Being Courageous in Your Design

The inspiration for design comes from many sources. Like a well, life provides an endless stream of design inspiration. I witnessed this on display at the Emerging Designer East Showcase during Charleston Fashion Week. One of the competing designers described how broken glass from an auto accident served as a penetrating influence for her fashion compositions.

At Benefitfocus, we look for creative design patterns in many industries. One of our favorite areas to reflect upon is fashion. With that in mind, we have partnered with Charleston Fashion Week and the Emerging Designer East Competition. The contest features 20 up-and-coming fashion designers and puts them on the runway during the annual event. On the final evening of the event, the top five designers are showcased and the winner is announced. I had the honor of presenting the award.

As I spend more time around fashion designers there is a unique thing that I have observed; it is a sense of courage or boldness. To have an idea is one thing. To draw it on paper, produce it with fabric and place it on the runway is another. We all have some level of fear that our ideas will be rejected. When you have the spotlight on your creation, hundreds of cameras clicking and experts critiquing your work, it can be a real personal challenge. At that moment, your courage is tested. The winners of the Emerging Designer East Competition have the creativity needed to shine, and they also have the courage to push their designs into the market.

As we design and engineer software at Benefitfocus we encourage the individuals who are working on their new ideas to be bold in their creativity. We have created an environment that we hope fosters the boldness required for new concepts to come to market.

Software is like fashion. I have observed the similarities as the fashion seasons roll with new textures, colors and moods. Likewise, the software experience progresses with its ever-changing patterns, styles and innovation. I find it helpful to embrace that change and even participate in moving it forward. It starts with a hunger to create something new; it requires courage and an openness to learn from others. How can you apply the design patterns of other industries to your work? What can you learn from fashion design, architecture or automotive design that can help you and your customers win?


Charleston Fashion Week Emerging Designers Competition