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Cognition

Articles By:

Dana Pavlichko

  1. Positive Change

    Posted on 1/5/17

    This is the natural time for reflection on the coming year. I’ve been thinking about how to use my New Year’s goals at work, as a designer, to create positive changes for others.

  1. Check Your Design Taste At the Door

    Posted on 10/20/16

    Rococo, sequins, Rupaul: The inner-me has a taste for over-embellishment. But as a designer, it’s important I tame this affinity towards razzle-dazzle in my work, which is rarely the best method of visual communication for the task at hand. However, checking my own taste at the door and adapting my voice can sometimes be surprisingly difficult.

  1. What I Learned from Happy Trees

    Posted on 8/18/16

    When I watch someone else work, I see all the clever and messy little ways they get from one place to another. Observing others approach their work has given me useful instruction and new techniques—both technical and soft skills—that I can take into my own work later.

  1. Content Strategy for Designers

    Posted on 6/3/16

    Two weeks ago, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend Confab Central, the ultimate content strategy conference. I am a designer with no formal training in writing or content strategy. As a non-content-strategist, I thought I’d be entering a whole different world. A world I had only a rough understanding of. While I had read about content strategy in a few books years ago, before the conference I couldn’t clearly articulate what it was. The gist of it from my fuzzy point of view was: It’s the practice of charting a roadmap for future business writing. But how guidelines were to be created, in my mind, was still alchemy.

  1. Help, I’m stuck!

    Posted on 3/25/16

    I looked at my screen from far away, went for a walk, and took a break. I find myself pushing around the same elements in Photoshop in different arrangements with no success. I’m focused on requirements, but letting them dictate my choices. Time is running out. It feels like there is no room left to experiment—that it’s just time to get the job done. My comp’s arrangement isn’t working. Is it too late to come up with something fresh?

  1. Looking forward, looking back

    Posted on 1/14/16

    It’s a new year, and yup! you’ve guessed it: I’ve got some goals. The goal spanning my personal and professional life is to learn more about art history in hopes of developing this into a lifelong habit. As I continue to deepen my understanding of art and design history, decisions I make in my professional work will become more informed. I always loved my art history classes in school. They were a departure from my other classes since the coursework didn’t require me to solve anything, just study visual patterns over the course of history. I found that whenever I had an art history class on my schedule, my concurrent creative work got a lot better. The subject matter covered in my art history classes varied quite a bit, but always gave me an existing art movement or piece of art to relate to in a fresh way and take into other aspects of my work. Even if I didn’t particularly like an artifact or era, it brought something of value to my work.

  1. Get to Know Your Work

    Posted on 9/24/15

    I decided to experiment with keeping a journal of my projects: an iterative, running log that captures all the small day-to-day decisions made internally or with the client, in one place. It began as a way to keep myself more organized, but I’ve noticed a few benefits to this practice, and overall, it’s been a way for me to get to know my work much better. Unexpectedly, presenting my design work has become much easier, as this journaling has been a way for me to rehearse and commit to memory exactly what happens when anything is clicked, why I made each design decision, and how this will all come together in the CMS.

  1. Writing Inkcouragement

    Posted on 6/4/15

    Until recently, I haven’t had much experience writing. In my distant past there were English classes and essays to keep me in practice, but professionally I knew something was lacking. I was supposed to write more often. I was told it would help me establish perspective as a designer, and help organize my thoughts (which to me sounded like a chicken-or-egg situation). I was reluctant because the idea of publishing a full-length piece in my own words seemed impossible. Determined, I approached writing the same way I approach my graphic design, and slowly it has come more naturally. As I began writing more frequently in blogs, emails, and even annotations, I’ve discovered a few tips that have helped me write better.

  1. Back to the Basics: Experiment and Get Real Weird

    Posted on 3/12/15

    In our industry there is pressure to always be posting and sharing our work: full projects, design snippets, writing, photos, tiny thoughts, and conversations. Each of these mediums come with their own degree of expected polish.

  1. Leaving the Nest

    Posted on 12/4/14

    A few months ago I was asked to assist leading some moderated qualitative usability testing sessions. I’ll be honest: I had little-to-no experience speaking with users, so at the start of the project I didn’t feel like I was fully equipped for the task. The idea of being in a room with someone I didn’t know for an hour and guiding them through a handful of scenarios to validate our design didn’t sound as good as one of my typical design days. However, I knew it would be a good learning experience and said I’d help out.

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