The morning keynote was actually very interesting and a bit shocking. Natasha Jen, Partner at Pentagam, actually talked about how she doesn’t like the concept of design thinking. She showed a few projects that she has tackled with the opposite of design thinking, just jumping in and running more affordable shock campaigns instead. It was really interesting to have a successful creative speak out against design thinking, when we see it pushed so hard across all channels right now. There were also two sessions on Thursday that stood out enough for me to write about them here.

A Year of Good, Great, and WTF? – The 2017 LogoLounge Trend Report

2017 Logo Trend Report - HOW Design Live 2017
2017 Logo Trend Report – HOW Design Live 2017

The LogoLounge trend report session was absolutely amazing. They had received 25,ooo logo submissions which just blew my mind. LogoLounge then sorts all of these logos into categories to start to find the top trends of design among them all. There was a lot of information presented extremely fast, but some of the highlights and top 5 trends are:

  1. Shadow Breaks – these logos have 3D continuous lines that are broken up by the overlapping shadows to provide depth
  2. Fades – this is where part of the logo fades into the background or disappears like it was erased
  3. Rising Color – all about the gradients and ombré
  4. Simplicity – think Google and Lenovo. Classic geometric text or simple unbroken shapes
  5. Simple Overlay – sections of the logo are transparent and overlaid on top of each other

Now I know my list isn’t very helpful without examples, but honestly he just went so fast ther was no way to capture slides along the process. I will try to go back once I’m home and dig out some logos to demonstrate.

How to Cheat: Creative Domination Through Villainy

Stefan Mumaw - HOW Design Live 2017
Stefan Mumaw – HOW Design Live 2017

Now this session had a lot of designers not knowing what to expect. If you aren’t familiar with Stefan Mumaw, the description was a bit hard to translate:

Dissidents. Rule breakers. Black hatters. If you really think about it, some of the most creative people on the planet are villains. They’re driven towards a goal, they fend off opposing forces with planning and cunning, and they find intensely alternative paths to win. As creatives, isn’t that what we want too? There’s a lot we can learn from the villainous…if we’re willing to learn to cheat. 

For those of you who have never heard of or have seen Stefan Mumaw, here is a look into his genius:

@stefanmumwa about to teach us how to get around the rules-HOW to Cheat:#Creative Domination Trough Villainy #howlive #design #creativity

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Stefan is all about making people work together and he believes there is a lot of empowerment in that. To showcase the following steps, we had to work with members in the audience to showcase the skills.


Step 1 – Think Like a Villain For this step, the exercise we were asked to do was take a normal stock photo of a grandma type woman and create the Evil Villain Action Figure packaging. We had to figure out (dream up) what her skills and evil accessories were. The group I was in came up with the fact that she was a Colombian Drug Lord overseeing the work in her fields and her accessories were suitcases of stuffed animals full of cocaine. Really good stuff!


Step 2 – Live in the Leading For this, we had to come up with the greatest backpack of all time, no monitary or technology limits. Then after about a minute, he threw in a twist, it can’t have back straps. It was amazing how fast everyone adapted and came up with an even better design. Reading between the lines and learning to challenge all obsticles instead of fall to them is extremely important in design. Don’t be held to the box, instead, tunnel out of the box and create a new one. In terms of a creative breif “What doesn’t it say we COULDN’T DO.” These are new words that I will live by.


Step 3 – Understand the End Game The exercise to this was he gave everyone a piece of paper. We then had to get it to him on stage. The slides suggested a paper airplane. Now for most, they tried to create a plane that would make it all the way to the stage. However the point was to come up with an out of the box solution. Some crumpled up paper and threw it. One of the instructors just walked up and handed it to him. I actually took a photo of my paper and tweeted it to him. The idea of understanding the purpose and not the traditional path is key. Ask yourself “why” three steps down to find your true purpose. Is there another way to do this. Is there a better way to do this? Use strategy and accomplish what you can.

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