get the trends. But it can also change behaviour. Let’s understand what we need to do: more of the same? Change? Let’s use design thinking to unlock that.
One positive thing to take as a community is to be proud of the way we think like designers. It’s easy to forget we’re designers because we think in a certain way. But it’s a really good thing. We tend to say YES AND rather than NO BUT and YES AND is what we need at the moment. Designers are fundamentally good at change, we are change-makers, so let’s embrace change.
Thomas also discusses the importance of mental health, and how to keep a positive mindset during this time. “Focus on the present if you are struggling with anxiety. Be cognitive of your behaviour, as your emotions affect your behaviour and vice versa. Being mindful and present is really useful. Think about the here and now, get through it day by day.
Founders of Taxi Studio, Spencer Buck, Alex Bane, Ryan Willis, and Aart Jan Van Triest, Non-Executive Director
“Once you start to acknowledge we are collective that works together, that’s something quite beautiful, meaningful and helps you define your purpose.”
The Founders and Non-Executive Director at Taxi Studio share their learnings on what the current situation has taught them about the design industry and themselves, what creative talent will have learnt from this period, advice on new talent joining the industry and their lockdown saviours.
“We need design now more than ever, we need to re-invent every part of our lives, how we shop, how we experience products. And we need more sustainable solutions, for people, planet and profit. In that order”
“The situation makes us think a lot about ourselves. It’s about the collective output rather than our individual selves, reminding us that we are small component parts, but that actually, we make up a much bigger and better whole. Once you start to acknowledge we are collective that works together, that’s something quite beautiful, meaningful and helps you define your purpose.”