Feedback That Gives Focus

As creative professionals, we might see ourselves as the hero of our work’s story. But this can make feedback—an inevitable part of our work—seem like the villain. Learn how to reframe your relationship to your biggest nemesis. Make feedback your trusted sidekick instead.

Liminal Thinking

People act in ways that make sense to them; if it doesn’t make sense to you, then you’re missing something. Recognizing our belief bubbles is the first step to holding our assumptions loosely, getting out of our own way, and improving communication with others, as we see in this excerpt from Liminal Thinking by Dave Gray.

Impulses and Outcomes

When a designer becomes known for a certain look or style, it could be a sign that they’re held in thrall by something in their own personality or individual life experience. Matt Griffin reminds us that design is a service intended to be tailored to the client. To best meet the project’s and the client’s needs, recognize when you’re hanging on to a limited selection of personal design tropes.

Creating Process to Free up Time for Creativity

There’s merit to keeping your small business nimble by keeping process to a minimum. But even in the tiniest one- or two-person operation, it’s plain that not all business tasks are improved by being hand-crafted. Rachel Andrew powers through business routines with checklists that free her mind for more compelling things. Remove friction from the rote tasks, so you can be at your best for the creative work that can only be done you.

Building Nonlinear Narratives for the Web

The web operates in ways that can conflict with our traditional view of what a “story” is. Content is chunked, mixed, and spread across channels, devices, and formats. How do we understand story lines, characters, interactions, and the role of the audience, given this information sprawl? Cue nonlinear narratives—Senongo Akpem guides us past basic “scrolly-telling” to immersive, sometimes surprising experiences.

Initiation to Code

The best person to mentor junior developers turns out to be: you. Mentoring can be a powerful tool for guiding and nurturing new hires, but it also benefits you—and your organization—by encouraging collaboration and curiosity in your everyday work. Alice Mottola offers guidance (and a little agile structure) for approaching the mentoring process—and shows how it can build better code and better engineers.

Looking Outside

Partners in a small, close leadership team—such as in a family business—often know each other’s minds very well, and agree on most things. That’s great to keep things running smoothly (though sometimes there’s awkwardness when business disagreements intrude on home life). On the other hand, it can also lead to stagnation. Rachel Andrew is finding that an outsider’s perspective can help when partners can’t quite see eye to eye—or when they agree too much.

The Specialist-Generalist Balance

Specialists? Generalists? It’s not a question of which is better, but about finding the right mix for your team and your work. Specialists offer valuable expertise, but over-reliance on specialization isn’t always good for workflow—too many niches can lead to silos, bottlenecks, and poor communication. Garin Evans recommends that, instead, we build teams that play off the best traits of specialists and generalists, encouraging collaboration and innovation as we go.

On Our Radar: In the Key of F

It’s a new kind of blog post: straight from our brains to your hearts, we’re sharing what we think is neat on the web. This week: thoughts on Flipboard, diversity in tech, and advice for organizing conferences.

The Love You Make

What’s the best way to present your work on the web? It’s not just about your portfolio pieces—it’s also about cultivating your voice. Jeffrey Zeldman explains the importance of speaking and writing publicly as you build your online presence.