Getting Out of Your Bubble Is Good for Design

Epicurrence Summer Revival

We recently attended Epicurrence, a “non-conference for creatives that focuses on community and unforgettable experiences.” One of the things I love most about Epicurrence is that it encourages attendees to connect in the great outdoors. Besides being a ton of fun, Epicurrence reminds me why it’s so critical to step away from your daily routine and engage with people who, while sharing similar passion for design, bring very different perspectives to the table. Design is a problem-solving discipline, and solutions tend to rise out of difference—not shared opinions.

Yosemite Valley

For all of our industry’s collective ongoing efforts to improve diversity in design, it’s safe to say most agencies and brands have a long way to go. To truly build awareness and empathy, we need to get outside of our comfort zones. Attending events like Epicurrence is one way to do so. We had one-on-one conversations while climbing literal mountains with people we might otherwise never meet. We mountain biked through one of America’s most amazing National Parks. We even hiked at night under the stars, all while talking through the different challenges we are all going through. We built bonds that will last for life. And those talks generated some real wake-up calls that will absolutely change how we approach our craft.

I highly recommend going to Epicurrence. There is nothing like it. However, I’m always amazed to see how willing and eager people are to share their experiences, their point of view, or to give advice. It makes me wonder why we don’t reach out more often. Maybe we’re busy working towards a deadline. Maybe we don’t want to bother people and assume they don’t have time for us.

Kerem Epicurrence

I’d encourage you to get out of your comfort zone. Go to local meetups. Start one of your own. Invite a bunch of designers that you maybe know by name but never actually talked to—go do something together. Talk. Disagree. Debate. Walk away with new insights.

You see, it’s easy to think you’re doing a great job solving problems for clients through brilliant design because everyone in the room agrees, “We’ve nailed it.” It often takes an outside voice to question whether your approach is truly the best one. At Underbelly, we firmly believe design can improve lives. If we’re not considering the broad spectrum of how life is lived, we’re not going to succeed.

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