05-Designers & the new world

Part of the quarantine diaries series

Dear friends,

This little newsletter means a lot to me. Beyond sharing my personal notes, and musings, I created this channel in the hopes of effectively reaching out to people.

There’s a lot of rethinking going on as the whole slowly enters the new normal. For the better or worse, things are going to change. A lot of what I’ve been reflecting about are these questions (with no clear answer to match):

  1. If the world is going to end, am I proud of what I’ve done during the short amount of time I spent on it?

  2. Am I being generous enough?

  3. Have I given enough?

  4. Is this the kind of work I still want to do when this is all over?

  5. Who am I even trying to impress with all this?

  6. Am I loving enough? Especially when it is being asked and given freely?

  7. Is this necessary?

  8. Is ambiguity scaring me now? In ways it didn’t before…

In hopes of finding similar voices, I’ve been searching the internet for accompanying essays from other people. Here are the best ones I’ve found:

  1. How to thrive in an unknowable future by Derek Sivers *easy read*

  2. IT’S TIME TO BUILD by Marc Andreessen *heavy read*

  3. The world’s not falling apart by John Maeda *easy read*

  4. Worthy goals by Alan Cooper *heavy read*

  5. a deck on Creative Collaboration *easy read*

Defaulting to despair and hopelessness is normal. Finding the courage to be look forward to the future is hard, and sometimes, ironically, isolating. I would like to believe we can still have a part in designing it especially given the right mindset, and the willingness to embrace fluidity in all that we do. In this case, fluidity is being multifaceted, multidisciplinary, with skills and thinking that expands beyond your current department/industry.

For designers, it means thinking beyond the pixels. Now more than ever, we are not here to just make things pretty. The best way to fight off irrelevance is by caring, not just the output, but the methods of how things are getting done, why they’re being done and for whom. It means giving support to those who need it the most. It means being one of the strongest voices of reason in a room on a verge of collapse. It also could mean, if we’re not directly helping, we should stay aside and support others who can.

And just be there when it’s our turn to (and we will always have our turn).

Bet on your competence, you’re going to need it.

Have a good work day,

Nikki Espartinez


I want to know what you’re reflecting on, if you have been doing that. Essays, tweets, photos or maybe just personal notes you’ve been collecting during this strange time. I want you know you’re not alone. I’m happy to read them, if you want. Please feel free to write me back, and/or tweet me.