April 19, 2021

Design and Play

When I think about my early career in design I think fondly of the time I spent making and sharing work on Dribbble. I was new to design and the community provided me a place to create work on my own terms and share it with an audience that was supportive and inspiring. The work I posted on Dribbble wasn’t for my day job. It wasn’t for school. It was a creative way for me to play with the knowledge I was gathering as I entered design. In addition to that, it felt like I was exploring this new knowledge with others. We were collectively on that journey together.

As my career has moved forward, I have tried to retain a sense of play with my design practice. My history in brand design has left me with a desire to explore abstract concepts and create things from a blank canvas. Design systems and product design have changed our need for the blank canvas, but play can exist in that world.

Playing with design is about exploration. It’s about going beyond what we think and having fun tinkering with the unknown. In thinking about this topic, I found this great video of Erin Jang speaking about purposeful play. It’s worth watching and pairing with this podcast on the beginner’s mind.

In the future, I’ll be looking for more playful opportunities. I think we can all benefit from more of it. We can discover new opportunities that are right under our noses and push our work forward, all while having fun.

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