Be BOLD. The words resounded as I recalled why I was sitting at the 2016 AIGA Design Conference “The Shape of Now” held in Las Vegas, Nevada. From October 17th to the 19th,

I had the opportunity to listen to various designers and be inspired by the challenges they’ve been able to overcome.

Be BOLD. The overarching theme of one of my favorite sessions: J. Dontrese Brown’s Be Bold in Our Actions—In Design, In Leadership and in Life. Brown led the InHouse Symposium encouraging us to be BOLD in design, taking advantage of challenges that we may have within our own organizations. Be BOLD in leadership, building a good team that understands the design process and the organization. He explained that trust is gained when you effectively understand your organization, your team members and your partners. Once you achieve this trust, your supervisors, be it the president or upper management, will begin to trust your ability and capacity to solve a problem internally, both visually and strategically. Brown closed by exhorting the audience to be BOLD in planning, guiding the client through your thought process to help them understand the reasons behind your design solutions.

Be BOLD and embrace change. Lindsay Ballant, during the Emerging Designers Symposium, talked about her journey and the need for an unsettling attitude. Ballant started working in the editorial side of Paper Magazine and changed jobs until she was able to find the position that would give her the freedom to lead a well balanced life. Currently working at Newsweek, Ballant cautioned us to not fall into trends. When things get tough, designers might feel the pressure to yield to trends. But, as designers, our role is to figure out what fits and would work instead of convincing others to follow a trend.

Be BOLD and keep falling in love with the design. Paula Sher encouraged us to always keep moving forward. Designers will face challenges and it is then when perseverance will pay off. She suggested that we find our own hero or mentor as a source of inspiration that we can look up to during times of challenges. It is important to maintain focus and push back against anything that might distract you from your main goal.

Be BOLD. Designers have the power to communicate the world visually. We all have our unique challenges, and conferences such as this one not only inspire us, but also remind us that we are not alone. Whether we are emerging designers or have been around for a while, we all need the space to build relationships and strengthen our technique. The days of presentations helped build each other up, challenged us to become better professionals, and cautioned us to never fall into the trap of settling. Never settle —not for a design, not for a job. Because, after all, we are called upon to be BOLD.

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