Research is a serious thing. Design is a serious thing. Life is a serious thing. But what good is any of it if you don’t love doing it? If you don’t enjoy practicing or living it? If you don’t show the fun in any of it?
It can be so easy to get bogged down in the details, the seriousness of the task. Kids to feed. Pixels to push. Stakeholders to please. But when activities feel like a slog, ask yourself: “where’s the fun? Where’s the enjoyment?”
Fun has a strong connection to uniqueness. If you smile or laugh it’s because something is a little off, a little kooky, perhaps a little weird or unexpected. And the world needs more of this.
A couple days ago I discovered a presentation by designer Meg Lewis giving a talk wearing moon shoes, bouncing around on rubber bands discussing her journey as a creator. Her design work is even more unique, something unexpected.
Similarly, design director Stewart Scott-Curran posted a heartfelt thread about his time at Intercom and the branding work they’ve done. For a product company focused on business to customer communication, it’s awe-inspiring to see the kind of work the Intercom Brand Studio produces — it’s distinct and fun.
But uniqueness and fun shouldn’t only be with branding or visual design, but also UX and research. In my own projects my team and I have tried to design in a way that shows the fun side of travel for those seeking to learn a language abroad. Product Designer Mara Goes incorporates delight into her UX work with colorful illustrations and transitions. Mara once showed me a case study she presented for a company and in the middle of it she snuck a picture of her dog Giddy — just to bring a smile to the reviewers’ faces. She got the job.
If you’re work can’t be fun per say, at least it can be approachable. Instead of a dry 40-slide Keynote, why not have your findings illustrated and posted by the coffee bar? Or make a video? Or a simple list of key findings backed by strong, empathy-inviting audio files? Seek out other ways to present to your stakeholders, that’ll communicate the user’s voice better, or findings more thoughtfully.
Whatever you’re doing, ask yourself: Where’s the fun? Where’s the uniqueness? Where’s the humanity?
Bring. It. On.