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Design for Life: How to Survive a Career in Design38:05 with Arthur Irving
Whether you work at home or in a studio, your work environment and approach to work is so important. Your desk, your kit, your eating habits - they matter more than you think. Arthur will share how a decade of physical pain led him to focus on how he works as much as on his output - and the difference it made. He'll also share how running a marathon has helped him run a studio and why, in our hectic digital lives, toasting marshmallows, climbing trees and swimming in lakes are not just fun but essential!
[MUSIC] 0:00 [APPLAUSE] Hello, everybody. 0:12 How's everybody feeling? 0:17 Energized? 0:18 Inspired. 0:19 Listen I gave her about three fun facts and 0:21 that was one she pointed out so >> [LAUGH] 0:23 >> Just don't blame me for it. 0:24 So welcome, my name is Arthur, and this is Design for Life. 0:27 The year 2000. 0:34 It's a long time ago. 0:35 This is me. 0:37 That's not a pretty gentrified studio in Hoxton. 0:38 What I'm doing here, is I'm doing a bit designing, a bit coding, 0:42 a bit editing, out in a mock out in India. 0:45 In Varanasi, India. 0:48 We were doing job for channel four, where we were doing a broadcast, every day, 0:49 in the Camilla Festival, one of the biggest gatherings of people known to man. 0:54 Things have changed a lot since then. 0:58 As an example, the tools of my trade were this. 1:00 I don't know if anyone can relate to this or anyone remembers these things. 1:04 At home, and after you, I bought this lovely Power Mac G3, a lovely machine. 1:07 Now I don't know if you remember the monitors in those days. 1:12 At work, I had to become more colorful G4. 1:14 In terms of my mobile phone of choice, I had this Nokia 7110. 1:18 This is way before iPhones and the best feature of the 7110, 1:23 the matrix phone, was it flipped out the front. 1:27 It was super-cool. 1:30 Texting was a bit of an issue but, you know, I liked the phone. 1:31 In terms of the software we used, OS 9 was about at that time. 1:34 Now the best feature of OS 9 was that you got in your working day, you hit go, 1:40 you started off, you could to the kitchen of your agency, 1:45 make yourself a cup of tea, make all the people in your agency a cup of tea, 1:48 comeback and the thing still hadn't started up. 1:52 Here we go. 1:55 So that's OS 9. 1:55 And in terms of my preferred application, Photoshop. 1:57 And the thing about Photoshop, it kinda still feels familiar. 2:00 They've changed a few bits, but this is a familiar feel. 2:03 In terms of the Web, it [SOUND] Google was just about coming out in these days, so 2:08 it was just in its nascent stages. 2:12 It wasn't obvious to Google something to search for a website. 2:14 So that was Google. 2:18 And in terms of social networking I thought I'd introduce you to this, 2:19 what I was using at the time, Black Planet. 2:22 Now, if you remember, things were a lot more niche then, this was 15 years ago. 2:25 So people had these niche social networks. 2:29 Black Planet, let me explain, was a social network for black college kids. 2:31 Yeah. 2:35 I subscribe maybe to get a girlfriend maybe I don't know. 2:36 Maybe make a few friends. 2:39 It failed miserably. 2:40 I made two, maybe three friends. 2:41 Was on it for about two weeks but and then gave up. 2:43 So that was that. 2:46 I think the point at the time was I didn't really now what I was doing. 2:48 We were kind of winging it as we went along. 2:51 I was part editor. 2:53 Part designer. 2:54 Part front end guy and I was making it all up, as I went along. 2:55 But that was kind of the charm of the time. 2:59 I think the people in my office thought I was somewhere between, 3:00 print designer and IT support. 3:05 >> [LAUGH] >> But my job roles went from this, 3:07 I went from intern to in-house, I went from permanent, to freelance. 3:11 From contractor to forming a partnership, and 3:17 forming a partnership to running my own agency. 3:20 Significantly, I went from running my own agency to wanting to give up and 3:24 quit completely. 3:27 What this talk about is today is about where I went from that point to 3:29 this point right here, when I'm talking to you right now. 3:33 How I managed to. 3:36 Where I'm talking to you now how I managed to, 3:37 salvage some form of career and reignite the inspiration and passion in my career. 3:41 What I want to talk to you about is 3:47 what you should work on to maintain focus and clarity. 3:49 How your setup can lead you to a better lifestyle and indulge me how running has 3:53 helped me re-evaluate why I'm working in design in the first place. 3:58 As I'll explain, a lot's changed since the year 2000. 4:06 As designers, you'd have a much different challenge to what we had at the time. 4:08 None of us really know how this profession's gonna look in say, four or 4:13 five years time. 4:16 Part of this is because of the pace of change of technology. 4:17 The method, the medium, even the tools we use are changing day by day. 4:21 So, for us, how do we find confidence in an uncertain profession? 4:25 The key is, for me, to control how you approach your work. 4:30 So, the first thing I wanna do before I even kick off, is start by defining work. 4:33 I'm gonna point to a TED talk, I don't know if anyone's seen it. 4:39 A TED talk by Stephen Sagmeister, the power of time off. 4:42 I'm assuming some of you are familiar with this. 4:44 In which he defines work as one of three things. 4:47 The first thing he defines work as is your calling. 4:51 Now your calling is a fundamental prerequisite to your career as a designer. 4:54 Something which you've been inspired to become a designer by. 4:57 It's the kind of things that you do for free. 5:00 So for me, the way I started was doing graffiti jeans for my friends. 5:03 And t-shirts, back when actually did things like that. 5:06 The next aspect of a work, is your career. 5:10 The one to climb your ladder. 5:14 Gain advancement and promotion. 5:16 Career, obviously you want to rise as part of a design career. 5:18 And the last aspect is the job in and itself. 5:23 The aspects of your design career which you do for money. 5:25 This is probably the most fundamental part. 5:28 Everybody needs to pay bills, everybody needs to pay their rent or mortgage. 5:31 The trouble with doing work for money, or doing anything for money, 5:35 is that after a while, think of become samey, there's a problem. 5:39 You start to copy things, iterate, and so on and so forth. 5:43 So you have a sameness to your career. 5:47 You can become bored by the process. 5:50 So taking it back to me and 5:51 my example, it was a job elevant all those years which took over. 5:53 I focused on the job aspect. 5:57 And the more business aspects rather than the creative. 5:59 As such, I've regularly had creative blocks and wanted a way out. 6:01 What my trick was, was to focus on the more calling element, 6:06 the creative element. 6:08 I focused on why I wanted to get into business in the first place. 6:10 And what I want you to do, is focus on why you got into design in the first place. 6:13 And keep on reminding, every single step of the way. 6:17 Shall we start? 6:21 Design what you do. 6:24 Determining what you do can have a huge impact on the rest of your 6:27 career in design. 6:30 But what's a digital designer these days? 6:33 It's a many and varied thing. 6:35 Listen, I haven't done a very good or comprehensive study and 6:37 I don't think there's one out there. 6:40 I searched and I searched I and didn't find anything particularly satisfying. 6:41 Maybe it's another piece of work, maybe it's something we ought to do. 6:44 But with collating a few sources what I found was the following. 6:48 60 to 65 of us, percent of us are an employee of a company. 6:50 40 to 50 are self-employed or freelance. 6:56 On average, a web designer will work about 40 to 45 hours per week. 7:00 And 65% are satisfied by their job. 7:04 I don't know how that relates to this room and 7:07 these stats are collated from about five or six different sources. 7:09 I fudged them together, and this is about the best I could do at the time. 7:12 What, again from my perspective, three years ago, 7:16 I was losing motivation by the day. 7:18 I was working 16, 17 hours a day. 7:20 And loosing motivation day by day. 7:23 What would help me wasn't working harder, but working smarter. 7:25 I partnered with somebody for 7:29 the business aspect, I limited the hours I spent in the office. 7:30 And fundamentally I made sure I did things I enjoyed. 7:34 The question for me wasn't was taking the time or importantly the time off. 7:38 Now, I'm gonna refer to this talk once more, the Power of Time Off. 7:45 And I urge you, if you haven't heard this talk, go and do so. 7:49 It's not particularly long or onerous or difficult to view. 7:51 But it points to a fundamental truth about all designers. 7:54 Is that, once in a while, you're gonna need to reset yourself. 7:57 Reinspire all of those creative juices. 8:00 How Sagmeister does this is that one year, every seven years he goes away. 8:03 He takes a one year holiday. 8:07 And that's to say he shuts down his agency completely and goes away for 8:08 a one year sabbatical. 8:12 The reason for this is to pursue some little experiments, 8:14 things are always difficult to accomplish during the working year. 8:18 Well that's great. 8:22 That's great for Sagmeister, not all of us can do this. 8:22 For myself, I've managed maybe three, maybe four months. 8:25 I went to Cuba one year, which was fantastic, but 8:27 then I knew I had to work hard when I got back. 8:30 So, what can we do? 8:32 Practically, there are a few solutions for both freelancers and contracted employees. 8:35 For example, as a freelancer, you can divide your working month into work you do 8:40 for your clients or your employer, and work you do for yourself. 8:44 As a permanent member of staff, you may want to negotiate time with your employer, 8:49 to determine how you do for your creative network, for your creative output. 8:54 In all cases, leave time and space. 8:59 To pursue your little experiments, but 9:01 if you don't have time, it's worth making a plan, and 9:05 a strict plan, to engage in the passion projects alongside your work. 9:10 So number two, Passion Projects. 9:15 For me, passion projects are the life blood to any designer. 9:18 The idea that your work begins and 9:22 ends with you creatively, you just have to consign that to the dustbin. 9:24 A good example, again, 9:27 quoting from Sagmeister's team is Jessica Walsh, 40 Days of Dating. 9:28 I don't know if you're aware of this again, but 9:32 what she did, she chronicled her dating history for 40 days with another designer. 9:34 The blog went viral, over ten million views. 9:39 And it's soon to become a Hollywood motion picture, of all things. 9:41 But that's fine talking about her, I want to bring it a bit closer to home. 9:45 A great example of a Passion Project, and somebody who does this well, is Matt, 9:48 from our agency. 9:53 Day in, day out, Matt does our interface design, does a pretty job of it but 9:54 at evenings, at weekends, and his time off. 9:58 He creates pastiche movie posters. 10:01 Mat creates and sells them on his website, he often has gallery views. 10:04 Listen, it can eat into his time at the agency. 10:09 He works evenings and weekends. 10:11 He sometimes takes time off to do this. 10:13 How important is this? 10:16 Well, it's fundamental. 10:17 He brings back the creativity he does with these posters back into the studio. 10:19 I always prefer to work with people who are active and 10:23 inspire to do this type of thing. 10:26 So, how do you do this? 10:29 Here's a quick guide. 10:30 So for one it's important to set a goal for the project, so 10:33 you have to have a goal for your passion project. 10:36 Number two, schedule your time in the week which you act on your project. 10:39 Set a deadline, just like a normal project, but the beauty of this product, 10:43 is that it's your own, but the most important thing is you get it done. 10:48 Again, not all of us have time to do passion projects. 10:54 As a father of two, 10:56 I also have two rabbits, and I have a gecko, I have limited time to do anything. 10:57 Right? 11:02 In this case, what you can do is pursue other training. 11:04 At the beginning of this working year, we in our studio, we got together and 11:09 we thought about a way we could inspire ourselves a little bit more. 11:12 What we thought of, we set aside some budget to pursue some kind of training. 11:14 Things which are related to, but not directly applicable at work. 11:19 The most popular options were things like life drawing, 11:23 illustration, motion graphics, animation, basically things which people enjoyed. 11:25 The results were good, on the whole. 11:32 We didn't really bring anything back to work. 11:34 We couldn't utilize any of these things, but during a really busy 2015 for 11:36 us, where everybody is stressed and anxious, these kind of other training, 11:40 these kind of ventures made a really positive impact. 11:44 So in summary about what you can do, take time off. 11:48 Engage in your passion projects, train, but 11:51 ignite those fires that may have been stamped out. 11:54 The idea is to remind yourself why you're working in the first place, 11:57 why you started to design in the first place. 12:00 But I've got a little side tip. 12:03 If you find yourself, and 12:05 I've found myself in this position, where you're in an agency and 12:06 you're not able to do any of these things, then I'd just seriously advocate leaving. 12:08 By pursuing any of these projects, it might be the seed of something that 12:12 you create and do full time at one point in the future. 12:16 Design How You Work. 12:24 Now, if you're doing the same thing in the same place, day in, day out, 12:26 you're gonna get bored. 12:31 You're gonna get pissed off. 12:32 If you're working at a desk, at a laptop, hunched over, 12:35 you're gonna have health issues. 12:37 These are the two things I'd like to talk about. 12:40 The interesting thing about our industry is that it's still dynamic. 12:43 It's still forming. 12:47 We have the power to control everything around us. 12:48 There's no set precedent. 12:51 There's no set standard. 12:52 There's a way to apply your creativity, even the way you work. 12:53 Even in my social circle, 12:57 there's a huge range of designers, that I know personally. 12:58 For example, in my circle you've got Freelances, you've got Permalancers, 13:01 In-house designers, One man bands, and Cooperatives. 13:08 And all of these people work in different spaces. 13:13 For example you've got people who work at home, in a large agency, 13:15 a cooperate office, a shared studio, and a small studio alike. 13:19 Each of these arrangements has its drawback, but 13:24 it also has its opportunity to innovate and design how you want to work. 13:26 So I want to talk about this in two different ways. 13:31 Number one in terms of routine. 13:33 And number two in terms of setup. 13:35 So routine over here. 13:38 And setup over there. 13:40 Firstly, routine. 13:43 This year, [LAUGH] this year, Booper conducted a study of 2,000 people. 13:46 They sought to assess the habits of people in their workplace during lunchtimes, 13:50 during breaks. 13:54 These were the results. 13:56 So this is the UK work staff. 13:59 So about a third of people take a regular lunch break. 14:01 The same, around about 28% don't take a lunch break at all. 14:04 45%, that's almost half, don't leave the office for lunch. 14:07 And a third, again, eat at their desk. 14:13 42% respond to work calls and 46% seldom do something relaxing or rejuvenating. 14:15 Now considering this spanned the whole of the UK workforce, I wasn't so 14:22 surprised by this. 14:26 But what I was convinced was, by the fact that this didn't really apply to us, 14:27 I know I would have answered a bit more active. 14:30 We do more things for lunch a bit more social, so 14:33 what we decided to do in the office we decided to put it to the test. 14:36 Enter the experiment. 14:41 Now a few months ago I gave five wearables to five members of staff with 14:44 the specific idea to document their activity. 14:49 Not just about where they went for lunch, but 14:53 about what they did in the course of a working day. 14:55 The results in a parted version is, you can see here. 14:58 So for example, for me, now I'm still wearing my polo loop. 15:03 What I found was, the good thing what I found was, I'm sort of active. 15:05 So I take 1,866 steps per day, on average. 15:11 This is slightly below what you should be doing, at about 10,000. 15:14 But the shocking statistic, what I had 29 inactivity stamps. 15:17 What that means is, I sit for 15:21 longer than an hour at a stretch of time 29 times over the course of a month. 15:23 Clare, who's my head of production, very similarly has a similar stats to me. 15:28 Her 99 average daily activity minutes is, shockingly, quite low. 15:32 Now, Nicky, on the other hand, was a bit of a with this. 15:39 As soon as he got this, he decided to beat everybody. 15:41 So he did 17,000 steps per day, highly unrealistic. 15:43 I doubt he would have done had I brought this monitor. 15:47 The interesting stat about this, 15:49 one of my favorite stat, he did 29,000 steps in one day. 15:50 The way he did this, I think he went raving for about a 12 hour period. 15:54 There are a huge amount of steps in a day. 15:56 So he's cheating, we can kind of disregard Nicky, in a sense. 15:59 But it's a good example of a good activity. 16:01 Mat had a slightly different activity monitor. 16:05 He wore a Lumo Posture Lift, 16:06 I don't know if you're aware of this, which measure his posture. 16:08 He had a low average number of steps, 16:11 per day, but he achieved a good standard of posture. 16:13 There's a reason for this, I'm gonna go into shortly. 16:16 And then Jocelyn, similar to Nicky, decided to work on this quite well, so 16:18 she had a high number of steps per day. 16:23 But then similarly, spent a long time sitting. 16:26 So in terms of how it fed back on our Booper study, we did pretty well, 16:30 as we'd imagined. 16:35 We all kind of went for lunch, we all take breaks, we all leave the office. 16:35 Unfortunately, the person who's drawing the stats back is this guy right here, 16:39 so I tend to don't leave the office and so on and so forth, but 16:44 apart from that we did pretty well relative to the Booper. 16:46 However, this wasn't really the point, cuz if we dug deeper into the stats, 16:50 what we found was 3 out of 5 of the participants regularly failed to attain 16:55 the 10,000 steps required. 17:00 And the more senior members spent, on average, 9 hours sitting each day. 17:02 So in terms of analyzing this, what we found was choosing to walk to work or 17:07 an earlier tube stop doubled the active time recorded. 17:13 The more active users were those who made regular breaks and 17:16 chose walking over the train or bus. 17:19 But significantly, we all rethought our lifestyle choices. 17:22 So, I'll give you a bit of personal testimony on this, 17:25 I consider myself highly active. 17:27 I have a marathon on Saturday, and during the course of this, I was running and 17:30 training for a marathon. 17:33 Jocelyn, on the other hand, doesn't. 17:34 Her activity stats were far superior to mine for 17:37 the fact that I would spike my activity with the one-off runs. 17:40 But she would be constant, in terms of walking to work, walking for 17:44 lunch, walking on breaks, and walking back from home. 17:48 So it just goes to show you, I thought that I would 17:51 ace these activity stats when, in fact, it's not always the case. 17:54 What was certainly the case was the enemy was sitting or being sedentary. 17:58 And what we found is by countering our sedentary nature, 18:02 we felt more alert and awake. 18:06 All of this general routine stuff, didn't really deal with, sort of, 18:10 it didn't really address our general setup in the office. 18:12 The important factor, obviously, I'm at my desk for nine hours in a day. 18:16 So what I'd like to do now is look at our setup, and 18:19 how we can maximize the best possible solution for our environment around us. 18:23 So, setup, has anyone here taken a serious about the setup and how you work? 18:27 I imagine, yeah, well, you see, I hadn't, until something went wrong. 18:34 I was working at the same desk for 18:41 a number of years doing the same kind of thing, again, engaged in my routine. 18:44 I then quit and went freelance, 18:48 and what happened was a change of desk, a change of chair, a change of monitor. 18:49 And then way I was working, I felt this searing pain in my arm. 18:54 I went to see the doctor. 18:59 I went for physio. 19:00 I went to see an osteopath, but nothing would change. 19:00 I even rest, but I still had this searing pain in my arm. 19:03 So I thought this was just me. 19:07 Obviously, I changed my setup to where I didn't have pain anymore. 19:09 But I thought this was just me. 19:13 I thought this was just a factor of the way I was working then. 19:14 But having worked in an agency for eight, nine years, and run my own, and 19:17 having coached and mentored a number of young designers, 19:20 I found the same thing happens time and time again. 19:23 So, in our experience, what we found is RSI, 19:25 carpal tunnel, we've had back pain issues, 19:29 neck pain issues, migraines, and eye strain. 19:36 You see, it's worse, the way you organize your work space is 19:42 the difference between being able to work and not being able to work. 19:45 That's less insidious. 19:50 It causes distraction, loss of focus, and poor performance. 19:51 You see, no matter how talented you are as a designer, if you're in pain, 19:54 it's really difficult to focus on any one job at a time. 19:59 So a crucial facet of your design career is to design your environment around you. 20:02 You'll find that in my experience, 20:07 design agencies aren't huge on workplace assessments. 20:09 There's not sort of legally binding contract with them to 20:11 determine how you are positioned in your workspace. 20:14 So you kind of have to take control over this. 20:17 So what I've done for you, I'm not gonna bore you with the workplace assessment. 20:19 It's a long and onerous and boring document. 20:22 So what I'll do is I'll give you my own little potted guide about how I work, 20:24 taking a typical work setup in mind. 20:27 So this isn't my setup by the way, 20:31 this is your typical designer's setup, in my opinion. 20:32 The first thing I do is the screen, now for me the screen, 20:36 the center of the screen should be about eye height. 20:38 What I usually have is a raise, to raise this level of the monitor. 20:41 But if I'm a freelancer, I'm working at a separate studio, 20:44 I'll get a few old books and I'll raise the monitor. 20:46 In terms of keyboard and mouse, 20:49 I usually go for a USB keyboard because I can't stand replacing the batteries. 20:50 In terms of the mouse, because of my RSI, I can't use a mouse so 20:55 I tend to use a Wacom tablet. 20:59 In terms of the general topography, I like to keep my desk nice and 21:02 tidy, that's my personal preference. 21:05 And my stationary close at hand. 21:07 I like to have a nice and colorful and attractive pen pot for this. 21:09 And in terms of the art on the walls, I always like to have pictures on walls. 21:13 I grew up in an artistic household we always had picture on the walls. 21:16 It's great for little bits of inspiration, little bit of a gap when you're working. 21:20 In terms of your chair, your Herman Miller is a ubiquitous feature of most design 21:25 agencies so choose a chair like this or something similar. 21:28 You want something where you're able to move your base, move your back, and 21:32 also be able to move your arms. 21:35 You see, 21:39 despite this set up, we're still really just talking about sitting at a desk. 21:42 And what I wanted, I thought I'd have a chair on the stage, but 21:48 you're gonna have to go with me on this one, it's still sitting. 21:49 So I'd like to do a small experiment about sitting in your position. 21:53 So if you'd bear with me here. 21:56 If you'd lean forward a bit and put your elbows on your knees. 21:58 I want you to look down to the floor and say with me, I feel great. 22:05 >> [LAUGH] >> [CROSSTALK] 22:08 I feel great. 22:11 >> That was wonderful. 22:15 That was amazing. 22:16 >> [LAUGH] >> Now I think we should, all right, so 22:16 let's all stand up, okay? 22:21 I want you to raise your shoulders to your ears and drop them. 22:23 Now look out and say, I feel great. 22:28 >> I feel great. 22:30 >> Well, that's better. 22:31 That's much better, isn't it? 22:32 You can sit down now. 22:34 Thank you for indulging me. 22:35 You see, sitting's fundamental. 22:37 But you can get marvier about your output with a little bit of creative thinking. 22:39 You see, studies have shown us that exercise 22:44 is not gonna undo the damage done by prolonged sitting. 22:47 Our technology has made us the most sedentary humans in history. 22:50 But you ask me, what's the problem with sitting? 22:57 Well, the one thing it does, is it changes the way our bodies deal with sugar. 22:59 So for example, when you eat, your body breaks down the food into glucose. 23:04 Which is then transported by the blood, to the other cells in your body. 23:10 Glucose is an essential fuel, 23:15 but persistently high levels increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease. 23:17 Being more active can help you get those all important blood sugar levels down 23:22 quicker, and hence, you could be more healthy. 23:26 An easy remedy to this is to stand up more at work. 23:31 So I'm gonna ask another quick survey. 23:34 I don't like rhetorical questions, but here's another one. 23:36 Who's heard of a standing desk, or standup desks? 23:38 Most of you, great. 23:41 And who actually uses them? 23:42 Okay, so a little bit less. 23:44 That's funny, okay. 23:45 [LAUGH] Of course, Sophie works with me, so of course, she uses them. 23:46 We decided to use a standing desk solution. 23:50 When I went to visit an agency in Bristol, somebody we were working with, 23:53 and they were all using them. 23:56 I was instantly inspired. 23:58 What we found through them and through other studies that standing for 23:59 three hours a day results in glucose levels falling quicker, 24:03 which is self-evident. 24:08 It burns more calories than sitting. 24:11 And the interesting stat about this is, that over the course of the year, 24:13 the calories burnt, 24:16 while you're standing, equates to 30,000 calories, or eight pounds of fat. 24:17 So, what that means in real terms is the equivalent of ten marathons. 24:21 Our bodies, also, need a constant, 24:27 almost imperceptible increase in muscle activity that standing provides. 24:29 Okay, so that's a standing up desk, and here's a suggestion, but 24:34 where would you get one from? 24:36 I've sort of done a quick sweep of Amazon and shown you a few solutions. 24:38 A basic desk is 250 pounds, a more fancy, electronic desk is 550 pounds. 24:41 These aren't lovely but in my opinion, 24:47 it's super easy to create a standing up desk. 24:49 So what we've done for your pleasure is create an in depth and informative guide. 24:52 I hope you take notes, I will be testing you afterwards. 24:56 So if you will indulge me, here's is my quick guide, 24:59 let's see how this goes Michelle, on my standing up desk solution. 25:02 >> [MUSIC] 25:06 Now this is the story all about how my back got messed up sitting down so 25:08 I'd like to take a minute just stand right there. 25:12 I'll tell you how I built a table and left out my chair. 25:15 [MUSIC] 25:18 In some kind of office, yeah, everyday, 25:27 is a desk where you would spend most of your day. 25:29 Yawning, skiving, designing nothing good, well, 25:32 I'm thinking of a way that we can change your mood. 25:34 Then a couple of guys says their backs were no good. 25:37 Wasn't motivated like they knew they could. 25:39 I had one little thought, and that's when I said, 25:41 I'm going to the store to build a table and left. 25:44 I whistled for a cab, cuz I had an idea. 25:46 I'm off to the shuffle, bit of DIY here. 25:48 I got myself some wood and I screwed in the legs and 25:51 I thought that's more like it and pushed out chair. 25:54 I worked hard that night until 7 or 8 and 25:57 I said to my racket yo homes smell you later. 26:00 Looked to my desk and 26:03 it was finally right to stand at my throne as the king of design. 26:04 [MUSIC] 26:08 [APPLAUSE] >> Throw out the chair. 26:18 >> [APPLAUSE] >> We weren't 26:22 sure I was either gonna tank or it was gonna do well. 26:27 We weren't sure we was debating this the other day, right. 26:29 Listen, I'm not making the assumption that everybody has the opportunity or 26:32 the environment to create a standing desk solution. 26:36 So, there are a few other things you can do as part of your workspace environment. 26:39 Number one, you can stand while talking on the phone. 26:43 This is pretty straightforward stuff, it's making these little efforts, 26:45 which are important. 26:48 Number two, you can go over to colleagues rather than IM or email. 26:49 For example, we Skype each other all the time, it would be 26:52 no hassle at all to actually go up and talk to one another once in awhile. 26:55 And number two, taking the stairs as an alternative to the lift. 26:59 See, they're all pretty common sense ways to increase your activities part of 27:02 your working day. 27:05 Also, the activity of measuring in itself was a real incentive. 27:06 For example, everybody in the office now has activity monitors, and 27:09 we find we do more. 27:12 I feel guilty when I sit down, generally, I like to go for walks regularly. 27:13 However, what we're here to talk about is design, 27:19 and the creative difference that makes. 27:22 We found that, yes, the standing desk and changing your routine has 27:24 huge benefits to your health, but it also improves our focus and our output. 27:27 We've been standing for the last six months and we found the following. 27:32 Again, improved sense of health and well-being. 27:36 Increased focus and concentration. 27:38 Improved endurance for longer projects. 27:40 But also, it created of bit of a buzz around the office. 27:43 We collected some feedback and 27:46 we found one of my designers made the following comment. 27:47 Sitting in itself is better for creativity. 27:52 So when you want to hardcore design something or do something creative, 27:54 it's better to sit down. 27:57 But for the admin type tasks, you stand up. 27:58 You feel how noticeably different, how productive you are. 28:03 So especially on fast paced days and to tick off small things, 28:06 when you're standing you feel like you get more things done. 28:09 And significantly, and what I found certainly, 28:14 is you can compartmentalize your day. 28:17 So when you feel in a rut creatively and 28:19 you want to change your situation, you'll get up. 28:21 You'll do some work when you're up. 28:23 When you're in a rut when you're up, you get back down and 28:24 you do some work when you're down. 28:27 The idea you can compartmentalized your day you can focus on the specific thing 28:28 that any one time. 28:32 So there's less distraction and 28:32 more focus and it's easier to compartmentalized your day. 28:35 At least, it works for us and that's our feedback. 28:38 But if you have any feedback if anyone does it, then let us know. 28:40 Skype us, tweet, us, anything like that, I'd love to know how you guys get on. 28:43 Finally, I'd like to talk about designing why you are working. 28:50 I wanna show you how starting and 28:55 maintaining a simple exercise regime helped me to organize. 28:56 But, in the end, enjoy work that little bit more. 28:59 Now, you have to forgive me. 29:04 I'm gonna talk about running, here. 29:05 I didn't always like running long distances. 29:08 However, all that changed when business and 29:10 family commitments led me to be extremely time poor. 29:13 I had no time for anything. 29:16 What that led to was, within a short space of time, I was taking it more seriously. 29:19 And slowly, I found that running and 29:24 organizing running helped me with both processes and the execution of design. 29:26 Now, I'm going to apologize, first off. 29:31 I really don't want to come across like an over-sharer on Facebook, 29:34 telling you how fit I am, how amazing I am at running. 29:37 That's really not my intention at all. 29:39 Also, I'm also not telling you that you should be running. 29:41 Quite the opposite. 29:44 If you don't enjoy running. 29:45 If you're not into running, then please don't. 29:46 The idea here is to really pursue a passion that you have and to follow it. 29:48 And then maybe you can let that inspire you into the things you do and 29:52 reignite again that creative fire about yourself. 29:57 Back to running. 30:02 For me and most ordinary runners, we're motivated by goals. 30:04 And in real terms, you're motivated by time. 30:08 When I approach a race, what I want to do is hit a certain time for 30:13 a certain race and if I do that, I feel some degree of satisfaction. 30:16 If I don't, I'll feel more disappointed. 30:19 Only Olympic athletes or professionals are really out to win or to beat somebody. 30:21 Whereas for myself, if I hit that time, I feel all right about it. 30:26 But even if I don't, 30:29 as long as I've learned something about myself along the way, then I feel okay. 30:30 Running for me is both an exercise and a metaphor. 30:35 As I pile up the races, I hit the miles, day by day, I feel I'm improving myself. 30:38 The only opponent I really have is myself, and the way I used to be. 30:43 The only thing I'm trying to achieve is get better 30:47 from that previous version of myself. 30:50 So in this way, and a lot of other ways, running is a lot like design. 30:53 For me, managing and creating design and running marathons are very similar. 30:58 In my experience, each designer, each person like yourself, 31:03 has a quiet inner motivation, more interested in achieving goals 31:05 than this win at all costs sort of banking mentality. 31:09 Even running an agency for me is a noncompetitive aspect. 31:12 I don't feel I mind if I beat another agency or 31:15 I get more money than somebody else. 31:17 It's all about whether I achieve my goals for my agency. 31:19 So I've learned a ton through the process of running marathons about design and 31:22 working in an agency. 31:27 And also, about the type of people, and the characteristics, and the qualities you 31:29 may have in order to do both, and I'm gonna share them with you now. 31:33 For a start, is talent. 31:37 So this is more of a fundamental prerequisite of being 31:38 a designer or a runner. 31:42 I imagine that you'd have qualified from uni or 31:45 taught youself in the way you see fit. 31:46 I imagine the talent, you have done it of one sort or another. 31:49 So talent is a quality, yes, but it's also a prerequisite. 31:51 Number two, focus. 31:56 The ability to concentrate all your given talents on one thing at any one time. 31:57 Whatever's critical at that moment. 32:01 And number three, endurance. 32:05 If you're able to concentrate for eight hours at any one time on one project, and 32:07 you get tired after a week, you're not gonna have a particularly good career. 32:10 So endurance is crucial. 32:13 So in terms of acquiring talent, focus and endurance is slightly different from 32:18 talent, in that when you sit down or stand at your desk, you work day in, 32:21 day out, you can slowly acquire more endurance, and gain more focus. 32:25 This is inevitable. 32:29 In a sense, talent you can learn because as you acquire more endurance and 32:31 more focus you're gonna acquire talents. 32:34 Maybe talents you didn't think you had. 32:36 This is again similar going back to running to jogging. 32:38 To building my runner's physique, 32:41 to acquiring the strength maybe to compete in a race. 32:42 If I add a stimulus to that, and then repeat, the results are gonna come. 32:45 As long as I have patience it will come. 32:51 So bringing it back to why, I said I wouldn't have a Powerpoint about 32:56 running and I've kind of broken that promise. 32:59 But the point is, it's really not about running. 33:00 I've learned a valuable lesson from running, but 33:03 it's about applying your passion to things you like to do and 33:06 bringing them back to your creative output. 33:09 I learned my lesson from running. 33:12 So when I started running, it was an escape from my day to day job. 33:13 But then after awhile, I brought it back to my agency life. 33:17 Things about process, building up to a goal. 33:19 Things about feedback. 33:22 All these things reminded me about why I was a designer in the first place. 33:23 But this isn't also just about me. 33:29 The number of friends of mine use and pursue their own passions and 33:30 bring it back to the creative output in design. 33:33 So for example, my friend Leo, who uses his passion for motorbikes and 33:36 he goes on tours regularly, and brings it back to his creative outlook. 33:40 Simon and James who are in a band together, but they also design together. 33:44 And finally Dan is a high-level triathlete. 33:48 He uses focus and 33:50 endurance from his triathlon training to bring back to his product design. 33:51 So in the end, your hobby could even be the final thing you end up doing. 33:58 Such as the degree of set of skills you can acquire. 34:02 So for example, Troy, illustrator, started out as an illustrator, 34:05 he had a passion for cooking and a commitment to chicken wings. 34:09 And in the end, he's created this lovely pop-up endorsement called Wingman. 34:13 So I'd like to conclude about designing your profession. 34:19 By satisfying each element of your profession, 34:23 you'll find that you'll have clarity over what you wanna do, how you wanna do it, 34:25 and maintain the reasons you got into design in the first place. 34:29 In this day and age, in my opinion, the challenge has never been more serious. 34:33 In his book, War of Art, Steven Pressfield talks about something which all of us 34:39 creative professionals have to confront at one point, and that is 34:43 the battle against creative blocks, something which he calls resistance. 34:46 Creative blocks and resistance are things like procrastination, restlessness, 34:51 loss of interest, and so forth. 34:55 In this day and age, our battleground is digital. 34:57 As never before have the working tools that we use day in and 35:01 day out also are the way we distract ourselves. 35:03 So for example, it's easy for me these days when I research 35:06 to become distracted and amused by the things I am researching. 35:09 Previously, I might have gone out, looked at the outside world for inspiration, 35:12 gone to a gallery, and so forth. 35:16 Whereas now, I am on behance, found, dribble, whatever, and it's easy 35:17 to be deviated by the inspiration from that and consume the media in itself. 35:22 Plus, there are myriad forms of social media and so forth to distract me. 35:27 So unless the Facebook and stuff all is blocked for 35:32 you, it's easily to become distracted. 35:35 In addition, it's assumed you're working on desktop. 35:38 If you're working on mobile, there's even more temptation. 35:40 So it's worth remembering that even though there's limitless inspirations to be found 35:44 online, it's still a box. 35:47 We need to remember to climb out of that box sometimes. 35:49 As the world around us holds a rich and ever changing wealth of inspiration. 35:51 I'm going back to my need for sabbatical and passion projects, here. 35:57 By keeping that sabbatical, by keeping those passion projects alive, 36:01 we're gonna keep focus on why we got into this in the first place. 36:04 We're going to keep focused on the reason why we design in the first place and 36:07 hence, get rid of the need for all of these distractions. 36:11 Next, subvert your environment. 36:18 The tools we're given and the environment we work in will gradually wear us down. 36:20 It attacks out attention span, comfort, even our physical ability to work. 36:23 It's easy to switch off, and therefore, I encourage you, 36:28 subvert that work environment. 36:30 Stand up, go for breaks. 36:32 Do something different. 36:34 And finally, fall in love again. 36:37 The job's gonna tire us out. 36:39 The career ladder might doubt your passion. 36:41 Self doubt, loss of interest, all tempt you to do something different. 36:42 Doing something else, pursuing a hobby, running, 36:46 whatever, will remind you of why you started design in the first place. 36:49 It informs your methodology, but also and 36:52 importantly it can provide you a much needed escape. 36:54 So the bottom line for all of this is, so what, who cares? 37:00 Say you've good past times. 37:04 So you feel fit and healthy. 37:04 You know, how does this matter in the real world? 37:06 The fact is, all I've read, all the conferences I go to, everything, 37:08 they indicate employers are looking for the complete package, 37:12 not just a spike in a CV. 37:14 They want to see a rounded portfolio. 37:15 In our agency experience, we've applied a number of these different things, and 37:18 what we've found, we've grown in the last three years, 37:22 we've gotten better work, we've got better contracts. 37:24 But importantly, we're all taking a lot less time. 37:27 We're all taking time to do the things we want to do. 37:30 Pursue time at home, play with our rabbits and so on. 37:33 So as long as you have a plan for all areas and a design for your life, 37:36 you'll find that with patience, you'll start to fulfill those ambitions, 37:40 those reasons you got into design in the first place, and with any luck, 37:45 you'll be able to design for life. 37:49 [APPLAUSE] 37:51 [MUSIC] 38:00
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