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January 9, 2022

Do You Have These Important Skills in Your Design Tool Belt?

Do You Have These Important Skills in Your Design Tool Belt?

Do You Have These Important Skills in Your Design Tool Belt?

There's no doubt that the world of design moves fast, and that's probably how we like it. But not a single one of us can deny the unique pace at which we've found ourselves this past year. While half of the world is seemingly at rest and the other spinning at an alarming rate- I reflect on what it was like to be a creative this past year and how our special role became even more integral.

As designers, we all have our most favorite shortcuts, go to color schemes, or typefaces we rely on when we're running out of those creative juices at midnight on a Friday. We keep keen eye to our favorite trends. In 2021, we saw 90s and Y2K nostalgia make the comeback we all needed, and probably a few too many augmented reality Tik Toks we didn't. But while "favs" and trends come and go, there are a few things we can count on for sure in 2022. We will undoubtedly see a shift in how people interact with brands this year due to the effects of the pandemic, shifting political movements, and impending climate events.

Wheeew. Deep breath. It's a lot. To help you prepare, I've compiled three branding tools you might want to have polished and ready in your 2022 design toolbelt.

Tool 1: Purpose-Driven Design

Now your response might be, "Nikki, when have we NOT geared our design toward purpose?" To which I'd reply, "Right answer!" Purpose-driven design is more important than it's ever been and the challenges we're seeing are especially unique. You can't fool your audience either! People can feel when you're not being genuine; the stats back it up. Purpose-driven companies witness higher market share gains and grow three times faster than their competitors (source: Deloitte Insights).

Purpose driven-design starts at the "why?" Why does your company or brand even exist? Figure it out and let that why soak into the rest of your efforts, too- fundraising campaigns, media messaging, and company culture.

To stay on track this year, consistently look at your brand through your audience's eyes, ask yourself how you might connect even deeper, explore how you might solve problems before they even happen, and consider how you might be even more genuine and transparent in your messaging.

Purpose-driven design can change the world. Let's get after it.

Some things to ask yourself:
Do I know my true "why"?
Do the mediums I use to tell my particular story best support me?

Tool 2: Hybrid Events

This year we saw businesses who had no prior virtual presence take to platforms like Zoom, Facebook Live, and Google Meet to reach their peoples. While it meant frustration for new comers or an added work load for coordinators, it also opened up a whole new world to what events might looks like in the future.

There's research to suggest that the virtual or hybrid event isn't going anywhere any time soon. While some move back to offices and creative spaces, others like the productivity and flexibility online events present.

When approaching event marketing in 2022, it may be a good idea to consider whether you can add value to your event by giving people a chance to participate from the comfort of home.

Some hybrid event programs to consider:
Socio, Hoppier, Mesh, InEvent, and SpotMe

Tool 3: Online Communities

If I had to count the number of online communities I became a part of in 2021, I'm not sure it would fit on both hands...and feet. While I took to the interwebs to connect with fellow designers, digital nomads, and yoginis, others were finding their online corners of the world, too. The most surprising online community I heard of this year? My friend joined a group for her cat to have online play dates and chats with other fellow cat friends. (You and I know this was more for the owners than it was the cats.)

Jokes aside, online communities held people together this year. Why? Because we formed online groups not only to stay connected with the things we find important, but with one another. Online connection isn't going anywhere in this world, as people continue to light up those Discord channels, create new Facebook groups, or take to Reddit with their unpopular opinions.

Check out these online platforms:
Lancer (online freelancer community), Hivebrite (powering online communities), Monday.com (project management and collab for your whole team), and duh, Reddit (online conversations on anything you can think of)

Last year's trends become this year's "not going anywheres"... and that's the way it should be. We saw brands focusing on DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion). We saw a huge consumerism shift in what's really important. We saw brands taking a stand on social justice issues. 2022 is already looking to be bound for the same, and more. Don't just do these things because they're trendy. Do them because they should already be the norm. And do them right.

Let us be fearless now more than ever in our thoughtful, informed, and conscious design choices, knowing they help shape the landscape of years to come.

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