How We’re Keeping It Sunny

 Kelly Knaga

Positivity is a tricky thing.
But it feels super relevant right now.

We’ll come right out and acknowledge our collective elephant in the room. The state of the world, our communities, and our industry is in flux—and the unpredictability of tomorrow’s potential outcomes is heavy.

But the folks here at our (now virtual) studio have almost instinctively decided that celebrating the small stuff—sharing pictures of flowers from our daily walks, recommending new books to read, retelling the silly stories our kids are thinking up—is the breath of fresh air everyone needs right now.

Highs (and lows)

We like to think about positivity as taking the good with the bad. Sure, we all seem to be swimming in the deep end of a pool full of “lows,” but those lows go hand-in-hand with highs. Just one big step back and a deep breath, and you’ll see it.

So in honor of highlights, here are a couple of good ones from our team to yours.

Find that moment that makes you think, makes you smile, or takes you out of wherever you are in your head right now. Even if it is just for a moment.

 James Johnston

Account Director

“My break time has mostly been spent sneaking out to the alley behind our house every day to teach my 6-year old Lillian how to ride a bike. Over the course of a week, she went from being afraid to driven, to confident and off to the races.”

Studio Manager

“I became a homeowner late last month, and it was quite ‘the high.’ I’ve had a lot of happy moments just doing basic things—like picking flowers for the porch, filling our lazy susan with spices, and parking in a garage. It’s all very new and exciting.”

Senior Developer

“My wife and I have dived (back) into watching ‘Days of our Lives.’ It’s been a long time since she used to watch the show, but all the characters are still the same. Some guy has an eye patch for no reason. You can jump in and out without getting lost—turn it on tomorrow, and you’d be mostly up to speed.”

 Illustrations by Alyssa Low

Associate Creative Director

“Small commitments have kept me balanced—specifically planning my week out with a mix of consistency and variation. I’ve been baking new things, drawing how I’m feeling, talking to my therapist, and finally finishing that book I said I was going to read.”

Junior Designer

“My girlfriend and I have made significant progress remodeling our new home. Busting through walls, ripping out floors, and looking at furniture has been a great way to get away from all the negative news and focus on fun home projects.”

Associate Creative Director

“I found a junk drawer this week that I missed in The Great 2020 Clean Out—a big win, as cleaning has become a superior ‘what the hell do I do now’ activity.”

Partner, Director of Design and Strategy

“The amount of hustle, grit, empathy, and generosity I’ve witnessed both within One Design’s virtual walls and across the creative community has been awe-inspiring. From peer-to-peer slack groups to cross-organizational collaboration to events to simply going above and beyond—folks are propping each other up and throwing down hard in a time of intense need.

Getting down to specifics, a few things stand out:

  • Design historian, author, designer, critic (and personal hero) Ellen Lupton virtually visited my DePaul University History of Graphic Design class to give an amazing lecture on Bauhaus typography.
Scenes from Ellen Lupton’s remote Bauhaus lecture
  • It’s been amazing to be able to reconnect with geographically distributed family and friends through virtual hangouts. We never did this before—and national quarantine has been a bit of an equalizer, making scheduling and coordination quite a bit easier.
  • As a parent, homeschooling our pre-K daughter has certainly been interesting. But my wife and I have seen her absolutely blossom from a creative standpoint.

We’re all certainly experiencing our own individual highs and lows at this time. But I’ve found that jumping into any interaction—be it with clients, colleagues, friends, or family—with as much positivity and humor as possible can be infectious. And much needed. While we’re all doing our part to support each other right now, don’t underestimate the power of a smile as a gesture of hope for anyone.”

Account Director

“Designers are optimists by nature—we believe in the massive potential that is inherent in all things to do, be, and live better. I am constantly looking for the biggest, most complex challenges because those are the projects with the greatest potential for real, lasting change. In the face of these challenges our global community is facing, I’m motivated daily by the possibility that this could be the moment that we change everything, for the better.”

Business Development Manager

“I hit some new personal bests on my Peloton rides—most recently to a Lizzo-themed ride #likeagirl.

And at work, I've enjoyed finding creative ways to make our retros more fun and engaging, which in turn is leading to what I think will be some pretty helpful initiatives for the studio.”

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One Design Company is a research-driven design and development studio. For over a decade, we’ve explored the intersection of experience and technology—where powerful brands come to life. Want to learn more? Let’s chat.

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