Keep Playing

The absolute worst thing you can do amidst COVID-19 is quit.

March 16, 2020

I'll keep this short.

Things are weird right now, but you have two options:

Keep playing or quit.

You might fail if you keep playing, but I guarantee you will fail if you quit.

Get in the game.

More you say?

Break the Rut-Tine

I'm pretty dedicated to routine, but why let it go the last two weeks of the year?

12.23.2019

Routine is what produces results. Consistent dedication to a series of habits will beat talent any day of the week. Personally, my morning routine consists of the following:

  • 7am wake up (I'm a night owl, not an early bird)
  • Stretch, run, pushups, and squats
  • Journal and Prayer
  • Bible Reading (1 chapter from the OT/NT and one Psalm or Proverb)
  • Write the MF Punch
  • Jam on a personal project for an hour or so

Obviously, I'm not perfect so this routine gets muddied on occasion. But, it serves as a solid compass for letting me know when I've derailed. So why would I completely forego this routine during the last two weeks of the year? Most productivity hacks will tell you that you should always stick to your routine regardless of what day it is.

I'm gonna be honest and say screw that.

Routines are effective during normal times of the year, when I've got client emails to answer, phone calls to make, and, of course, design work that needs to be done. Here's the difference: none of that happens regularly during the week of Christmas or the following week for New Years. Could it happen? Sure. But the truth is that it doesn't.

This presents two opportunities: stick to your routine despite the change in circumstance or let it go for two weeks. Neither option is wrong, they just present two different outcomes and that's where it gets interesting.

When I give myself these two weeks to completely let go of my routine, I give my willpower a rest. Furthermore, with all of the bustle of the holidays and trips to Las Vegas and Mexico on the horizon, those routines quickly find themselves going out the door.

That's not an excuse to let any obstacle get in the way of your routines. There are 50 weeks out of the year where I don't see a valid excuse to let go of routine. But failing to recognize the significance and abnormality of the holiday season is a recipe for self-defeat. Things will happen and routines are good, but they also become a rut. In the spirit of creativity and constantly adapting, ruts must be broken.

Can you think of a better time to break a routine than two weeks filled with festivities, good food, and time with people you care about? Didn't think so.

So what are my plans for the next two weeks? Eat some good food, stay up late watching Star Wars movies, see my grandmother, and think about all of the good things that have happened to me this year. Lastly, think about my routine and what could be improved for 2020 ;)

That being said, it's time to take a break from these as well. Have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Check back in 2020 for the MF Punch.

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All Design is About Mitigating Risk

Sometimes the greatest gain is not a gain at all.

1.10.2020

Yesterday, I wrote about how good logos do not make more money. The essential premise was that a good logo is not meant to earn people more money, but counters the cost of having a bad logo. Such as having to reprint collateral when a good logo finally emerges, losing equity in an image that changed, negative impressions, or having to repurpose/reconstruct the logo for various applications (social icons, favicons, app icons, small scale, etc.).

It got me thinking though, isn't all design about mitigating risk or cutting cost? Some would argue that design can earn more money, like going through a rebrand to appeal to a more affluent market, designing an ad meant to drive revenue, or building a streamlined website to increase conversion. But, I'm not convinced this means design's core function is to earn more money.

When you're rebranding to appear to a more affluent market, what you're really doing is mitigating the risk of appearing cheap or scammy.

When designing an ad to increase revenue, what you're really doing is mitigating the risk of being off brand or having a Peleton faux pas.

When you're building a streamlined website, what you're really doing is mitigating the risk of user confusion and discomfort.

Focusing on how you can make more money is great, but that doesn't seem to be design's core capacity. Design is meant to mitigate risk.

The risk of appearing unprofessional.

The risk of having a rigid, difficult identity system.

The risk of looking dysfunctional.

The risk of making a user's experience negative.

Whatever it may be, good design is about mitigating risk.

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