Animation by Katrīna Sadovņikova

The winners of the National Design Award of Latvia 2024 will be announced tonight, May 24, at 19:00 in Rīgas cirks (Riga Circus). Among the finalists is a work that will compete for the prize in two categories — Stopify, a donation «streaming» platform for the support of Ukraine, is nominated in both the service and digital solutions categories. One of the platform’s creators is creative director Māris Upenieks. In the Nice Touch section, he suggests a thing that creative people might do without. 

Nice Touch Editorial May 24, 2024

«When I’m away from my desk and computer, I don’t use headphones. Not at all. Not when walking down the street, not when taking the train, not when I’m at the gym. I don’t listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks. When I have told this to friends, they have looked at me with poorly disguised horror — this one’s a nutcase. But look at it from another angle: if you do creative work every day, it consumes a lot of mental energy. The brain also needs rest, and thoughts need to run around idly with no particular purpose. There’s a reason why a whole bunch of psychology books write about this. The outside world, whether city or countryside, is full of unobtrusive inspiration in various unpredictable combinations. A song by Raimonds Pauls from an open third-floor window of a Khrushchev building, or a shred of passing conversation about a Tinder date gone wrong, not to mention the loud caw of a bird in a nearby tree canopy, and much, much more. Relaxed, taking it all in without voices or bass directly in your ear, your mind takes a break from the daily overstimulation of content and opens up to new ideas. Often, long-sought solutions come to me at times like these: when I’m walking, running, or driving, I simply give in to whatever wanders into my perception rather than controlling it with a play button.»

Māris Upenieks is an independent creative director who develops advertising campaigns, brands, and services and regularly collaborates with some of Latvia’s best-known advertising agencies. Using his professional skills, he speaks out on important issues: on his own initiative, Māris has created several communication campaigns during the pandemic, calling on the public to be responsible, and, together with friends, Mārcis Miķeslons-Germs and Miks Miķelsons, he created the Stopify donation platform for Ukraine, which has now raised almost 1.5 million euros.


Stopify is among the 20 finalists competing for the National Design Award of Latvia this year. The winners will be announced tonight, on May 24, at 19:00 at the award ceremony at Rīgas cirks. To participate in the event, please register in advance.