Survival Of The Fittest Design Trends
This week on Overtime, celebrate the show’s 100th episode as Meg reflects on the podcast and her time as a host. We’re looking back at some of the topics we covered at the beginning of 2020 that didn’t age well given what the year had in store for us… Plus, let’s see which design trends endured the wrath of 2020. It’s going to be a wild ride. Let’s go!
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Meg: It’s the 100th episode! Wow, that’s a really big deal. 100 is a high number, it’s three digits, and I think anytime any show gets to 100, it’s time to have a little celebration. Now, I must say that I have not always been the host of this podcast, so it’s not 100% my accomplishment at all. I’ve only been here since about Episode 61, so the accomplishment is small for me. But honestly, this is the longest commitment I’ve ever had. And you know who I am, it’s me, your host Meg “Bingo, Boingo, Bongo” Lewis, and hi, it’s happening. Another episode is happening. You’re listening to it. I’m not listening to it, I’m speaking it, and welcome back to Overtime. This is Dribbble’s weekly podcast where I give you design news and some tips to create your very best work. But this episode is going to be a little bit different because it’s the 100th episode.
This week on Overtime, let’s get all gushy and take some time to talk about why the heck I’m here hosting this podcast and what it’s done for my growth in this terrible confusing year. Also, let’s look back at some of the topics that we covered on the podcast at the beginning of 2020 that didn’t necessarily age well, given the unpredictability of this year. It’s going to be a wild ride. Let’s go!
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Let’s get right on into it. You know, since this is the 100th episode, I want to take some time to talk about the history of this podcast, and what it used to be versus what it is today, and why the heck I’m here doing this at all. So, I don’t know how long you’ve been listening to this podcast, Overtime, but I only started hosting this podcast at the beginning of this year. But now we have 100 whole episodes. What happened before the time of Meg Lewis, you ask? Well, Dan Cederholm, who was one of the founders of Dribbble, was the old host. And previously to my time here, it was a classic interview style podcast hosted by Dan or others from Dribbble, and when I got asked to host this podcast at the beginning of this year, I was immediately confused why I would be asked, because while I am a designer and I am a fan of design and designing things, I am pretty, internally at least, notorious for having very light opinions [and] warm takes on design. Design is not my personality. It’s not all I think about all day long. My career is so much more than just design. I love to design, I am trained as a designer, I know how to use design software, but I use design as sort of the visual layer on top of things that I make that have a lot of meaning to them. And that’s what I love the most about design is it can help facilitate meaningful content, basically, for lack of a better term.
Anyway, so when I was asked, my immediate thought was like, “I don’t know, I don’t have that many strong opinions about the design industry because I think that everything we do is a total construct. And who decides what looks good versus what looks bad, what is good and bad? Usually the people with the most money and power…” and that’s been my stance throughout most of my career and it’s really hard for me to have strong opinions about things knowing that information. And you know this, if you listen to the podcast, you know that whenever we’re confronted with design hot takes or polarizing issues, I truly do like to have all of the information. I like to assess all of the sides of an argument and then make an informed opinion. And normally, my opinions are very nuanced because I think every topic is very nuanced. And two things can be true that are opposing.
And so explaining that, I realized that that’s exactly why they wanted me to host this podcast, because I guess, in an industry or in a world – (dramatic movie trailer voice) in a world where people are shouting opinions over one another constantly, and we’re just often repeating what other people are saying, Meg Lewis doesn’t necessarily do that.
So, I guess that’s why I’ve been asked to host this podcast. And I would hope that my opinions, or lack of opinions, or lack of strong opinions for that matter, is in addition to the landscape of opinions, or lack of opinions, that you’ll receive throughout all of the podcasts and content that you consume about design.
And I think that’s very important, I talk about this constantly, is that whenever you’re seeking opinions on anything, it’s very important that you do not just seek one source’s opinion, you seek opinions from all kinds of different people with all kinds of different opinions. And then that way, you have an entire pie with all of your slices ready to go, a 360-degree view of all of the available opinions and thoughts on that topic. And I just want to be a different slice of that pie, so that way, you can hear all kinds of opinions that are very different from mine, and then you can decide which speaks to you the most. Ah, refreshing. So, I’m just happy to be one of those opinions for you that’s a little bit different, maybe, than some of the other ones that you’ve been getting. Or maybe not, maybe I’m just spewing out the same nonsense everybody else is spewing out. I don’t know.
Anyway, I think that Dribbble has given me such a great opportunity with this podcast, because they truly, and I’m sure you’ve noticed, they let me cover whatever I’m excited about. I get to choose what I talk about. And whatever I’m the most excited about, they’re like, “Heck yes, Meg, talk about it, for sure. Do whatever you want.” And they trust me. They let me be weird. They let me say what I want to say. And I’ve really, truly, this is not a lie, I’ve never had the reaction from them where they’ve said, “Meg, no, no, you can’t. No, Meg don’t. Oh, no, no, no, no, you can’t. No.” They’ve never done that to me, which I think is beautiful. It’s beautiful to have an opportunity where I can explore who I am and navigate this mess of a year. This podcast, hosting Overtime, has been my rock this year, it’s been a piece of stability in my life. It’s been a way for me to process what’s going on this year in real time, and I think if you’ve been listening this podcast since the beginning of the year, since when I first started hosting, I’m sure you’ve noticed me growing and changing and evolving and becoming just a different person, as we all have throughout this year. We’re all growing and changing constantly. And it’s been really fun to have a place for myself to process all of these things, to try new things, to rapidly bob and weave as this year has thrown stuff at me, as it’s thrown things at you as well. And I’m allowing you to come along in that process with me and you’re allowing me to have a place and a literal microphone to explore these things within myself.
So, it’s been incredibly impactful for me. And that’s why, I think – do you remember back a few episodes, not a few, many episodes ago, probably late spring/early summer, where I was talking about writer George Saunders? This was at the beginning of the pandemic when schools were shut down, you know, initially, and writer George Saunders wrote this beautiful email that was so inspiring to me, to his students, his college students, I think it was master’s degree students, I don’t remember, saying that, paraphrasing here, saying that you need to, as writers, as creators, you need to be gathering as much information as you can during this time. We are still going through such an impactful time in human history. This is a very big deal and we’re living through it. And as designers, as creators, as people who create things for a living and give them to others, this is such an important time to gather information, to constantly be assessing what you’re struggling with and what’s going on in your head, and making things that reflect that. And I think this podcast has been just that for me.
So, my goal as a host of this podcast is definitely a bait and switch. This is my goal in my whole career really, but specifically with design and very much so with Overtime is, I lure you in with design. So, if you’re scrolling through podcasts, and you’re like, “Oh, design podcast, okay. I’ll listen to a design podcast.” So, I lure you in with design topics, and then I get you, as you listen to me, I try to get you comfortable with more nuanced things, and also very weird things. I lure you in with design, and then I get really weird on you and hope that you find it more palatable over time. Much like a cult leader – I’ve been watching a lot of that show, the HBO show called ‘The Vow’, which is about a cult – much like that, oh dear, where am I going with this? I like to get you comfortable with facts and information about something you’re interested in, and then over time, things get weirder and weirder for you and you’re not even noticing what’s happening to you. Is that? That’s what I’m – that’s, no. Is that what I’m trying to do here? I don’t know. I’m trying to, like with most things I do, be 50% percent useful and give you useful information that you find valuable, like key takeaways and helpful stuff, and then the rest of the 50%, I like to be nonsensical.
Oh, like, every episode when I say a different middle name for myself. No one asked me to do that. No one at Dribbble was like, “Oh, Meg, you should do this every episode.” I just started doing it at the beginning, and then I just kind of kept it up. And I don’t know if anybody likes them, you listening, I don’t know if you like it. I don’t know. Does anybody like it? Nobody has told me they do or do not like that I do that. But I just do it. It’s weird. It’s nonsensical. It’s something I want to do, and nobody asked for it, but whatever. So, let’s take a look back at some of the favorite middle names I’ve given myself throughout this podcast this year.
Montage: (Music starts) “(In French)Oui, Oui, Oui, Ho, Ho, Ho,” “She’s Got Teeny Tiny Hands and a Big Giant Burrito,” “There’s a Party Inside My Big Colon,” “Ear Canal Lover Apparently,” “Is Chili More of a Summer Food or Like a Winter Food?” “I’m Better With a Little Bit of Salad Dressing – Try It, You’ll Like It,” “Hug Me,” “(Singing) She’s Running Out of Ideas For This, She’s Running Out of Ideas For This”
Meg: Am I sorry? No, I’m not sorry. I like to give myself new middle names. My actual middle name is Michelle, so you know, these are all a little bit more fun.
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So, in looking back at early this year, I kind of was thinking about some topics that were covered that I don’t know if they aged well or not given how wild of a ride 2020 has been so far. And I have to go back to the very first episode I hosted at the very, very, very beginning of this year. It’s Episode 61, where I had the guest, Andy J. Pizza, come on and talk to me about design predictions for 2020. And we kind of broke them down and digested them and discussed them. And do they still hold up? I don’t know, let’s listen. Let her roll.
Meg: So, let’s talk about design trends and the forecast for 2020.
Meg: I combed through list after list, all these listicles from publications predicting the design trends of 2020, and I love this so much, who knows, who knows what will happen. It’s great. And so, I combed through all these lists and found all of the ones that were the very most common, the ones that most people are saying. So, we have, here we go. We’ve got monochromatic so people talking about, okay, in illustration, in design, in interiors, in fashion, things are going to be monochromatic so we’re going to start wearing all purple outfits. We’re going to live in all beige – I hope not – spaces. And so, have you been using monochromatic palettes a lot?
Andy: Uh, no, but that’s kind of pretty outside my spectrum. But my 11 year old daughter has been wearing monochromatic outfits, so she’s probably ahead of the curve so, yeah.
Meg: I have always wanted to be the cool person that wears like a different tonality of the same color outfit.
Andy: Yeah, and I’ve noticed that, and I think fashion probably precedes, you know, design trends I’m guessing. Yeah. I can see that happening.
Meg: What do you think about this other design trend they have coming up for 2020, big – I will like this one – big giant typography only layouts. It’s like they wrote that one for me.
Andy: Yeah, that’s a good one for you. Yeah, you know, hopefully they throw some illustration in there from time to time, but I like the flavor of that. I like the, you know, Swiss, European vibes of that I think the fact that could –
Meg: Design degree coming out here. Okay, so the next trend that they have is unexpected color combinations like putting two colors that don’t necessarily go together, together, and on top of one another, which, fine with me. I guess we’ll see.
Andy: Yeah, I don’t know, that sounds okay.
Meg: I don’t know what that looks like yet.
Andy: It’s, I don’t know. To me, that sounds like a cop out of a trend. Like, you know, all colors have been put together at different times.
Meg: Ooh, very, very good.
Andy: Sometimes it happens, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Meg: Good job, Andy.
Andy: It just seems like something to say. Like next year it’s going to be: this just in, colors that go well together are being put back together.
Meg: Oh yeah. She just put neon green with orange. [Laughs] I’m just naming two colors.
Meg: Okay, modern day Meg back again. My thoughts here: that seemed to be right-ish. I feel like monochromatic stuff definitely has been happening, especially in outfits. I’ve seen a lot of those. But very much so, I’m noticing unexpected color combinations. I know Andy thought it was kind of a cop out, but I have been noticing very unexpected color combinations or color combinations that we weren’t necessarily seeing in the past. I’m seeing people make a little bit more bold choices there. I don’t know how it’s going for accessibility exactly, combining these unexpected colors, but people are doing it. So, I think that trend was actually kind of spot on.
Also, later in the episode, we talked about how Pantone announced the color of the year and it was classic blue. Does that feel right now? Does it? I don’t know. I definitely will say I have felt classic blue all year.
Okay, now the last thing I want to go over, because I think this is really funny and very foreshadowing, is that in February, I had Dribbble Overtime’s original host, Dan Cederholm, on the podcast as a guest. And Dan and I started covering a face mask company that was new to us. And this was before the pandemic, at least to our knowledge, had gotten to the United States. It wasn’t a pandemic yet, of course. It was COVID and it hadn’t really come to the U.S., but we were hearing about it. And so, this facemask story was in the news, or at least I saw it, and so we started talking about the facemasks. And it’s really funny, I’m just going to play it because it’s just really cute to hear what we were talking about in relation to facemasks back in February. Let’s listen.
Meg: I want to talk about this funny product that I saw when somebody shared it on Twitter. So, we all know that respirator masks are important, whether you’re worried about air quality from fires in San Francisco or smog in LA and also, you know, if you’re just sick and you’re in a public space, it’s good to wear one. Okay, so, respirator masks are important, we know this. And, I guess that somebody at some point was like, “You know, I have to keep pulling up my respirator mask every time I need to use my face ID.” So, they developed a product where you can upload your photo and they’ll put that very specific section of your face onto your respirator mask so that you could wear it and you still look just like yourself, so your phone doesn’t know the difference. And I love this product so so much. It’s so dystopian.
Dan: It’s incredible.
Meg: Did you see what they look like?
Dan: Yeah. So, I clicked on the link initially, and I’m like, “Oh, cool.” I didn’t read anything. I just saw the mask. And I said, “Oh, cool.” If you’re going to wear a mask, for whatever reason, all the reasons you mentioned, why not make it look like the rest of your face? And I said, “That’s so cool.”
And then I dug in like, “Oh, it’s so you can use face ID while you’re still using it,” which I have two thoughts. Like, it’s a little frightening that we’ve gotten to this point where you’d have a reason to wear a mask a lot, and still need to unlock your phone or whatever. But I think it’s pretty awesome. The pictures are amazing. And I could see a real need for this, and it even says like, “Is this a joke?” And it’s like, “Yes, no, we’re not sure.”
Meg: Maybe. I’m hoping that someone does this with surgical masks because I would love to wake up from amnesia to see a kind surgeon wearing one. When I first looked at the website, they have examples of what the faces look like, not of what the masks look like not on a face. And I thought it was a joke product saying you can choose from either of these two faces and these are the two types of people that exist and you get to choose between one of them. So, in my head, I was like, oh, what would the funniest, what would I want to be the bottom half of my face? Yeah, so it doesn’t work for face ID so much. But, if the bottom half of my face could be some sort of crusty old white man with a goatee or something, I’d love it. So, would you do it? Would you actually get one or is it too embarrassing?
Dan: I think yeah, I think why not? If I’m going to wear one like I think that’s pretty cool. I wouldn’t worry about the face ID part so much but just being out in public and me being like, “Hey, I’m obscuring part of my face, but just so you know, this is kind of what’s under there.” I think it’s kind of interesting.
Meg: Yeah, you’re just going for transparency about what people can expect out of your whole face.
Dan: Yeah. And I might tweak little things I don’t like you know, because I could.
Meg: Yeah, get in there with Photoshop.
Dan: Yeah exactly.
Meg: An important question to ask is, for people that are doing this is, “Are you smiling? Are you not? Are you looking stern? What are you going to do with your mouth?”
Dan: Imagine if it was a permanent huge smile the whole time.
Dan: Like, no matter what someone said like, “Hey Dan, I know you’re not feeling well.” You’re just like [smiles]. You can, and underneath that you could be in the worst mood you’ve ever been in, but no one would know that.
Meg: No one would ever know.
Dan: “He’s happy to be sick or, you know, afraid of a virus or something.” I think it’s brilliant. I love it.
Meg: I think it’s brilliant too. The link to purchase is definitely in the show notes. So, if anybody wants to, I don’t have a promo code for you, they’re not a sponsor.
Dan: They should be no, actually. And also, it’s called “Resting Risk Face,” which I think is amazing.
Meg: Hi, it’s me, Meg. Back again. Modern day Meg. Today Meg. You’re back at current Meg. No more early-2020 Meg. Okay, so my thoughts here are that it’s interesting that we never even mentioned the virus. I kind of talked about smog or fires or just being sick, and that’s fascinating to me. And I actually, thinking back to it, I remember when Dan and I were recording this episode, we were on a video chat, so I could see Dan’s face, and I remember saying something about the virus in the recording and saying like, “I don’t know, it seems like it’s not really going to be a thing or like, people are making a bigger deal out of it than they need to.” And I remember when I said that, back in February, be kind to me, I remember Dan’s face lit up in kind of like, “No Meg, you shouldn’t say that,” kind of way. And as soon as it came out of my mouth and Dan made that face, I realized, “Oh, that’s a very ignorant thing to say, that’s not going to age well possibly.” So, I remember specifically asking to edit that part out, and I’m glad I did because I was very wrong. It is very much a very serious thing. Big time.
Meg: Wheeeee! Thank you so much for taking this trip down memory lane with me. I’m excited to give you more of the same for the rest of the year, because I’d like to be the safe touch that you can receive. The touch – oh boy – the touch, you know, the touch from my mouth to your ear, because we can’t, the joke is that, well it’s not a joke, it’s a sad reality, we can’t touch each other. You get it, right? Do I have to explain it to you? There’s no one here, there’s no feedback here between you and I, so I don’t know. But regardless, we’re in for another very difficult, very challenging few months, so taking the time to just do something that makes you feel a little bit good for a while is important. So, check in with me, listen to this podcast, and I think that might be extra important, for sure.
And that’s it for this episode of Overtime. If you have the time, I launched an online shop last week, and I put so much work into it. It’s been very important and very exciting for me. It’s at meglewis.com and it’s full of prints and clothes and textiles for your mind body and home. Not textiles for your mind. I don’t know what that is. It sounds very existential and I like it. Maybe I will make textiles for your mind. But in regard to this podcast, that’s it. This episode is over. If you want to continue the conversation on the internet, use #DribbbleOvertime, or of course, tweet or tag me. My handle is @yourbuddymeg. Okay, bye! Hear me next week.