Fast Company’s sixth annual Innovation By Design Awards drew more than 2,500 submissions. The 299 honorees, chosen by expert judges in 13 categories, represent the best products, services, interfaces, and ideas of 2017. Read on and get inspired.

Not in the traditional “go out there and be a killing machine” sense (insert Jaws theme music), but in the sense that some sharks (not all sharks mind you, but that’s a lesson for another time) must remain in motion to live. Being in constant motion is required to keep them alive. To them, movement is just a part of life, its unnoticeable, a habit. Apply the same concept to our business, and never stop moving forward.

The analogy we’re trying to make is that in business it’s important to never stop moving. Education does not stop after you get a degree, land a job, or more importantly, start your own business. Make some time to ensure you are continuing to learn, push boundaries, explore styles. We have seen too many businesses that get complacent. They stop pushing forward, or learning, and get comfortable. Unfortunately, we’ve seen some of these companies struggle to try to catch back up. Others, we have watched die completely. We’re not saying you can’t or shouldn’t take a breather, enjoy some success, but anything beyond that and you start to risk falling too far behind in a constantly evolving digital landscape. As styles, trends and technologies change, it’s easy to fall behind and become reactive instead of proactive. Being reactive means constantly reacting to change, instead of being a part of it, or better yet driving it.

How do you do that?

  • Find some resources appropriate for your market, customers and/or business and revisit them often. Learning a couple little things every day, or a few a week can make a big difference.
  • Discover new resources you find relevant.
  • Subscribe to magazines that make sense for your business. We like Wired, Inc. and Fast Company
  • Join a few groups relevant to you. We belong to our Local AIGA and the Phoenix Design group on Facebook, and they are constantly sharing resources.
  • Get inspired with portfolio and review sites like Dribble, Behance or Site Inspire
  • Network and find people in similar (or even not so similar) businesses. Talk to each other.

Whatever you do, always remember to “just keep swimming” (I’m sure there is a movie reference in there somewhere).

– J

Like the titles says, we read this before we made the leap to start our very own Design Company. From the Founders of Basecamp (previously 37signals) its hard to find so much good information and inspiration in one place. Too many really amazing take-away’s to write about them all. If you have started or are looking to start a small business, we would place this book on a “must read” list.

find it on Amazon: Rework by Jason Fried

One of our friends came across this site, great for either inspiration or just being wowed by some super talented typographers. “TYPEFIGHT is an arena for alphabetic altercations, calligraphic contests, consonant combat, figural fisticuffs, semiotic showdowns, and 210 pt. tussles. Two men letter, one man leave.”