The Coffey Blog

Click-worthy content: HOW Design Live conference wrap-up

Posted on: Monday, May 22, 2017

Photo credit: Sappi

Earlier this month, two members of our design team, Julie Christian and Heather Wimer, headed to the HOW Design Live conference in Chicago. For three days, our designers attended sessions intended to boost creativity, communication and collaboration.

These are a few sessions Julie and Heather found most thought-provoking and useful in terms of healthcare print marketing and healthcare website design.

Stay abreast of logo trends

A logo is a visual expression of your brand, and as a result, most organizations put a great deal of thought into what these elements look like. This session helped us understand how logo best practices have changed over time—and what the next great logo might look like.

Bill Gardner explained that 2017 logo trends involve simplicity. Simple color overlays, clean lines, radiating circles and wrapped shapes all seem to be popping up in logo designer playbooks.

The full 2017 report hasn't been published quite yet, but you can see reports from previous years on the LogoLounge website.

Collaborate through kind critiques

Giving feedback—and accepting feedback from others—helps an organization improve. Adam Connor helped us hone our skills so we could tackle these important tasks with compassion.

Connor said that the best feedback involves critical critique. This is the kind of feedback that is designed to help a project move toward its goals. It doesn't come from the gut, and it isn't designed to tell someone what they could do better. It's a structured talk that involves:

  • Asking questions and listening for responses.
  • Discussing strengths as well as weaknesses seen in the design.
  • Thinking and analysis, not knee-jerk reactions.

Developing these collaboration skills takes time and practice, Connor said. But when they are in place, the entire team can focus on the goals of a project—not personal bias—during healthcare publication reviews or healthcare website audits.


Visual learner: Some of Julie's notes from HOW.

Open your mind to creativity

Sam Harrison encouraged us to move past two creativity-killing mindsets. The first he called the "zombie zone," in which we're closed off to the ideas of others and trapped inside our own minds. The second he called the "zig zag zone," in which we're too busy and too stressed to focus. A better zone? The "zing zone," in which we're open to new ideas, asking questions and exploring solutions.

One tip we loved in this session was about presenting the results of your creativity to others. Open up your talk by telling a story, Harrison said. When your listeners are given the invitation to explore their own zing zone, they're more likely to respond positively to your creative ideas. That's an idea you could put to use the next time you need to show the C-suite your next healthcare ad campaign or website design adjustment.

Nurture your relationships (especially at live events)


Feeling inspired: Some of Heather's notes from HOW.

Conferences give you the opportunity to step away from the office and sharpen your skills. But Ilise Benun reminded us that these events also give us the opportunity to make meaningful connections with peers. Those relationships could provide a real benefit throughout your career.

Benun said that great networking begins with a great mindset, characterized by:

1. Curiosity. Ask questions and really listen to the answers you're given.

2. Generosity. Take time to share.

3. Gratitude. Be thankful for the opportunities you're given.

With this mindset firmly in place, networking can be simple, Benun said, even for introverts. Start a conversation with someone, and stay stay connected when the conference is over. Soon you'll have a peer you can connect with when you need to most.

Put our creativity to work for you

Every day, Coffey designers like Julie and Heather put their creativity to work for healthcare clients all across the country. We'd love to tell you more about our creative approach to healthcare websites, magazines and newsletters. Call 888.805.9101 or email us.

Related reading

Click-worthy content: Top tips from Engage 2017
Say it with color: How color affects our perceptions and marketing
How to create compelling hospital magazine covers