“I don’t want a new iMac, but thank you!” said no graphic designer, ever. We’ll always take a new Apple product, and could you throw in an Adobe CC subscription while you’re at it?
Today, our world is measured by the number of Apple products you have, finding the latest apps, and discovering the newest technology to help your work be fast and efficient. As designers, we already have a tendency to follow technology trends, but on occasion it can be hard to keep up.
Designers aren’t limited in their abilities when it comes to new technology; they just need to adapt. The responsibilities and job tasks may shift as technology develops, which is why it is so important to be flexible as a designer (like I mentioned in Why travel is beneficial for a graphic designer). Being adaptable is common in all career fields, but here are a few ways I keep up with current trends in technology and design.
I like to read up on current trends in technology and design by checking sources like Mashable, HOW Design, AIGA, Fast Company, WIRED, and so on. I actually prefer to follow these sources via Twitter. Frequently, I scroll through my news feed, read relevant articles if I have time, or I save them to Pocket to read later. Pocket is a save-for-later service that allows you to save articles and videos on any device for you to read later from your phone, tablet, or computer.
I’m typically looking for tweets that mention a new app I haven’t heard of, an opinion on a new techie device, or collective thoughts from other designers. Twitter is a savior when it comes to discovering trends and presenting a collection of sources under one station.
Twitter is an excellent networking tool, but it lacks in the face-to-face networking. Don’t get me wrong, I do follow my friends, peers, co-workers, and mentors on Twitter, but I also understand the importance of making a connection in person. Another way to withstand evolving technology is by attending local events, instead of relying on technology to network.
By attending an event put on by a local agency or business that’s within my industry, I’m able to talk with and expand my current network. We get to discuss and share our thoughts on current trends in design and technology. Without attending these events, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to gain an understanding of new technologies from say, a developer or entrepreneur’s perspective. I also wouldn’t be able to share with them my design perspective.
Using, practicing, and experiencing the latest devices and apps that I can get my hands on is another way to endure technology as a designer. I may not appreciate every new device or app I encounter, but there’s always design there to study and it’s beneficial to understand what works about it from a design standpoint. Every time I expose myself to a new device, website, app, or whatever it may be, I have an opportunity for research on current graphic design trends.
I like to check out Apple’s App Store to see what’s trending, popular, and progression of people’s interests. A lot of times I download two or three of the top free apps, even if their purpose is irrelevant to me because I like to check out the UI/UX design. Over time, I can see the progression and movement of design and technology playing on one another.
Finding and acquiring resources pertaining to design and technology introduces you to new trends. Networking opens the opportunity to discuss trends outside your career field.
Researching the current trends in technology gives you an advantage to adapt and discover the trends of the future. Keeping up with resources, networking in your community, and researching trends are going to be applicable to your clients, resulting in success as a designer through evolving technology.
There’s always going to be a demand for designers, despite the fact that the services they provide will inevitably, continue to shift. The best way to develop, understand, and remain an essential designer to a client or employer is to be adaptable.