As a graphic designer, one of the most important things I’ve learned is that the more outside inspiration that goes into the creative process – the better the creative output. 

This means the more collaboration, teamwork, and communication I have with my clients and colleagues, the better the final design will be. Being curious, open to what’s going on in the world and being on the lookout for inspiration and insights also helps me come up with better ideas.

After a weekend of enjoying and performing at the Cuba Dupa festival in Wellington, I’m struck by how dancing makes me a better designer for my clients.

How does being a member of the Brazillian samba band – Wellington Batucada help me design better?

Fundamentally, it puts my values of teamwork, bringing a positive attitude, creativity and building a community into action. All this positivity, noise, colour and energy feeds the brain and gets me into a creative state of mind.

Collaboration – the  key to success

With around 100 members, Wellington Batucada must work together as a team to achieve our director’s vision while accommodating individual requirements and the practical restrictions of the festival venue. Each player and dancer work together to create a memorable performance that is greater than anything we could achieve by ourselves.

When working on a design project, it’s essential to work closely with the client to understand their vision and goals. Working with their limitations of time, scope or budget and being open to feedback, suggestions and ideas helps create a product that everyone is proud of.

Bringing the bounce

A positive attitude goes a long way. As a designer, it’s important to approach every project with a positive and upbeat attitude. This means being friendly, responsive and reliable throughout the entire process. It means being pragmatic and realistic in the face of challenges and injecting some fun along the way. By bringing positive energy to the design process, we can create something great and enjoy the process.

The infectious energy created by a successful samba performance doesn’t happen by accident. It’s created by consistent rehearsals, being reliable and turning up consistently and a commitment by everyone involved to enjoy themselves and share that joy with our audiences.

Loving bright ideas

A big part of my enjoyment of being in Wellington Batucada is getting creative with our costumes. I love the chance to visualise what I’d like to create in my head, think through the practicalities, source the materials and then produce something tangible with my own hands. Energetic testing at full-speed-samba ensures that costumes won’t break, fall off or smack you in the face. If they do, changes are made. It’s the design process in action!

By taking a break from my usual digital working environment I get to experience new places, people, sights and ideas. This space gives me new perspectives that feed into my work. By being curious and creative, I can push the boundaries of what is possible and come up with better ideas for my clients.

Building community

I enjoyed Wellington Batucada long before I was brave enough to join and I’m so pleased I did. My favourite part of dancing in a community band, where everyone is welcome, is the sense of connection and community it creates. Particularly in parades, the energy we bring creates a feedback loop of engagement and enjoyment with our audiences.

As a designer, my job is to connect and communicate. I strongly believe in the value of building communities and that stronger connections help us all thrive. This is also why the networking group Chrysalis for Women is important to me, as it provides an environment where I can seek support and grow with other like-minded business owners. For me it means sharing knowledge and expertise as well as working together with others to create something that will make a positive difference.

I’m convinced that the more effort I put into having new and interesting experiences the better the designs I create for the people I work with. By engaging positively and actively with the world and those around me I generate more inspiration and ideas for my work. Let’s work together to create simple, thoughtful, effective designs that make a difference.

 

Photo credits: Cover image Satya Priyomarsono, PauloPicsNZ and Chris Mckeown

 

 

The Pukerua Bay Bookshed just had its 7th birthday. I’m delighted it’s been successful and (as you can tell from the picture on the right) is popular and packed with books.

While it was created as a fun family project and a community experiment, it also demonstrates something relevant to business.

A) Something simple can be a great success.

We got the basics right:

  • it’s visually appealing
  • it’s functional and the location works
  • it’s well-used and there is an engaged audience
  • it pretty much looks after itself

B) You can’t always rest on your laurels.

Out in the real world things change and updates are needed:

  • the window broke
  • the wind pulled the door apart
  • wet weather and rotten boards led to leaks
  •  the catch got stiff

C) Work out what needs to be done to keep providing a service.

Then deciding:

  • which jobs fit into your skill set (for me painting, roof maintenance and trading skills with others)
  • which jobs you need to outsource (in this case the carpentry)
  • who to ask (luckily for me friends and fellow community volunteers)

D) There may be the odd hiccup.

I could mention the painted bench seat that got stolen… but I’ll save that story for another day!

 

Painting practice.

This year I’m EXPLORING (more about that here). As a result, this weekend I’m selling some of my paintings at the local Market.

 

Pogo Bird Paintings

 

Painting is something I’ve come back to in the last couple of years (thank you Covid!). It’s a long time since art college and I’ve found approaching it as a fun “experiment” takes the pressure off. It’s great to get away from the computer screen and to literally get my hands dirty.

 

Unfortunately, like any creative endeavour, you need to be prepared to ride the creative wave. Sometimes it’s hard to start. Sometimes it goes really well and you feel awesome. Then nothing goes right, whatever you try looks rubbish and the only thing to do is scrub what you’ve done in a fit of frustration and stomp off for a break! It’s also quite exposing to put personal work out into the world.

 

Close up painting of Tui with red background

 

Luckily, this upcoming market day isn’t just about selling paintings. It ticks off some of my business/life values.

Especially

  • BRIGHTER IDEAS – powered by curiosity and creativity. Listening and asking questions feed focus and insight. Being creative outside of my 9-5 helps me consider new ideas – which is a bonus for my clients.
  • BUILD COMMUNITY – stronger connections help us all thrive. I believe no act of kindness is ever wasted and it’s good to share what I know. We’re all in this together and there’s space for everyone. We’re unique so why compete?

Pukerua Bay Market Day Logo Design

 

I’m all for supporting local initiatives which is why I helped make the Pukerua Bay Market Day logo for my friend and local business owner at Good Wool. It will also be an excellent opportunity to catch up with friends, and network with other creatives, small businesses and community groups.

I can’t wait!

(Cover photo credit: Debby Hudson, Unsplash)