Articles by Month: April 2017
Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Be grateful for what you have.” In this day and age, where quite a few of us have more than we need, you would think more people would wake up and appreciate the great splendor of the world. But, unfortunately, we don’t.
Many times when something good happens we say, “I am so lucky and grateful for this blessing in my life.” But, if one small bad thing happens 20 minutes later a lot of us quickly forget about that blessing. Humans tend to gravitate towards the negative.
That’s where gratitude comes in. Gratitude is an extremely powerful feeling that leaves a lasting impact on not only your life, but the lives of others as well. But, as much as gratitude is a feeling, it is also a practice. You really do have to practice feeling grateful for things. You woke up this morning in a comfortable bed? Incredible! You have gas in your car? Miraculous!
It’s also important to remember that negative things do happen and we should feel grateful towards those things as well, even if at the time they seem awful. It’s all about perspective.
When we practice gratitude it shines through in every aspect of our lives, especially work. Considering we spend most of our days at work, expressing gratitude on the job is extremely important. Let’s take a look at some ways gratitude can boost your morale at work.
1. Practicing gratitude helps you focus on the positive.
I wake up every morning and write in my Five Minute Journal. The journal is a constant reminder for me to focus on things for which I’m grateful, as well as a few things that would make my day really great. Some days, I’m so tired that I simply write I’m grateful for my comfortable bed. Other days, when I don’t really feel like doing anything, I remind myself how grateful I am to work at a place that I love and don’t dread going to every day.
This simple practice sets my tone for the day and allows me to appreciate the small things in my life just a little bit more. Remaining positive is absolutely key in the workplace. Stressful things are bound to happen, but if you focus on things you’re grateful for instead of stress, negativity and worry, I promise your job will be a whole lot easier.
2. Feeling grateful helps improve your relationships.
Have you ever met someone who just seems like a light in your life? Someone who radiates positivity and exudes gratitude in every aspect of their life. Think about the way you feel when you’re around them—joyful, content, happy. You just can’t get enough of them. You probably find yourself feeling grateful for their existence because they bring you so much joy.
Now think about someone who focuses solely on the negative. Someone who complains about every small thing in their life. You probably have a totally different feeling about them.
Positivity is contagious and truly makes the workplace an enjoyable place to be. Practicing gratitude makes life seem a bit brighter. Once you start focusing on expressing thankfulness and appreciation, it will affect other people as well and lift the whole office up with you.
3. Gratitude does wonders for your self-esteem.
Taking the time to focus on things you are thankful for and all of the positives in your life leads to higher self-esteem. And self-esteem has been linked to improved career success. Who doesn’t want that?
Once your self-esteem builds, so will your confidence. And confidence in the workplace is key. Have you been dying to start a new project or shoot out some fresh ideas that have been brewing? Start practicing gratitude and the confidence to go for something new will come with it.
I can drone on and on about the benefits of being grateful, but the one thing I want you to hold on to is that it just feels good. Gratitude brings so much joy into your life as well as the lives of others. Who doesn’t want to feel as much joy as possible?
Did you know that most of the professionally designed media you see every day, such as the content on websites and phone interfaces, and in magazines, is designed on an invisible grid system which guides your eye in order to optimize usability, readability, and the amount of time it takes for you to absorb a message?
Did you know that when reading a body of text, most people subconsciously take a breath at the end of each line, which is why graphic designers intentionally set paragraphs to specific widths in order to keep your breathing from slowing to a point that you become sleepy and unengaged?
And did you know that buttons on some websites are purposefully placed in unintuitive places with the intention of making you pay attention to what you’re clicking?
I want to address a common misconception about graphic design. Contrary to popular belief, a designer’s main purpose is not solely to “make things pretty.” Clearing the air of this myth is important because it may enable society (those around whom the entire field of design revolves) to appreciate good design, understand its value, and be more observant of bad design, thereby raising the bar for the visual communication that surrounds us.
I like to think that if enough people start calling for better graphic design in our daily lives, a government employee somewhere might finally rework the heinous train wrecks we know as voting ballots.
The examples listed above are just a few significant instances of design where “pretty” is not the priority. They’re things most people would never notice, and rightfully so. Good design is typically supposed to go unnoticed because its purpose is to create a seamless user experience and to help the user achieve a broader goal.
Sure, the best designs are aesthetically pleasing, but it’s not the aesthetic satisfaction that determines the strength of a design. Rather, good aesthetics are the result of good design. In the strongest design work, form follows function. When audiences experience designs they find “pretty,” they don’t typically notice the bones to the work that are making it not only pretty, but also user-friendly, legible, engaging, and persuasive. So, if sprinkling decorations and fancy fonts on a design isn’t the basis of the profession, what is?
Graphic design is the application of visual communication principles to the composition of optical relationships between design components (hierarchy, typography, color, space, alignment, grid, etc.) within a set of parameters in order to convey a message.
The challenge in creating great graphic design is using superior strategy and creativity. Parameters can be anything from size, to time, budget, or the requirement of consistency within pre-existing brand standards, to name a few. In the highest-quality design work, every choice is made intentionally — bold text versus regular-weight text; serif font versus sans-serif font; sharp corners versus rounded corners.
The best design is free of artistic ego — it is never about the designer, nor the client’s personal aesthetic preferences. The decisions made in strong design work are first and foremost about how to best communicate with the audience. There is a science to visual communication, such as the text-box-width-breathing-scenario mentioned above, which creates challenges beyond deciding which shade of aqua is a designer’s favorite.
The misconception that graphic design is all about making things pretty is understandable; before I began my career in design school, I thought the same thing. But the field deserves respect for its truly significant contributions to society.
I hope this blog post plants a seed in your mind, encouraging you to look at the world of visual communication with a more critical and appreciative eye. And seriously, if the designer of voting ballots is reading this, please revisit those things! This concludes today’s PFP PSA. Thanks for reading.