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Gratitude and Thanks – HOW Design TODAY November 2023

Gratitude can be a tricky word.

Over the past few years we’ve heard so much about how we should all practice gratitude, maintain a gratitude journal, and on and on … and hey, it’s normal to feel dubious about how something so simple could have such a profound effect on our lives.

But you know what? It feels great to be grateful. And as articles and studies galore about the science of gratitude have shown, it really does work. So, as we approach a holiday with “Thanks” built right into its name, we’re using it as an excuse to turn our gratitude lens on the design world.

Here are 10 simple things we love from the creative industry in 2023.

  1. Books! Glorious design books!

It’s been a heck of a year for design books. A few that we have especially loved: Mitch Goldstein’s How to Be a Design Student (And How to Teach Them). Illustrator Edel Rodriguez’s incredible memoir, Worm. Klaus Kemp’s Braun: Designed to Keep. These books filled both our shelves and our creative wells this year.

  1. Speaking of books … how ’bout those covers

We’re in a golden age of book cover design, and there are so many incredible designers doing phenomenal work and imbuing print books with the object quality they deserve. Here are a few places we go to find a medley of amazing covers (and some commentary): She Designs Books. Spine Magazine. PRINT. Book Cover Review.

  1. Speaking of PRINT … PRINT!

The creative industry was dealt a major blow when PRINT magazine’s publisher closed shop a few years back. But then a group of creatives banded together to save the 80-year-old industry stalwart, and it’s brilliantly back in action today. (And yeah: We’re biased, because Debbie Millman and other folks who work on HOW are leading the charge over there. But we’d still love it all the same even if they weren’t!)

  1. iPhones go USB-C

Apple may not have made the decision to give up the Lightning port on its own (props instead go to the European Union), but we’ll all reap the benefits when we can use the same cord to charge a medley of the ubiquitous devices in our lives.

  1. Seymour Chwast becomes hall-of-famer

If you caught Chwast’s delightful keynote at HOW Design Live a few years ago, you probably assumed the design legend was already in all the halls of fame … like, say, the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame. (After all, he did found Push Pin with Milton Glaser and others all the way back in 1954 at the outset of his career.) This year, he got the recognition he deserves—and it feels good to see someone get what they’ve earned.

  1. So. Much. Great. Type.

We don’t even know where to begin when calling out all the fantastic new type design launches this year—but there has been a thrilling amount for palates of every taste, from the classic to the experimental. We haven’t yet found a singular resource that collects them all in one place, so we follow our favorite designers (like David Jonathan Ross) to stay up to speed.

  1. Better standards!

Hamish Smyth and Jesse Reed’s love of graphic standards is well-documented … thanks to Standards Manual, the imprint they launched to republish classic standards manuals, like NASA’s iconic book. This year, they took it all one step further with the launch of Standards, their new tool for seamlessly creating standards manuals of your own.

  1. The domination of ’90s design

Now, you may hate it. But for those of us who lived through the ’90s, seeing them back in their full glory—in fashion, in graphic design, in packaging, and all places beyond—is the Nickelodeon-hued trip to the past we never knew we needed, but are loving. (All that color in an era of space gray!)

  1. Meaningful conversations about AI

It’s easy to give in to the anxiety and scream into the void that AI is taking our jobs. But rather that doing that, we’ve been enjoying all the industry dialogue about how we can make AI work for us, instead of against us—such as in Gerardo Herrera’s HOW Design Live 2023 session “Exploring the Intersection of AI, Design and Packaging: Insights and Techniques.”

  1. And finally: You.

This year’s HOW Design Live was an incredible event thanks to our incredible attendees—and we’re endlessly thankful for your enthusiasm, your insight, your curiosity, your feedback and your energy. Thank you for showing up for us. We can’t wait to show you what we have in store for 2024!

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