Embracing the Good: How Milkinside Designs For Happiness In Challenging Times

This San Francisco-based design studio is developing innovative approaches for creative teams to stay inspired.


Presented by Establish

For creative design teams, the ultimate goal is almost universal: To surprise and delight consumers with innovative new products. Whether it is the elegant and fluid movement of a specific mobile app interaction or the subtle notification on the display unit of an automobile that alerts a driver while keeping them safe, the best creative teams are committed to designing a future in which people experience a positive emotional connection with their products.

That commitment has never been more important than within the past two years, when a global pandemic accelerated the shift in which businesses and consumers interact. Now, perhaps more than ever, engineers and designers have the opportunity to develop products that positively impact daily life on both a practical and emotional level. The question, therefore, is how can individuals and teams meet this opportunity and create experiences that both surprise and delight?

As an increasingly connected global community continues to adopt digital products and communication tools, systems and processes have emerged that both support remote teams and spur creativity. Milkinside, a San Francisco-based design studio, has developed innovative approaches for creative teams to stay inspired in challenging times.

Accept New Challenges and Find the Positives

Work as a creative professional can be emotionally draining. Projects are inherently individual, and each completed product often reflects at least a part of who you are. In addition to these individual challenges, recent external changes have presented obstacles of their own.

When faced with adversity, the creative designer can go in one of two directions. The first is to focus on the challenges: the standards are higher than ever before, the deadlines are tighter, client expectations have risen to unprecedented levels – while competitors become stronger. If they become the primary focus, each one of these hurdles could be enough to discourage even the most motivated creators and designers.

However, with a slight change in focus, creators can begin to see these challenges less as obstacles and more as opportunities. Changes throughout the world in the past several years have created new and unexplored avenues for designers. The standards have risen, but so has the level of impact. The meteoric rise in digital tools and products means that a single solution – a single project – could make the day better for millions of people around the world.

This does not mean that challenges are trivial, or that a simple change of perspective can solve the world’s problems, but by using obstacles as a source of inspiration, creators often become revitalized and ready to face projects with a fresh approach. And because the creative process is so individual and personal, a positive outlook will impact the outcome as well. 

Take Advantage of Remote Work as the New Normal

The acceleration in digital transformation over the past two years has ushered in a world in which increasing numbers of people, of all age groups, have become comfortable with digital products and communication tools. This has naturally increased the demand for creative professionals to build new solutions. It has never been easier to join the company of your dreams, regardless of where you live. 

Whether you want to work at an agency or as part of an in-house staff, the opportunity is greater than ever to find your ideal job within the industry of your choice. Companies have discovered during the past several years that creating non-traditional roles and making unconventional hires often leads to incredible outcomes. It is a Golden Age for creators, and remote work has made it possible to access the career of your dreams from anywhere in the world. Corporations have built processes and infrastructure that facilitate remote working, enabling fully distributed creative teams to collaborate across thousands of miles and multiple time zones.

Not only has it become easier for designers and developers to join their dream company without relocating, but they are more likely to experience true meritocracy in the workplace. Talented and passionate contributors are being recognized for their efforts, and a larger playing field means there are more opportunities for recognition and advancement than ever before.

Don’t Stop Dreaming

At the beginning of any new project, it is essential to allow creative teams the freedom to imagine new possibilities without imposing strict boundaries on ideation. For example, at Milkinside, their visual and motion design teams make it a point to avoid being constrained by strict UX requirements at the start of a project. 

Most clients will have strong opinions about what they want to design when kicking off an engagement, whether it is a new OS, an auto HMI, or a new mobile travel platform. This is crucial information – but at the onset of a new project, it is important to put this to the side temporarily and let yourself dream. To provide the most impact, the teams resist the tendency to limit their imagination by boundaries before they have given themselves time to consider new approaches. This allows designers to have a greater impact on the design from the beginning, enabling them to strive for moments of joy throughout a digital experience.

Although the past several years have brought about difficulties and challenges, it has also generated incredible opportunities for creators and designers. It requires an emotional connection to a larger purpose, and the freedom to dream about interactions that connect people, make their lives easier, help them learn new things, improve health and wellness, and provide comfort in difficult times. To learn more about Milkinside, please visit www.milkinside.com.