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Here we are again. That time of year when most people feel compelled to change something about themselves. Improve something. Stop a bad habit. Renew.

As 2017 draws to a close and 2018 looms bright and shiny, perhaps you too are thinking about what you’d like to do differently. And as designers, we are in a perpetual state of change anyway, so why not jot down a few pledges and make it official?

In the spirit of making New Year's resolutions, and taking into consideration what's important to me as a designer, here's my list of the top 6 design tips for 2018.

1. Embrace the white space.

I love white space. I always have and always will. It tops the list because I always want to remind myself of its importance. Those beautiful blocks of mindfulness. Intentional in their placement, they can either give pause or draw attention. White space is the little black dress of design.

“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

2. Keep it simple.

Sometimes the best solution is the simple one. As designers, we strive to solve problems, to present content in a meaningful way. That can be challenging when there are so many important elements competing for attention. Strip it down. Create a hierarchy. Tell a story.

“I strive for two things in design: simplicity and clarity. Great design is born of those two things.”
– Lindon Leader

3. Be innovative.

Let’s face it. Being innovative involves risk. There’s a chance it could be a big fail. Others might not get your visionary insight and brilliant out-of-the-box approach. On the other hand, it could be something really, really great. The key is to know the right time to innovate. A client who wants to grab attention in a new way, sure! A client who needs a piece of media for an event tomorrow morning, probably not the right time.

“Failure is built into creativity ... the creative act involves this element of 'newness' and 'experimentalism,' then one must expect and accept the possibility of failure.”
– Saul Bass

4. Love what you do.

This may seem like a no-brainer and a little cliché, but its meaning is two-fold. First, it's important that you look forward to your work day. If you love what you do, you immerse yourself in it – and all sense of time fades away. Second, the results should reflect your passion. If you aren’t happy with your work, how can you expect anyone else to be?

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.
– Steve Jobs

5. Remember human contact.

Technology changes the way we communicate and interact, but let’s not get so wrapped up in the cool of the technology that we forget there is a living, breathing human on the other end. Good design should make people feel something. Anything. But preferably, the right something.

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou

6. Learn something new.

There are now so many unique ways to present a creative idea. Back in the day when everything went to print, a project was done once the press was fired up. The ultimate point of no return. The culmination of every design decision and a silent prayer for solid proofreading. But now there are no limits to creative execution, and you have many, many new tools at your disposal to make it happen.

“Digital design is like painting, except the paint never dries.”
– Neville Brody

A few parting words...

It’s well known that resolutions are usually broken by the end of January, and self-restraint can seem harder than ever because there are so many design temptations. The key is to be realistic and focus on what is important to you. And reward yourself on a job well done!

Our team at PMG wishes you and yours a Happy New Year! Any graphic design tips or creative resolutions of your own? Feel free to post them in the comments below. And if you need any help with your website, contact us anytime!

Free Download: Website Redesign vs. Refresh – Sizing Up Your Digital Makeover with 12 Decision Factors

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