Our people are core to who we are. With a year spent at Artium comes a brief reflection of the path to craft, successes along the way, and how to continue to learn and grow. Today we sit down with our Director of Design, Josh Mauldin, to discuss record album artwork sparking his love of design, integrating mindfulness practices, and how experiments and actively seeking feedback drives his growth.
What is your craft? What brought you to it?
My interest in design started in high school; I would sit and listen to records and just look at the album art. I wanted to find a way to do that. So I started to try, and at first, I was terrible, and no one would let me design their album artwork, but they let me work on their websites. I loved this; then, once the iPhone came out, I saw the laser focus the apps had been created with and was inspired to do mobile app design. I have always wanted to be of service to people and have found that product design is a great way to do this.
What are you most proud of from your past year?
I am most proud of starting to integrate mindfulness practices into design. At this stage in my career, I am able to think a lot about what design could be and how I want to approach that. I have found mindfulness to be very helpful in being more intentional in life and bringing that to design feels right. Right now, it’s appearing in the form of compassionate detachment. As designers, we have a tendency to try and control every part of the experience, including the outcome. And really, it’s futile. Compassionate detachment helps you put as much of yourself into your work as you can while accepting you don’t have control over the outcome. It is extremely easy advice to give but much harder to execute. We put so much into our work and it’s perfectly natural to want it to go a certain way. But that way leads to a lot of headaches.
How do you keep learning / refining your craft?
There are three main ways.
- I read a lot; I have more books than I will ever get through. There are so many wonderful thoughts out there, and I try to specifically read about things unrelated to design and think about how I can bring those ideas into my daily work.
- I also run experiments on everything; when I start and end my day, new tools, anything can be an experiment. Then I take time to observe and reflect.
- I actively seek feedback on my work and how I communicate. I try to ask the question, “What would you have done in [this situation]?” or “what could have gone better?” as much as possible. Our lived experiences are so different that you will always get different answers and new perspectives each time you ask.