Animation by Katrīna Sadovņikova

Although the Christmas season is usually associated with peace, the end of the year tends to be a busy time for creative professionals, as they rush to finish the last projects before the holidays. In the Nice Touch section, graphic designer Valters Kalsers shares a practice that helps him stay calm and not lose himself in the design process.

Nice Touch Editorial December 22, 2023

«In my atypical design career, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented Latvian designers, very green design students, and world-class educators, in that order. I have come to the conclusion that good design is often the result of designers’ ability to remain calm and in a healthy mental state, as well as the ability not to lose the good intentions with which design projects mostly start but don’t always end. So I’d like to share a practical tool that helps me not to lose myself in the design process: design meditation.»

Choose silence

Provide a calm and pleasant environment for your meditation practice. Get rid of distractions — close your browser, turn off your phone, turn off your notifications, close your deadline-filled calendar.

Make yourself comfortable

Sit in a comfortable position. Straighten your back so that every cell in your body can breathe. Open the work file and close your eyes. Look inward, inhale, and exhale deeply.

Hum a mantra

Choose one mantra (I offer some of the ones I have practiced, but everyone can create their own version as they wish): «there is no such thing as perfect design», «there are no bad or good designs, only wrong contexts», «don’t be afraid to create wrong designs», «dysfunctional design is also design», etc. Keep repeating the mantra in silence, out loud, or in extreme situations — in letters to clients.

Relax and let go

Let the rhythm relax you. Remember, deadlines are not meant to cause stress. Give control of the process to the internal rhythm, not to email notifications.

Don’t lose awareness

At the end of the meditation, sit in silence for a moment and return to the problem at its essence, not its form or external pressures.

Valters Kalsers, together with graphic designer Evija Krištopane, founded Support System, a studio that creates and visualises brand and organisational identities through research, text, and graphic design.