Design Journal: Transition Issue

Changing it up over the passage of time

The movement from one stage, or place, to another can be exciting, necessary, crazy-scary and growth-inducing. Musing upon their own experiences of making changes in their own lives, fellow creatives point the way forward.

by  Julie M. Elman

Sometimes — more often than I’d like to admit — I have thoughts about chucking it all and trying something completely different. These are musings that first cropped up when I was around 6 years old, and I used to fantasize about buying a one-way ticket to Australia. (I have absolutely no idea why I was fixated on that country in particular, truth be told). These days, my throw-it-all-to-the-wind vision is fixated on a five-year walk around the world. (Seriously.)

Transition inspires me. Just reading the definition of that word brings out the instant “Yes!” in me. Transition is inevitable, as all change is, but oftentimes difficult to instigate. It’s endlessly fascinating for me to learn how people push back against inertia and move through the Part A’s of their lives, right on through the alphabet. This is what this issue focuses on —the Parts B, C, D and so on — of how visual creatives make their way through the process of change, whether it comes about by deliberate choices or serendipity.

I’m honored that for this issue, Phillip Ritzenberg, one of SND’s co-founders and past presidents, has contributed his take on transition, 10 years after he wrote the article “What We’ve Learned from Where We’ve Been,” which was first published in this magazine. So much has changed in the industry during this past decade — and through our navigating of the turning tides, we continue to find our ways to forge ahead and redefine.

Julie M. Elman, SND’s publication director, teaches design at the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University. A few years ago, she started playing the banjo, clawhammer style. It was love at first strum. “Better late than never,” she says.







For design consultant Ron Reason, inspiration is always afoot.

Wherever Ron Reason goes, a senseof-place picture follows. From right, clockwise: Montana; Amsterdam; Canada; Argentina; Burning Man Festival, Nevada; India; Alberta, Canada; Chicago; Nairobi; Queens, New York; Yellowstone.

Using his problem-solving skills, interactive designer Mike Rohde found a new way to take notes — and effectively “transitioned my thinking to a new space,” he says. He is now a leader in what he calls “sketchnoting” — an effective way to capture and develop ideas.

Phillip Ritzenberg, two-time SND president, has seen a lot in his 50-plus years as a designer, editor and publisher in the industry. For this issue, he riffs on the changes he’s witnessed since 2006 — when his article about change was published in Design Journal and help mark the 100th issue of this publication.




Douglas Okasaki looks to the future, and Sara Quinn reflects on industry evolution over the years


Largest grant awarded in SND’s history will help broaden the organization’s reach


8-53 Stories about the driving forces that compel us to take those big leaps in our creative lives

10 Creativity (re)defined, compiled by Tracy Collins

18 Observations on design + life, by Tippi Thole

22 Getting the job done, with Jeff Goertzen

25 Changing with the (ny)times, with Archie Tse

28 Footnotes, by Ron Reason

30 Forging a new path, with Dave Eames

32 From “no!” to “go!” with Jennifer George-Palilonis

34 One experiment … major life change, by Mike Rohde

37 Mini Q/A, with Aviva Loeb

38 “Actually, I like it,” with John Grimwade

40 Still rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’, with David Kordalski

45 Mini Q/A, with Jane Mitchell

46 What we need to learn, for where we seem to be going, by Phillip Ritzenberg

50 A Blue Brit, with Nigel Holmes

52 Of note, with Adrienne Tong


The competition moves from Syracuse to St. Petersburg; an eBook about the contest experience is now available








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About Julie Elman

is an associate professor at Ohio University.

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