Well, another year has come and gone. As we wind down 2017, we set our sights on 2018, and the new opportunities and challenges that lay ahead of us.
Before we begin, a word of note: We didn’t want to write another “holiday gift guide for designers” article. Those are beat to death. Instead, over the past week or so, the team here at 45royale gathered a bunch of resources that we thought would inspire you to put your best foot forward in the new year.
We grouped our findings in to three categories that are important to us and (we hope) the creative community as a whole. They are as follows: developing new skills, exploring your world, and giving back. So without further ado, we present a list that will leave you inspired, challenge you to grow, and make you a better creative in 2018.
Becoming a better creative by developing new skills
We work in an industry unlike any other. Things move at the speed of light and staying at the forefront of web design and development is paramount. Check out this list of books, conferences, apps, and courses that will help you stay on your game in 2018.
- Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
“If you’re trying to build the next big app, you need user engagement. This book lays down a model building engagement by having users constantly return to your app.”
- 7 Step UX
“There are a lot UX books out there—but Seven Step UX is one of the most practical ones. Its framework and hands-on approach could be useful for any product development team.”
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You
“In this eye-opening account, Cal Newport debunks the long-held belief that “follow your passion” is good advice. This book will change the way you think about your career, happiness, and the crafting of a remarkable life.”
- Creativity Inc.
“This book is an excellent illustration of a practical way to manage a successful, creative rich company. Ed Catmull did a great job of expressing the ideologies that went into making Pixar, and later Disney animations, successful companies.”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard of Epicurrance. It’s the self-proclaimed “Non-Conference for Designers, Developers, and Creatives alike”. The reviews are off the charts and people come back changed, refreshed, and energized.
- Owner Summit 2018
Owner Summit is “the only event designed specifically for Digital Agency Owners”. With an incredible line up of speakers and events (shout out to our pal Carl Smith), you’re sure to get tons of value and have a blast while doing it.
- Design & Content
We recently wrote about the relationship between content and design. The Design & Content conference takes this to another level. Both designers and content strategists will enjoy a diverse speaker list and workshops to help hammer home concepts.
Apps & Courses
It’s official—you can no longer ignore Sketch. At 45royale, we spent most of this year transitioning away from Photoshop and have gone (almost) exclusively to producing in Sketch. We’ll write more about our experience there, but know there are better tools out there and Sketch is at the top of the heap right now.
- Invision + DSM + Studio
Speaking of better tools, Invision is on fire right now. They recently showed off three new products, all coming early next year. If you aren’t using Invision products now, it’s a good idea to get acquainted—and fast. Fun fact: We’ve already had internal conversations about Invision becoming our defacto work flow for production, communication, and development in 2018. Shit is getting real!
Whether you’re a designer looking to learn code or a developer looking to up your game, egghead.io is for you. They have great courses on React, Angular JS, Ember.js, and much, much more. Up your modern programming chops for just $140/year.
After all that designing and programming, your head is going to be a big ball of mush. That’s where Oak comes in. The brain child of Kevin Rose, Oak will help you relax, focus, and face your design and development challenges with ease. The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is a great place to start.
Explore your creative world
Here at 45royale, we’re big proponents of remote work. If you’re lucky enough to work from anywhere, why not make it a point to expand your horizons and get out there?
Working internationally: If you’re feeling adventurous, here are a couple of international ways to live the digital nomad lifestyle while expanding your creativity:
- Remote Year
Remote Year brings together groups of inspiring professionals to travel, live, and work in different cities around the world. Grow personally and professionally in each city you visit through immersive cultural experiences and professional exposure opportunities.
- Hacker Paradise
According to their website, Hacker Paradise is “the world’s first international remote work travel group”. Since 2014, people from companies like Google, Space X, Y Combinator, and Zapier have all enjoyed traveling the world and experiencing new places as a group. Upcoming trips include Playa Del Carmen, Seoul, and Buenos Aires. Who wouldn’t love that?
Working locally: If you’re not keen on traveling abroad, there are still a bunch of local options to get you out of your day-to-day routine. Here are a couple of options for local remote working that can give you that creative spark you’re looking for:
Workfrom is the world’s largest people-powered recommendation engine for trusted spaces to work remotely. Although Workfrom can help you find a place to work anywhere, we find that looking close to home can yield some fun results to shake up your work environment.
With spaces in Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Atlanta, you’re sure to find a space that gives you a different perspective on your work.
- Strongbox West
This option is a hyper-local for us, but if you’re in the Atlanta area make sure to check out SBW. It’s our home away from home when we need to meet as a team or with clients. And say hi to Amy Hoover when you get down there, she’s awesome!
Giving back brings growth
Sometimes in order to grow, it truly is better to give than to receive. We’ve recently been introduced to some great charities and non-profits that are designed to help those in need. If you’re looking to meet new people, expand your views, and help out a good cause, check out the following organizations:
Use your professional skills to make a difference for great projects and causes. Catchafire matches skilled professional volunteers with nonprofits to help them increase their capacity and achieve their missions.
- Plan My Gap Year
If you’re just out of school or looking to take some time off to reconnect with your creativity, Plan My Gap Year could be for you. PMGY is a world leading volunteer overseas organization, working across 14 countries in Africa & Asia. They provide a safe, structured and social experience abroad with opportunities available from 1 to 24 weeks.
Making the most of 2018
We hope that list article has given you the inspiration you need to charge forward in to 2018 with open arms. We wish you the best in your endeavors this year, and would love to hear how you plan on challenging yourself to become a better creative.
From all of us at 45royale, we wish you a happy, healthy, and fulfilling 2018! 🍻