You’re the designer

“Longest way round is the shortest way home”, wrote James Joyce, and Debbie Millman with her story illustrated the sentiment aptly. In her keynote speech at the Huiput Creative Festival in Helsinki Millman focused on rejections and walked us through her career – and the worst day of her life. She got a handful of rejections all at once (and then some). She put it to words well how easy it is to disguise disappointments into feelings of other colours, even if it’s only for yourself. Luckily things turned out well for her, but it didn’t happen fast, and that was the most important message I was left with. To not try to peak quickly. “If it takes you long to reach it, perhaps you stay there longer”, she suggested.

Lauren Currie urged us to recognize our privilege and use our power. She asked how many of us have a domain with our own name. A lot of hands were raised, including my own. “You are in control of your digital footprint”, she addressed, and I liked the notion, obvious as it seems. I thought about my very own digital footprint, the portfolio website I just updated: it has been existing since summer 2012. Before that I had a blog with my name. I’ve been digitally around a third of my life – with my real name.

Designer decides the gap between columns.

David Carson shared with us a lot of pictures and a lot of jokes. I appreciated both (deeply!). Have the designers gotten lazy? He asked not long into the presentation. With all our software it’s easy to rely on guides, grid and all the help they bring. But you can’t give out the power or the responsibility: You’re the designer. Designer decides the gap between columns.

“Never snap to guides” is a notion I picked for my Instagram post. I don’t think I have, but I have often thought I should. I have often described my layout designing as ‘moving elements around on a spread’, referring to my non-existing knowledge on layout grids and all. Nevertheless I think the layout designing I’ve done is good.

“Your wave is coming”, Carson said. Not only said, he had written it down. In a nice way, and I followed. What a lovely sentiment. And I don’t even surf.

Author: Pirita Tolvanen

Illustrator. Loves illustrating data, non-fiction picture books and swimming.

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