A Year in Review: The Best Design Rebrands of 2023

Whether a brand decides to tweak its logo or overhaul its entire look, rebranding is a major decision for any company.

According to the Looka blog, 2023 has seen a flurry of major rebrands, many of which are opting for energetic colors like bright green and neon yellow. Others, meanwhile, are still betting on minimalism, with geometric and art deco designs breaking through as popular picks.

Take a look at some of the best design rebrands of 2023. Which do you like? Which don’t you like and why? Review each redesign and draw inspiration for your own brand. 


With the autumn season comes changes in the colors of leaves, as well as iconic brands. This fall Pepsi is rolling out new branding in North America. This is the first time in 14 years that the beverage giant will change its logo, giving its cans, bottles, delivery trucks and overall digital presence a makeover. Touch ups include a new custom typeface, a color palette that includes a deeper electric blue and black, as well as an entirely new can silhouette. The redesign’s goal was to give the 125-year-old brand a contemporary edge. What is your brand’s goal? 


7Up saw its first rebrand in seven years. Also owned by PepsiCo, the lemony-lime beverage can is now in simpler packaging, with lighter design elements that align with a minimalism theme. The 3D design and high-contrast colors reflect the brand’s uplifting brand messaging. 

Chips Ahoy!

Some rebrands are accompanied by sweet campaigns. Chips Ahoy! is celebrating its 60th birthday by reviving its nostalgic mascot, Chip. As part of its brand refresh, it’s also aiming to appeal to Gen Z through partnerships and events, including a three-day themed yacht party. 

Kraft Singles

Kraft Singles took a slice out of the rebranding playbook by not just unveiling new colors, but new packaging as well. The new Kraft Singles look includes a simpler, less-cluttered design featuring a bolder blue background. More importantly, the brand refresh is a response to customers complaining about the difficulty to open each cheese slice. The new individual packaging comes in a thicker, clearer wrapper and an easy to grasp flap. Listening to customer sentiment during brand redesigns is always a good idea.

Oscar Meyer Weinermobile

The hot dog brand updated its famous Weinermobile, which will now go by the Frankmobile, according to a news release. This is its first redesign since 1936 to highlight the new recipe for its all-beef hot dog products. New signage includes “The All Beef Beef Frank Frankmobile” to emphasize its natural ingredients as consumers increasingly avoid processed foods.


Food and beverage brands aren’t the only ones seeing branding shake-ups. Fintech company Wise launched a new look in 2023, with changes to its logo and online presence. The makeover centers on a bright green palette. Other changes include a stronger font, imagery and the use of universal symbols that speak to its global customer base. 


Redesigns aren’t just for anniversaries. Fitness tech company Peloton is using design to steer its brand toward more positivity after facing some controversy in recent years. Peloton’s brand refresh features a new color scheme that speaks to the feel-good emotions and afterglow of a vigorous workout. Its fresh online campaign and imagery meanwhile is meant to make the fitness brand more inclusive by speaking to people of all ages and levels.

Connecting companies with new audiences truly showcases the power of rebranding and intentional design. How will your web redesigns speak to your target customer?

7 Ideation Techniques to Revamp Your Designs

Written By Liz Achanta

Let’s face it: every one of us has faced a lull in our creativity at some point or another. This lull can come from designer burnout (which you can read more about here), corporate monotony, or even personal events at home leading to a stillness in your creativity. Not having your creative juices flowing at top speed can be frustrating, but not to worry – we’ve got seven ideation techniques to help you get your innovation wheels turning.

What is Ideation?

Ideation is the process of forming new ideas or concepts. Think of ideation like those brainstorm bubbles you used to make in grade school: starting with a simple idea and using that idea to spin off more and more ideas until you have a solid concept together. Rather than word mapping, however, there are plenty of other types of techniques you can use to create new ideas (like the ones we’ve listed below!).

Ideation can be done singularly or in groups – so if you’re a solopreneur and find you’re having a hard time, it could be beneficial for you to call up a friend or two to help you get the juices flowing.


7 Ideation Techniques

1. Worst Idea

Just as the name suggests, start a list of all the things that you think would be a horrible ideas. Once you’ve made that list, find solutions to those ideas – how would that idea go from being horrible to being extraordinary? Or, is there a part of that horrible idea that could seed a good idea?

This technique is a great tool to use because it uproots your normal working habits: usually, we’re always trying to think of the next best thing. By turning the process around, you’re able to problem-solve in a different way to exercise your muscles – and build some inspiration along the way.

2. Wild Wish List

Similar to the worst idea, create a wild list of all the things you’d like to design – even if they’re impossible (think fire-breathing unicorns). Make your ideas as crazy as they come; once you’re done creating your list, find some possible ideas out of your wild list. This can include combining elements of different wild ideas to make something completely unique (like glitter-breathing unicorns).

3. Mind Mapping

Similar to the word cloud we mentioned earlier, mind mapping creates a diagram to link together ideas and generate new concepts.

Start with a generic term; like ‘Website.’ From that word, sprout related words and ideas – like ‘Product,’ or ‘E-Commerce.’ From those words, sprout even more related words – like ‘Jewelry,’ or ‘Pottery.’ Keep workshopping your mind map until you’ve got all your ideas on paper, then use that map to help guide you on your next project.

4. Storyboarding

A storyboard is a visual representation of how your project will unfold – scene by scene. Like most stories, there’s an introduction, character development, a climax, and a conclusion; start with those four primary ideas to fuel the start of your storyboard, and once you’re happy with the outcome, start adding ‘scenes’ to help build out the rest of your project.

You don’t have to be an artist in order to make a good story board; you can make comic book sketches or use magazine cut-outs to put your storyboard together. What matters most is putting ideas onto paper – and with a solid outline of your project, you’re able to get started on that great new idea.

5. Brainstorming

Brainstorming is your most common form of ideation technique: you start with a problem, and then you start writing down ideas to solve the problem.

The goal of brainstorming is to provide a safe space for your mind and the people you’re brainstorming with, so with brainstorming, there’s no bad idea – write down everything that comes to mind. Once you’ve written down every possible idea, pick your favorites and start working with them. You may find that some of your favorite ideas don’t work out with the project you’re working on, which is totally fine: remember there’s value in the process.


SCAMPER is a formal technique that represents seven ways to look at a problem. This technique works best with an existing product or service to determine how you can enhance or improve the product. Here’s what each letter of SCAMPER stands for and related questions to ask yourself:

Substitute: What about the product or service can be substituted for something else?

Combine: Can you combine a product or service with another product or service to improve the experience?

Adapt: How can you adapt your product or service to fit another target market?

Modify: What element of your product or service can you modify to make improvements?

Put to Another Use: What is another use for your product or service that you haven’t considered yet? (Could it fit another target market?)

Eliminate: What unnecessary elements can you eliminate from your product or service to make the process more streamlined and efficient?

Reverse: What would happen if you reversed your process or reorganized the product/service?

7. Crazy 8s

This idea actually comes from Google’s Design Sprint Kit, and its extremely easy to implement. Start with a blank sheet of paper and fold the paper in half three times to create 8 boxes. Then, set a timer for 1 minute: you have 1 minute to sketch 1 idea into a box. Repeat the process seven more times – or, if you’re working in a group, trade papers and sketch a design into someone else’s box.

Once all 8 boxes are filled, pick your favorite few sketches and use those to build a new design!

8 Ways to Celebrate International Design Day

Written By Liz Achanta

International Design Day, which takes place April 27 each year, is a day to appreciate the importance of artistic and innovative design across numerous fields. Design is not just about prettying things up; it has the power to bring about solutions that can improve health, technology, the environment, and more.

According to the International Council of Design (ico-D), International Design Day was founded in 1995 by Kim Paulsen, who served as vice president of the organization from 1993 to 1995. The date also commemorated the launch of ico-D on April 27, 1963. It was originally called World Graphics Day, and after a few iterations, it became World Design Day in 2015 (and then International Design Day in 2022).

The ico-D states the mission of International Design Day is “to encourage designers to reflect deeply on the wellbeing of people within their local environments, and to find innovative solutions to local needs by using design as a vehicle to honor diversity, transcend borders, and improve quality of life.” In other words, International Design Day serves as a reminder to creators and their audiences that this field can make the world a better place.

Here are ways designers–and those who consume and appreciate their work–can celebrate International Design Day:

1. Take a creative retreat. From a literary tour of Edinburgh, Scotland, to visiting the art galleries of the Fort and Colaba districts in Mumbai, India, consider booking a trip to one of the most creative cities in the world. Appreciate the vibrant arts scene, the architecture, fashion, cuisine, and youth culture that fuel the local arts. You need not hop on an airplane to take an artsy trip, and it need not be a luxurious getaway. Consider taking a road trip to a nearby bucolic town, a new emerging city, or even a lovely cafe with a view, to get your creative juices flowing.

2. Read about design. The ico-D conveniently put together a list of essays and books that not only honor the history and tenets of design, but design as a profession. The reading list includes articles and think-pieces about the practice of design, as well as tangential topics to show how design affects everything we do. The organization also encourages all pros to read its code of conduct, which addresses everything from sustainability, inclusivity, and even data privacy. One critical rule, for example, calls for designers to “uphold basic human dignity by considering the respectful portrayal of all people, i.e. gender identities, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, awareness of body image issues, etc.”

3. Gather with other designers. Sometimes looking outward is more effective than looking inward. Networking and connecting with other designers, learning about their creative processes and how they translate their passion for design into a source for livelihood could be what you need to elevate your career. According to the ico-D, “Marking the anniversary of ico-D’s establishment on 27 April 1963, participants worldwide are invited to gather, innovate, and live out a moment of design by organizing public events and initiatives on 27 April of each year.”

Interested in getting together with other designers but don’t know where to start? You can always start with LinkedIn, or if you’re part of a design organization, check out their member directory. Or, you can take a non-traditional approach by checking out websites like womenwho.design, which is a directory of accomplished women in the design industry, or arisingtide.design, who has an active directory of API designers working in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and urban design.

4. Celebrate on social media. Scout social media for emerging artists and designers from underrepresented groups and give them your support, be it with a simple follow, like, or purchase. Sport jewelry or clothing from a cutting-edge label and tag them in a post. Call out a small business or startup with a spectacular logo or storefront and let them know you’re a fan of their exceptional branding. There are endless and easy ways to support designers from various industries on #WorldDesignDay or #InternationalDesignDay.

Follow International Design Day on Facebook here, or on Instagram here.

5. Launch, spruce up, and share your portfolio. International Design Day is a great excuse to revisit the work you’re most proud of, and perhaps finally launch or revamp your online portfolio. Whether you’re an established freelancer, a creative agency, or a design-driven brand, one way to stand out is to opt for a .design domain and e-mail address to communicate your dedication to premium design.

6. Celebrate design in other categories. Designers and artists often run into creative blocks out of fear of not being original enough. One way to draw inspiration from non-competitors is to look to other categories for new trends. Be it decor, artwork, landscaping, automobiles—draw from various sources all around you, and make it your own.

7. Visit a museum and take time to appreciate the public arts. Whether you visit a behemoth like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a natural history museum, or even a historic home in your region, let history influence your future designs. You can also take a few cues from the best contemporary works by visiting a modern art museum or gallery, or even tour a local arts district to appreciate some street art.

8. Encourage kids to participate! Nothing can inspire your work more than teaching future generations the principles of design. Team up with a local school, youth nonprofit, or community center and host a workshop to encourage children to participate in International Design Day. Who knows, working alongside these mini-artists in the making might spark your next creative wave!  

Celebrating World Art Day

Written By Liz Achanta

Founded in 2012, World Art Day is a day for artists, designers, and enthusiasts alike to celebrate the development, distribution, and enjoyment of all things art. This date was specifically chosen to coincide with Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday – who, as we know, created masterpieces like the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and the Vitruvian Man. Similarly, da Vinci stood for peace, tolerance, and freedom of speech – which only gives this day so much more significance as artists.

A work of art which isn’t based on feeling isn’t art at all.

— Paul Cezanne


World Art Day Facts

  • The 2012 World Art Day proposal was sponsored by Bedri Baykam of Turkey, and was unanimously accepted at the 17th General Assembly meeting.

  • Today, organizations and companies all over the world celebrate World Art Day, like the Google Art Project and UNESCO.

  • There are seven different forms of art: painting, architecture, sculpture, literature, music, performing, and cinema.

  • Creating art used to be considered an Olympic sport.

  • The color wheel was invented in 1706 – making it younger than the Mona Lisa (painted in 1503).

  • There are 12 definitions for the word ‘art’ in the Oxford Dictionary.

  • The Louvre is the largest art museum in the world.

  • The MMuseumm in New York City is the smallest art museum in the world – which is housed inside an elevator shaft and measures at a tiny 134 square feet.

  • There are more than 19,000 art galleries in the world, spanning 124 countries in 3,533 cities. The US has 34% of those art galleries.

  • In the US, there are 1.2M working artists, 2M art graduates, and 200,000 individuals who are both art graduates and working artists.

  • Females make up 60% of art graduates, but represent only 46% of working artists.

 Ways to celebrate World Art Day

  • Visit an art gallery or museum! Chances are, your local art gallery will also be celebrating World Art Day with extended hours or with special discounts.

  • Make a donation to your local art nonprofit

  • Draw a picture, mold a sculpture, write a poem – do something that is uniquely YOU and artistic on this day!

  • Take a free mini art lesson from Art in Action

  • Give yourself a history lesson on one of your favorite artists

  • Host your own art exhibit

  • Create Mail Art

  • Attend an Art Day event

7 design principles every UX designer should follow

Written By Liz Achanta

Stellar UX (user experience) is critical to the success of your business, and the role of the UX designer (whether that’s you or someone you’ve hired) will play a key role in how the customer will feel about your product or service.

UX is so much more than a customer interacting with your website. It is the emotional response that is evoked from interacting with your digital product. When it comes to digital design, elements like color, font, messaging and design theme contribute to UX.

Overlooking UX design can lead to poor reviews and can cause your customers to look elsewhere for business. For example, if a customer has a difficult time during the online checkout system, they might abandon their cart and turn to your competitor.

 1. Customer-centric design. The first and most important pillar of good UX design is to always put your customer’s needs first. Prioritize functionality and usability, then aim to exceed their expectations whenever you can. This will help you build a customer base that is not only loyal, but will recommend you to others via word of mouth and rave reviews. In other words, UX design is essential to attracting and retaining your following.

2. Market research. The first step in ensuring customer-centric design from beginning to end is to conduct preliminary user research. You can conduct online research by learning about your target audience, and you can also conduct field research by interviewing a set of target customers. Ask them about their likes and dislikes, and what they expect from the online experience.

3. Allow for user testing. After building the prototype, let visitors test the website before you launch, and be open to feedback at every step of the way. Continue to iterate until you’re confident you’ve met your customers’ expectations. The A/B testing model, where you test the performance of two versions of content, is a great method for user testing.

4. Keep things simple. Visitors to your website should not need special instructions to navigate your site or use your app. In an effort to create something groundbreaking or unique, some designers tend to overload websites with cutting-edge features that do not serve the principles of usability or functionality. As a result, interfaces become cluttered and even clunky.

Make the UX intuitive by keeping the website design simple, allowing the customer to easily navigate from page to page. They should be able to browse products, explore, checkout and purchase with ease.

It’s worth noting that UX designers must keep mobile in mind, and minimalistic design lends itself to smaller smartphone and iPad screens.

5. Keep things consistent. Another common mistake designers make is trying to show off their artistic chops by making each page look markedly different from the other. But each business website should have a thematic and unified look in order to keep branding consistent and memorable throughout.

6. Present a visual hierarchy. When a visitor arrives at a homepage or product page, a million large words and photos should not hit them all at once. Think about the sizing and weight of each headline and image and how each of those visual assets is laid out on the page. Consider the flow of the experience as the customer scrolls down, and that each element directs their eyes toward the most important information. Be sure to incorporate call-to-action buttons that ultimately will lead to a successful checkout and purchase

7. Design for storytelling. While you want to lead the customers through product discovery, don’t just design to create a transactional experience with customers. Instead, try to also build a personal connection. And don’t keep your brand narrative and founding story confined to the About Us page. Showcase the human side of your business throughout the website, via an active blog, video features, snippets about your dedicated employees and more.

Celebrating Black History Month with These 10 Famous African-American Designers

Written By Liz Achanta

Hosted throughout the month of February in the United States, Black History month is a time for Americans to remember the important people, events, and contributions African Americans brought to the United States. Often among the notable figures observed are Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks, we are taking the time to note some of those African Americans who contributed to the world of design that we know today.

1. Elizabeth Keckley (1818 – 1907) | Fashion Designer

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Keckley published her memoir Behind the Scenes or Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House in 1868. As her memoir title suggests, Lizzy was a Virginia-born slave who purchased her freedom from her owners in 1850 for $1,200. Post-freedom, Lizzy worked as a seamstress in St. Louis to pay off the loans she took to buy her freedom. In 1860, Lizzy moved to Washington D.C. where she worked hard to build up a new list of clientele, eventually working for
Mary Todd Lincoln in the White House. After the death of Willie Lincoln, a letter from Mary to Abraham said, “A day of two since, I had one of my severe attacks, if it had not been for Lizzie Keckley, I do not know what I should have done.”

2. Frank Braxton (1929 – 1969) | Animator

Since his school days, Frank Cavalier Braxton Jr. loved to draw, and his love for drawing was well known by his teachers and peers. In the early 1950s, Braxton was hired by Disney as a trainee, but was let go after just a few months. Not giving up, Braxton restarted his animation career at Warner Bros., where he worked until he left to Barcelona, Spain, to work in a cartoon studio. Before dying of cancer at the young age of 40, Braxton worked on notable projects such as Tom & Jerry, The Bullwinkle Show, Mr. Magoo, and the animated Charlie Brown TV specials.

3. Charles Dawson (1889-1981) | Artist

Best known for his illustrated advertisements, Charles Dawson was an influential Chicago designer and artist through the 1920s and 30’s. Charles would go on to work as the curator of the Museum of Negro Art and Culture, and the George Washington Carver Museum in Tuskegee in the 50s. While there’s no record of his work in the last 30 years of his life, Charles would retire in Pennsylvania where he lived until his death.

4. Leroy Winbush (1915 – 2007) | Graphic Designer

While Leroy Winbush was a graphic designer by trade, he was most widely known for his great window displays. After completing high school, Leroy worked at a sign shop as an apprentice, and would then be commissioned by the Regal Theatre in 1938 to design and paint their theater front. Leroy would continue to design signs and displays as the only African American employee at Goldblatt’s Department Store, where he eventually became their art director. By the 1940s, Leroy became one of America’s top airbrush artists, and founded his own company in 1946, Winbush Designs.

5. George Biddle Kelley (1884 – 1962) | Engineering Design

A founding member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Cornell University – America’s oldest Black Greek fraternity – George became the first Black engineer registered in New York State (according the legend, George Kelley was also instrumental in creating the ‘handshake ritual’ that most fraternities utilize today). George would go on to work for the New York Engineering Department, where he worked on notable projects like the Barge Canal.

6. Eugene Winslow (1919 – 2001) | Graphic Designer

An Ohio native, Eugene was an artist, illustrator, and publisher. Having co-founded the Afro-Am Publishing Co. in Chicago, the DuSable Museum of African-American History lists Eugene as one of seven black design pioneers in Chicago – and for good reason. After attending the Art Institute of Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology, Eugene created famous works like Great Negroes Past and Present (which Eugene illustrated), and Afro-Americans ’76: Black Americans in the Founding of Our Nation.

7. Willi Smith (1948 – 1987) | Fashion Designer

Willi Smith was considered one of the most successful Black fashion designers in America. After attending Parsons The New School for Design, Willi was mentored by Arnold Scaasi, a famous couturier, until he left to work as the lead designer for Digits in 1969.

The inventor of streetwear, Willi’s label WilliWear Limited (launched in 1976) grossed over $25M in sales in just ten years. Willi’s label worked to help make fashion more accessible and affordable. WilliWear was also the first clothing company to create both men’s and women’s wear under the same label.

8. Georg Olden (1920 – 1975) | Graphic Designer

Born to an escaped slave and opera singing mother, Georg Olden was a revolutionary designer who worked in television and advertising. With famous projects under his belt like Gunsmoke, Lassie, and I Love Lucy, Georg became the first African-American to design a postage stamp, which commemorated the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. An AIGA medal-winning graphic designer, Georg helped pave the way for African Americans in the field of design and in the corporate world.

9. Elijah McCoy (1844-1929) | Engineering Design

Technically a Canadian-American, Elijah McCoy held 57 patents; one of which was the lubrication system for steam engines. Elijah’s engineering was so famous that his name was used to determine authenticity of equipment – which inspectors asking if they were using “the real McCoy.” Near the end of his career, in 1920 Elijah formed the Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company. Elijah’s inventions were honored in 2012 by the US Patent and Trademark Office when they named its first regional office the Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Patent Office, located in Detroit, Mich.

10. Ann Lowe (1898 – 1981) | Fashion Designer

Ann Lowe was the first African-American to become a famous fashion designer. After graduating from Fashion School, Ann moved to Tampa to open her first dress salon, and would open her second store in New York City in 1950. With her designs being worn primarily by upper-class women, Ann was best known for designing Olivia de Havilland’s Academy Award dress in 1946, and the ivory silk taffeta wedding dress which was worn by Jacqueline (Jackie) Bouvier when she married John F. Kennedy in 1953. In 1961, Ann received the Couturier of the Year award, and today her work is exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

7 New Year’s Resolutions for Designers

Written By Liz Achanta

New year, new you . . . new designs? The ancient art of making resolutions to better yourself has been traced back to the Babylonians 4,000 years ago. The trick to making sure New Year’s Resolutions work is to make sure that they are meaningful to YOU, as well as reasonably attainable to keep you motivated throughout the year to stick to your plan.

While most NYRs are related to personal growth (e.g., health, financial wellbeing, etc.), your goals should also incorporate professional items, too! We’ve put together 7 different goals to help keep you engaged and inspired throughout 2023.

New year, new you . . . new designs? The ancient art of making resolutions to better yourself has been traced back to the Babylonians 4,000 years ago. The trick to making sure New Year’s Resolutions work is to make sure that they are meaningful to YOU, as well as reasonably attainable to keep you motivated throughout the year to stick to your plan.

While most NYRs are related to personal growth (e.g., health, financial wellbeing, etc.), your goals should also incorporate professional items, too! We’ve put together 7 different goals to help keep you engaged and inspired throughout 2023.

1.       Clean your workspace – regularly

We’ve all heard the saying “A messy desk is a sign of genius,” but there’s something symbolic about walking up to a clean desk after it was laden with papers, sticky notes, and dust.

A fresh, clean workspace can represent walking up to a new canvas or an empty blueprint: new beginnings. If you’re a chronic desk-clutterer, committing to cleaning your workspace once a day might be too much to start with. Instead, try putting a reminder on your calendar for once a week (like Fridays) or even once a month (try the first or last day of each month) can keep your space looking fresh so you can fill it with more ideas.

2.       Spend 1 hour a week ideating

Ideating is especially good for individuals who’ve felt like they’ve entered into a ‘design slump.’ Making the same designs over and over again? There’s hundreds of different ideation techniques to help you get your creativity spinning – like sketching worst-possible ideas, braindumping, or making mood boards are all great ways to get those creative wheels turning.

Just like cleaning your workspace, make sure you stick to your plan by putting a reminder on your calendar or blocking off a specific time each week to get your ideation done. During this time, make sure you only focus on creating – so you might want to hop into an empty conference room or put some earbuds in to keep you from getting distracted. And remember: this hour is spent for you to explore; it doesn’t have to be work-related!

3.       Learn a new design (or any!) software

Regardless if your design expertise involves tech, it’s good to stay in-the-know on different software’s in order to stay relevant. For example, if you’re a graphic designer who already has advanced experience with Photoshop and Illustrator, why don’t you try learning Adobe

Animate? Or if you’re into architectural design and frequently use Rhino 3D, why don’t you try out Blender?

Exposing yourself to different types of design software’s not only can give you a competitive advantage if you’re looking to switch jobs, but it can also get your creative juices flowing by going back to the basics. Plus, there’s lots of free design software online, making this New Year’s Resolution easy to achieve!

4.       Try 1 new design style per month

Remember back in grade school when you’d write a different type of poem a day during Poetry Month? There’s a reason why this teaching technique works: by exposing yourself to different elements, you’re able to explore different variations of your creativity.

Are you a portrait painter? Try a charcoal still life instead. Or do find yourself consistently designing vintage fashion? Why not incorporate African or Asian influences into your designs? You might shock yourself into how much you enjoy these new challenges, while refreshing your designs in the process.

5.       Design something just for you

Have a passion project you’ve been meaning to start? This is your chance to have more fun in 2023: the longer you work in the design business, the more easy it is to get tunnel vision and lose what made you love designing in the first place.

Whether you’ve been wanting to paint a mural in your bedroom or build that art studio in your backyard, make the most of this year by ensuring you get enough ‘Me-Time’ to have a final project you’re proud to show off.

6.       Share your expertise

Establishing yourself as a subject matter expert in design can have a lot of benefits for you, and who you’re sharing your knowledge with. By teaching others what you know, you are able to get a better understanding of your own skills – especially when you have to communicate to different audiences.

Try doing a pro bono project like those listed on Catchafire or Taproot Foundation, hop on a how-to chat thread, or even start a blog to start sharing your expertise. Don’t forget that you can always use the work you make in these types of projects in your portfolio!

7.       Take a risk

Have you been meaning to go back to school, start vlogging your design work, or launch your freelance career? It’s time to put your fears of failure aside and face the reality that you’ll never achieve your dreams unless you take that first step. Remember that no matter the outcome, when you take risks as an individual you gain confidence and learn valuable lessons. You can do it!

The Best Holiday Gifts for the Designer in Your Life

Written By Guest User

If you plan to go holiday shopping for a designer this year—be it a relative, friend, colleague, or client—consider buying them a gift that fuels their creative spirit. You know they’re spending a lot of their time on their computer or in their workspace, and that can make it tough to figure out what kind of holiday gift might brighten up their day-to-day. Even if you’re not a designer at heart yourself, we’ve put together a wish list of gifts just about any designer is sure to appreciate.

A solid notebook

Ideas often start on paper, and many artists working in the digital world still like to return to a tactile sketchbook. A classic Moleskine is a favorite among many graphic designers, and they come in a wide range of covers, colors, sizes and paper patterns. Other favorites include brands like Field Notes, Leuchtturm and Rhodia. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, Karst makes notebooks from durable, waterproof, unbelievably smooth paper produced from stone.

Throwing in a selection of favorite pens, or a gift card for a specialty retailer like JetPens completes the gift.

An even smarter notebook

If you’d like to take it even further than a nice notebook, a smart notebook might be the answer. Smart notebooks bridge analog and digital, using a variety of different methods to digitize what you put on paper. Moleskine’s version uses specialty “Ncoded” paper and a smart pen to send notes and drawings directly into the Moleskine app in vector format. The Livescribe system works similarly, with the added benefit of recording audio as you write (a great tool for brainstorming), while versions from Rocketbook, Evernote and Homestec rely on apps to scan your pages into a digital format. These smart notebooks can range in price from $10 to $279.

A workspace upgrade

Many would say that peak design is where function meets form – if the designer’s workspace is functional, but due for a makeover, consider aesthetic organizing options. Gather is an expandable desk organizing system, created by a designer and launching now through Kickstarter. It accommodates laptops, external monitors, magsafe chargers, heavy duty headphones and more. Other beautiful systems created through Kickstarter include Deskinator and Hexa. Etsy, Muji, The Container Store, and IKEA are other places to browse for just the right look and feel.

Pro tip: These hidden drawers mount under a desk and are great for stray pens, notepads and other unwanted clutter.

Cloud subscriptions

If you’re looking for a purely practical gift, consider gifting a year of one of their vital subscriptions. Digital work depends on the cloud, but cloud storage space comes at a price. A year subscription of DropBox costs $199 for 3 TB, while similar plans for Google One cost $100 – 250, annually. Even Adobe Creative Cloud – which is the only way to access updated versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and more – is exclusively available as a subscription. The full suite totals $599, annually.

Skillshare membership

Digital design is constantly changing, with new possibilities emerging all the time. It can be tough to keep up with it all, and even tougher to teach yourself new systems, tools and techniques. Skillshare is an educational platform geared toward creatives, and a membership unlocks courses from technical skills, like video editing, animation and coding for web design, to abstract ones like how to spark original ideas and build creative confidence. Annual memberships total $165, but periodically offer promotions for the first 3 months free.

.Design domain

For up-and-coming designers, an online portfolio can help them level up their careers. A custom website with a .design extension can let potential clients and collaborators know that your beloved designer is serious about art, creativity, and/or branding. Adding .design to a set of business cards as well as a custom .design email address to upgrade your gift.

A next-level tool for mobile photographers

For someone with an artistic eye, one simple addition can turn a camera phone into a powerful tool for capturing inspiration from life on-the-go. Mobile photography lenses, such as this telephoto lens from Moment, can bring a cinematic vibe to your smartphone’s camera, while wide, fisheye and macro lenses can offer unique tools to those who haven’t upgraded to the newest devices. Browse Moment or Adorama for more.

Bonus for iPhone users: Mobile app Halide Mark II puts pro camera tools into the hands of mobile users, for even better photos. The app was designed to channel the features of an actual DSLR, giving users greater control over focus, ISO, shutter speed and more. Users also have the option to photograph in RAW formats. Halide is available as an annual subscription service, or for a one-time purchase of $36.

NFT Art 101: What are NFTs?

Written By Liz Achanta

On March 11, 2021, the British auction house Christie’s sold the first non-fungible token art for a whopping $69.3M. That auction event, hosted at Rockefeller Center in New York City, was sold out with over 1,000 attendees, and the event was dedicated entirely to NFT’s. From that point onward, artists have begun investing their time into developing NFT art, with the most expensive piece NFT art, The Merge, sold at $91M.

These high-profile digital art sales have stirred lots of attention amongst amateur and experienced artists alike. But what are NFTs and how can you start making your mark in the Metaverse? Keep reading to learn what NFTs are, how to start designing, and where to sell your artwork.

What are NFTs?

NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens have been around a lot longer than most people think. The very first NFT, called Quantum, was created in 2014 by Kevin McCoy and Anil Dash at a hackathon; since then artists began experimenting with digital assets being developed on top of Bitcoin blockchain.

Unlike most digital assets, an NFT is unique in that it is bought and sold with a digital certificate, showing how the artwork is the original – also meaning that there can only be one official owner. This digital asset is also protected by blockchain technology so it can’t be hacked or divided into smaller pieces – hence the term ‘Non-Fungible’ in NFT.

We can think of NFT art like the Mona Lisa or Starry Night of the digital world: they’re one of a kind, their value can’t be interchanged, and while other artists can make similar copies, they’re worth nothing compared to the original.

How NFT Art is used in the Metaverse

Strictly speaking, there’s no app called ‘The Metaverse,’ but rather a series of apps that exist in this virtual reality. The Metaverse is a ‘digital universe’: different online social spaces where you can interact with others across the globe. And while the Metaverse depicted in the movie Ready Player One might be impossible, the idea behind the metaverse is that you can – in real time – talk, play, or fight with other users on any given platform, such as World of Warcraft, Fortnight, or Horizon Worlds.

NFT Art can be used a variety of ways in the metaverse. The most popular form of usage is via Art Galleries. One example of this is Voxels. In Voxels, popular art museums are buying NFT art, then creating online ‘galleries’ to showcase them.

NFT Art can also be used (and sold) in the marketplace: rather than heading to art auctions, companies like OpenSea are creating online platforms for collectors and designers to buy and sell art.

How to make (and sell) NFT art

NFT art is considered any unique form of digital art. As designers, we know that art comes in all shapes and sizes, so don’t think your NFT has to fit into a specific mold. Take for example Nyan Cat, which was popular in the 2010s. The owner of this digital masterpiece turned the Nyan Cat into an NFT, and sold the GIF for $590,000. Similarly, The Bored Ape Yacht Club has a collection of 10,000 images, one of which sold for $481.6k.

Your NFT art can be anything: A stylized JPEG, GIF, or even a doodle you made on paint. What makes your NFT valuable is the uniqueness and rarity of your art – quite similar to tangible art.

To increase your NFT popularity – and it’s value – follow some of these quick tips:

    • Promote your work on Social Media: Just like any brand, sharing your work on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is a great way to increase awareness. Use hashtags to increase your reach, and potentially get your art noticed by other artists and collectors.

    • Collaborate with others: another great way to increase your value is by creating work with others. This can not only extend your reach by getting your work noticed by two pools of people (your followers and your collaborator’s followers), but as well collaborations are becoming increasingly “on trend” in the NFT world.

    • Post your work on different forums: Did you know that Discord offers features other than just chat? You can post your work in crypto galleries to help your work gain momentum, knowing that the people in that chat room are all there for a similar purpose.

    Another great forum to post your work on is Mark Cuban’s Lazy.com: a website entirely devoted towards showcasing NFTs. The simple three-step process involves creating your account (which verifies your identity), linking your blockchain wallets, then posting your content online.

    How to sell your NFT Art

    Before you begin selling your NFT art, remember that there are some additional steps you need to take in order to prove your art’s uniqueness, and prep yourself for payment. While not required in order to sell your art, some artists choose copyright their artwork, especially if the work is part of a series that uses similar elements (think that Bored Ape Yacht Club mentioned earlier).

    Whether you choose to or not to copyright your artwork, you will need to mint the art – which means tokenizing your artwork by uploading it to a marketplace platform which will guarantee authenticity. There is a fee associated with this but remember that the rarity of your art is what makes your NFT valuable. These fees, called ‘gas fees,’ vary day to day, so using software like Etherscan which monitors the gas fees across multiple platforms so you can mint your art when prices are low.

    The next thing you’ll need to do when you’re trying to sell your NFT art is setting up and funding your crypto wallet. Fortunately, with the rise of cryptocurrency, there are lots of platforms that enable you to do this: Coinbase was rated as the best for beginners, and it’s free to set up your account.

    Once you’ve followed the above sets, you’re ready to list your art for sale. Since NFTs have become more popular, there are more platform options for artists to choose from. Some platforms, like OpenSea and Rarible, are open to everyone, while some platforms are by invitation-only. There’s a marketplace for every type of artists, so do some research to find which marketplace is best for you!

    While it seems like a daunting task, when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of it all NFTs really are just another avenue for designers to showcase (and potentially sell) their work; so as a designer, you really should think of this as another resource to experiment with. As the saying goes, if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong! 

    Are you in the mood? Why you should make a mood board before starting a new design project.

    Written By Liz Achanta

    As a designer, finding inspiration for your next project probably isn’t an issue – after all, you’re a creative! What can be an issue is taking those ideas and organizing them into something that your client can understand.

    Mood boards fit that exact purpose: a mood board is a collaboration of photos, color schemes, fonts, and basically any other design element you can think of in one collective space where you can store your ideas for your project. Having a mood board opens the communication between you and your client, so not only can your client understand your creative direction, but your client can give you their input as well (for example, swapping out color schemes).

    Keep reading to learn about why you should start your projects with a mood board to enhance your client’s design experience!

    Why you should start a mood board

    As previously mentioned, mood boards can provide your client with more information on your design direction, and can provide clarity on important elements for your project. More importantly for you, the designer, a mood board enables you to put down ALL of your ideas into one spot to see how well different elements work with another – when then enables you to add and remove varying pieces to make the perfect design.

    For designers who have a hard time putting ideas into words, a mood board is an expressive way to show your client exactly what they should expect from the project. After all . . . a picture is worth a thousand words!

    When should you start building your mood board

    Earliest is best when making a mood board, so make sure the mood board is created and approved by your client before you even start working on the actual deliverables. By having specific elements of the design approved beforehand, taking just a few minutes before your project starts to create a mood board can save you lots of editing time down the road!

    Who benefits from making a mood board

    You don’t have to have clients in order to justify making a mood board – any designer can benefit from putting their ideas in one space before working on a project. Whether your building a website for your client and want to determine if the theme is casual or professional, deciding between ‘farmhouse chic’ or an-upscale modern for a room redesign, or even simple items like creating a logo, a mood board has no limitations in organizing your creativity. And remember: more is better when you’re gathering your ideas! 

    How to get started putting your mood board together

    Let’s be real: cutting out pictures from a magazine and pasting them onto a posterboard just isn’t an efficient way to present your ideas anymore. Making online mood boards are easier than ever, and there’s lots of free tools to make them. Check out some of our favorites below:

    Canva’s mood board editor
    • Pinterest: Pinterest brands themselves as a visual discover engine to find a variety of different things, like recipes, wedding ideas, sewing patters, and paint swatches. What’s great about Pinterest is its search functions (type in a category and let your creativity go wild) and its collaboration features (add other Pinterest users to ‘pin’ items to your board). The user-friendly functionality of Pinterest makes this app even more fun, especially if your client wants to be involved in the discovery process.
    • Canva: For the slightly more ‘tech-savvy’ designer, Canva is a great tool to use since it’s drag-and-drop feature allows you to put all of your ideas into one document. Canva has plenty of mood board templates for designers to use, and you have full access to Canva’s millions of photos, fonts, and swatches to make a professional mood board that you’ll be proud to show off.

    • Adobe Express: Similar to Canva, Adobe Express offers plenty of pre-made templates to help you kick-start your mood board creation. While the functionality of Adobe Express is geared more towards the expert designer than the other two applications, Adobe Express can include animated stickers from GIPHY, as well as import thousands of images and fonts from the Adobe Creative Studio.

    No matter what platform you use to create your mood board, remember presentation and organization is key when presenting your mood board to your clients. Once you’ve landed on that perfect design, make sure you upload your mood board to your dot-design website to help other potential clients understand your work flow, too!