Staying inspired is one of the most challenging problems that designers face. In the Design Inspiration Exploration course, you will learn six explorations on how to stay inspired when you’re stuck in a creative rut.
Designer of the Week Lauren Dickens is a talented freelancer as well as a designer at Helms Workshop, an independent, strategic brand design studio with clients like Jack Daniel’s, Hasbro and Modest Mouse. On her website, Dickens declares a “penchant for design things, brand stuff, and good times,” and we think you’ll see this reflected in her purposeful design work below.
Name: Lauren Dickens
Location: Austin, TX
How would you describe your work? Overall I’d say I have a pretty clean sensibility. I tend to use bold colors to create contrast and simple, expressive forms to communicate ideas. I strive to create things that feel purposeful, with clever quirks that add a bit of wit and levity to the work. My email signature says it best: Shapes & letters.
Design school attended, if applicable: BFA in Design from The University of Texas at Austin
Where do you find inspiration?
Is it a cop-out to say everywhere? I don’t purposely search for inspiration—it somehow seems less genuine if you’re constantly seeking it out. I try to let those moments of clarity hang around when they do arrive. It’s so easy to gloss over things these days with the constant influx of sensory information we internalize each day. It’s refreshing when something stops you in your tracks and makes you take pause for a second. That stuff usually happens away from a computer screen.
Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?
Ed Ruscha, Shigeo Fukuda, Paul Rand, Barbara Kruger to name some oldies. Always following Steve Powers, Dan Christofferson, Sara Andreasson, and Cleon Peterson, just to name a few. I’m also really fortunate be involved in a large community of amazingly talented folks across all disciplines here in town. Constantly pushed by them.
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on? And is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
Working as a brand designer, I’ve learned not to be too precious about the work I do. If it serves its purpose out in the world, then I’ve done my job. That’s the reward—to see something you created take on a life of its own in someone else’s hands. Each project presents its own unique set of demands, which is a good thing. It’d be really boring to solve the same problem over and over, which is why I’m not a plumber, among other reasons.
Something that’s particularly challenging to me is designing for yourself. Whether it be personal projects, self-curation, or putting clothes on in the morning, the presentation is solely on you. Complete freedom can be crippling. Second guesses turn into three or four. To combat this, I’ve been thinking less about myself as a highly-sensitive, easily-discouraged human being and more as a super-confident, well-conditioned design locomotive. It’s all about perspective!
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I’m putting some concepts in motion I’ve had stewing for a bit. In the coming years I’d like to broaden my focus and utilize my design sensibilities in more practical, tactical applications. By that I mean, I’ll be making more stuff that you can hold, wear, or otherwise use. I just wanna make things people relate to, man. You can follow me on Instagram to get updates on that, as well as plenty of dog pictures.
What’s your best advice for designers today?
Wipe out fear. Stop comparing. Find distinction in your process and exploit the hell out of it. People are attracted to things that are substantial—that resonate. Anything that is farce or imitation will not last. Be confident in your abilities, but open to growth. Have some fun.
Do you design your own typefaces? Are you passionate about type-centric design work? Have you produced an excellent handlettered project? If so, we want to see your work. All too often, typeface designs, typographic designs and handlettering get overlooked in competitions—which is why Print developed a competition that gives the artforms their full due and recognizes the best designers in each category. Enter Print’s Typography & Lettering Awards today. DEADLINE: NOVEMBER 20, 2015