Body Care for Designers: Design Makes You Fat

Previous Body Care for Designers articles discussed the importance of exercise and good nutrition for designers from the point of view of controlling OOS. Despite having access to this information many designers find exercise and nutrition difficult to control. Weight becomes an issue for designers and the effects are more than just from lack of exercise. The health of designers is at risk from self-reinforcing factors the spiral health downwards. This article explores those factors.

Designers typically work long hours in fixed positions over computers with little physical activity. There is the ever present pressure of the deadline and sleep is often seen as weakness. Designers also tend to be perfectionists and design generally has no clear measurements for success. This means that designers create a constant performance anxiety stress for themselves.

The right amount of stress is good for active humans needing a temporary boost in physical performance. Stress releases hormones; adrenaline which increases heart-rate to supply fuel to the body and cortisol which increases blood sugar for fuel, increases brain consumption of glucose prepares the body for healing. Adrenaline and cortisol are very useful for humans about to face a physical confrontation but potentially dangerous to a sedentary desk jockey. Stress hormones naturally flush from the body over about three days once stress has passed.

Over stress is very bad – this happens when stress occurs more often and with greater intensity than the body has the ability to flush the stress hormones. Prolonged over stress can cause many problems such as: Heart disease, insomnia, digestive problems, weight gain, memory issues, skin problems, depression and ADD. The consequent loss in performance from overstress can have a compounding effect as the designer gets more concerned about not meeting deadlines.

The hyperfocus on deadlines means that designers often neglect healthy routines and the circadian rhythms that government healthy sleep-wake-alertness cycles can get out of kilter. Pushing aside everything for the deadline means that designers will often forget to exercise. Exercise is important to help flush stress hormones to prevent over stress.

Focus on deadlines will have designers forget to keep good eating patterns. Mental fatigue tends to make the body crave easy calories like sugars and processed carbohydrates. Sleep deprivation can have much the same effect on craving. For some designers snacking will working can become compulsive. Stress does stop digestion so stress for prolonged periods starves the body of fuel so it begins to crave the sugars and carbohydrates to provide a quick energy boost. Stressed and sleep deprived people tend to consume more calories.

All this contributes to a spiraling worsening of designer health. The most telling sign for most will be weight gain. All the extra calories combined with little exercise means the risk of obesity is high. Other effects will be insomnia. Extreme cases will suffer depression, ADD and have severely impacted mental performance. These health effects all feed upon each other.

Designers must learn to manage stress. Everybody responds differently to stress and it is often about personal attitude towards a situation. Changing the attitude can go a long way towards lowering stress levels. Be more realistic about deadlines and if one might slip then talk to the client – often it might not be such a problem. Above all, maintain good sleep-wake-meal routines, eat good food, avoid energy dense snacks and exercise regularly. The more stressed, the more exercise is needed. Staying healthy and at good weights is just going to be that much harder for designers.


Future Design Careers: Information Visualization Designer

The future design jobs will be a series of articles that look at jobs that designers could be doing in the future. The intent is to give graphic designers a heads up on potential directions in their own careers. This first article is on data visualization designers.

Information visualization is where design and statistics meet. The information visualization designer’s job is to make data digestible. The intended audience should be able to interpret a good information visualization to understand key things about the under lying data. A data visualization designer works with a source of data and tries to find the important and interesting facts that lie within data. Data visualization is about visually interpreting data in order to produce good stories.

Information visualization designers will need solid layout illustration skills. It will help to have a background in statistics – though initially designers will work alongside statisticians eventually the role of information visualization designer will specialize to include a need for statistics too. The designer will also need good empathy with their target audiences to know what information they will want to know.

A person considering a career in information visualization should train as a designer and illustrator first and minor in statistics. Learning interactive design and programming (like Processing and Flash) will help the information visualization designer produce live data visualizations that can be run on demand. Animation and storytelling related subjects will help the information visualization designer learn how to produce information visualization animations. Journalism could be another useful supporting subject to learn about the standards and ethics associated with interpreting data for consumption by others.

There is a related field called “interactive data visualization” that provides interfaces for users to view the data in any way they choose. This is not information visualization because there is no interpretation of the data into information and stories. Interactive data visualization is most useful for those who are able to interpret the data for themselves. General and non-expert audiences will benefit most from having information interpreted for them.

Data visualization will become more important as our culture becomes increasingly visual. Viewers will be drawn to the simple explanations that visualization offers. In particular visualization can make scale comparisons and quantities easier to understand than words can. The discourse of the future will be increasingly visual as better access to data means we look for better ways to express that data in ways useful to viewers.

Data visualization will be used within organizations to help make better sense of the data they are already capturing. Data visualization will be used by organization seeking to make a point based on quantitative research: political groups, charities, lobbyists, advertisers. As information brokers the information visualization designer will play a central role future communications. The information visualization designer better have a keen sense of ethics.


Body Care for Designers – Exercise

Designers spend long hours at their computers in fixed positions. Their overall workload is sedentary and involves no great strenuous physical effort. The mental loads of designers tend to have them crave sugars and carbohydrates to feed their brains. Designers often have poor posture. A previous eturnerx article explored how to avoid OOS in these situations. In addition to exercise breaks, that article also suggested background fitness and exercise. This article discusses what form those exercises should take. Disclaimer: consult your healthcare professional – their advice trumps mine.

Consult the professionals before beginning any new exercise routine. This starts with a quick check up from your doctor then talk to a personal trainer. Many gyms will include a personal trainer consultation with any new membership – but it pays to ask. Let the personal trainer know that you work long hours at a computer, any areas of pain you have and what goals you have for your exercise regime. If you already have particular areas of pain then a doctor might suggest consulting a physio (physical therapist) who will prescribe remedial exercises.

In general, designers need a well rounded fitness routine – one that does not rely too much on just one of strength, flexibility, speed or cardio-vascular exercises. The exercises should be tailored to improving how the designer handles their daily work tasks.

One issue with sedentary lifestyles like design is that metabolic rate can slow and thus reduce the rate at which toxins are eliminated from the body. The static workloads of designers mean that lactic acid builds in muscles – particularly in the neck, shoulders, arms and hands. Most exercise routines will boost metabolism and a faster metabolism helps the body eliminate lactic acid quicker.

Cardio-vascular exercise gets the heart pumping for at least 20 minutes three to five times per week. This form of exercise is important to promote good blood circulation which will help flush lactic acid from the muscles where it may cause damage. Cardio also produces endorphins that helps combat the nervous stress of working to deadlines. Too much deadline stress builds up adrenaline in the system which can ultimately disturb sleep and shorten life expectancy. Strenuous cardio exercise can work off that adrenalin.

Designers should avoid too much anaerobic exercise – particularly in the arms and shoulders – because anaerobic exercise builds up lactic acid. Designers already have problems with lactic build up so anaerobic exercise should only be done if extensive warm up and warm down exercises are done to fully flush any lactic build up.

Stretching is an important part of the designer’s exercise regime. The daily static workloads mean that joints are rarely moved through a full range of motion so flexibility will be lost over time. Incorporating stretches into the exercise routine will help combat the loss of flexibility and promote better mobility as the designer ages.

Strength training to build (or maintain) muscle mass is important. Muscles are necessary to support the weight of the body and also have a background calorie burning effect. There is no need to become an body builder but do some strength training. A particular area to focus on is the core abdominal muscles that hold the upper body erect. A strong core can promote good posture and avoid back pain. Exercise systems like Pilates can promote good core strength.

Take care of those bodies designers, they need to last a career well enough to have a long and enjoyable retirement.

(The article on OOS discusses why lactic acid build up is such a problem for designers)


Productivity in User Interfaces

A recent poll on Lifehacker asked if an intuitive user interface was more important than functionality. The default answer is that content is king – therefore functionality wins. An intuitive user interface that does nothing useful serves little purpose. However the question is too short-sighted because it does not examine the relationship between intuitive and functional.

Firstly the question implies that there is a tradeoff between functionality and intuitive. This is not true because an interface can be both intuitive and functional at the same time. The two attributes are only rarely mutually exclusive. Good knowledge of the target audience (users) enables a designer to create user interfaces that are intuitively tuned to that audience in ways that provide the most functionality in the simplest possible way.

Consider productivity which is calculated as outputs divided by inputs. An interface’s outputs are the functionality it enables. The inputs are the costs of achieving those outputs which in interface terms is crudely the human time taken to achieve the outputs. This means that an intuitive user interface has higher productivity because outputs can be achieved in less time than with a less intuitive interface.

User Experience designers also consider the connotative side of productivity. They consider the feelings that the experience of using the interface will produce. These emotions are an important part of the overall message of the interface and should be support the brand message of the user interface’s creator. Feelings such as a sense of control, delight, ease, efficiency are all things that an interface can engender. Interaction is therefore must be considered strongly for its semiotic content alongside the traditional static visual communication based on composition that designers are used to. In static compositions perhaps color carries the most connotative meaning, but in a user interface interaction can surpass color in terms of the amount of meaning carried.

Accuracy is an important part of productivity. Even trained users make fewer mistakes when using an intuitive interface. Each mistake reduces productivity because it either takes time to fix when noticed or creates a negative output when not noticed.

Technological progress goes hand in hand with productivity. Functionality alone is not a good measure of progress because while functionality dictates what technology makes possible, productivity dictates what technology makes pragmatically probable. For example much of what jQuery does today for web designers has been functionally possible for over a decade however it took toolkits like jQuery to simplify things so that the time (and skill level) required to produce those outputs was reduced enough to tip the productivity equation in favor of more interaction on web pages. Also, computers have become cheap enough, fast enough and capable enough that they have almost completely surpassed traditional forms of doing graphic design in terms of productivity.

There are many more examples where convenience (reduced input) of technology has tipped the productivity equation in favor of greater adoption of that technology. As we expand our use of technology we see gain the view from a new creative horizon so therefore can look for even more ways to improve productivity.

If a user interface is just too difficult to use then the productivity equation swings away from convenient usage of the interface because the outputs are not worth the inputs. Therefore a user interface that has high productivity i.e. both functional and intuitive is more likely to achieve greater usage.


Future Design Software: Design Anywhere, Anytime

Mobile computing and cloud computing are big trends in computing at the moment. Mobile computing (and tablet computing) is the push for smaller devices that travel with us. Cloud computing is the push for computing to happen in large data centers connected to over the internet instead of on local machines. Graphic design has resisted these trends because it requires flexible and powerful workstations but it is undeniable that these two trends will have an impact on future design software.

There is an saying that “The best camera is the one that’s with you” (Chase Jarvis). This could also be applied to the idea that the best computing device is the one that’s with you. As mobile devices increase in capability it is inevitable that we will be doing more and more design work on them. Today, capable mobile devices can update websites, color correct photographs, edit videos and sketch concepts. While the productivity does not yet match desktop computers with more powerful processors and larger screens, it might be quicker to just do something on a mobile device in the moment than travel back to a more capable computer.

This is highlights an inherent weakness with desktop workstations – they are not easily portable and thus remain fixed in location. The trend is for people to spend less time at a personal non-portable computer and get out and about more. This means that personal computing becomes less important and mobile computing increases in importance.

Laptop computers are not really ideal. They are somewhat portable but battery charge life is still too short, the device too heavy for casual just-in-case carrying and the screen and trackpad combination not ideal for interaction. Laptops lack the always-on property of other mobile devices. Laptops will live on as slightly more portable versions of personal desktop computers but will generally lose out to other mobile devices like tablets.

At present most cloud based services work on data-storage with a web-application front end and maybe some custom software installed on local machines. In the future more applications with better interaction than current web-application silos will live in the cloud also. Computing will also be pushed into the cloud. This means that when the local device encounters a task that overwhelms it then that processing task can be seamlessly performed on the cloud. Seamless means with no user intervention required. Imagine if videos and complex 3D material rendered faster than realtime because of the economies of scale that large cloud computing datacenters can achieve.

The future will have more public kiosk computers and less laptops. When a mobile device is not enough then a designer can login to another other computer (such as a kiosk) and have their data, applications and processing power immediately available in a secure fashion. This can happen on a computer borrowed in a client company or a kiosk computer in a coffee shop/library. Desktops and laptops will become less numerous as more portable mobile devices become more prevalent and designers can rely on access to convenient access to computing kiosks.

Designers will then be freed to travel more – networking, visiting clients, getting in touch with their inspiration, discovering their target audiences. Journeys like this will enrich the design process rather than be seen as unwelcome distractions from productivity. Design might become more human again.

(Read more articles in the Future Design Software series.)


Designer Loyalty is Compromised

Ideally designers should create works that best suit the needs of communicating a message to a target audience. The reality is that the target audience is never a paying member so the designer’s loyalty is compromised by contractual relationships to act in the best interests of their employer or client. How does a designer resolve the tension between the competing interests of employer, client and audience?

In the long-term, the best interests of the employer are best met by serving the interests of clients. Clients whose needs are met show positive business results and can afford to become repeat customers. Repeat clients are cheaper for the employer so retaining clients and helping clients thrive is good for the employer. However, sometimes an employer will not necessarily act in the best interest of a client, for example by scheduling too much work, or knowingly taking on work that will not add much value to the client’s business. The employed designer is contracted to their employer not the client so may not always be able to act in their client’s best interests.

Freelance designers have the luxury of no employer relationship to complicate matters. By contracting directly with clients the freelancer need only resolve the tensions between the client and the target audience.

In the long-term, the best interests of the client are best met when the client’s offerings add benefit to their target audience. The role of the designer is to communicate the client’s message to this audience. Often though, in the interest of keeping the client happy and retaining their business, the designer will accept instructions from the client that run counter to their best interests.

So, to describe the chain of responsibility, the designer acts in the best interests of their employer by acting in the best interests of employer’s clients. The designer acts in the best interests of the clients by acting in the interest of the client’s target audience. This means that by satisfying the needs of the target audience both the client and employer’s long-term interests are met.

There are two problems with this chain. The designer has no contractual responsibilities to the target audience and thus can act for short-term gain at the expense of the audience. Secondly each link in the chain introduces a political element where the interests of the audience can become forgotten.

The way to resolve the tension is for the designer to advocate for the target audience to the client, and advocate for the client to their employer. In situations where the client gives instructions that run counter to their best interests then it is the designer’s duty to inform the client but the client still has the right to decide. In situations where client’s best interests are being compromised by employer actions the designer should inform their employer but recognize that the designer is contracted to their employer first so the employer gets the right to decide.


Poster Design Tips

An effective poster has both visuals and content that shines. This article gives tips for poster design aimed at the novice designer. As always, the experienced designer might benefit from the revision.

Viewers first engage with a poster at quite some distance. At first most of the poster’s details will not be in visible. As the viewer moves closer to the poster the visual elements uncover cleanly one by one rewarding the viewer with more to see.

Content needs three things. These are the hook, the body and the call to action. These things work together to form the textual content of the poster.

The content hook is a piece of enticing text designed to grab and hold the attention of the viewer. It is usually a clever tagline. A tagline does not need to inform so much as it needs to invite the viewer to continue viewing the poster. These should be short and snappy.

The content body is the main textual information of the poster. At this point the user has digested the visual hook and is ready for real content. Tell them enough to encourage acting upon the call to action.

The call to action tells the audience the preferred behavior desired of them. It is strongest if explicitly stated with a verb. Avoid implying the call to action – say it directly. If the both is good then the poster will contain enough information for the viewer to decided where to take the suggestion in the call to action. Example calls to action are: visit our website at… book online at…. Phone today for a free health check.

There are also three things to consider for the visual arrangement of a poster. These are the visual hook, the hierarchy and good eye flow.

The visual hook is an extremely dominant design element that is interesting enough to attract viewer interest from a distance. It will be the first thing that viewers notice.

Hierarchy is the visual dominance order of the design elements in a composition. The visual hook will be overwhelmingly the most dominant item. The next most visual dominant item is second in the visual hierarchy and so on. A good visual hierarchy has clear contrast in dominance between elements because there are problems when elements are close together in dominance.

Eye-flow is the two dimensional journey the eye takes over the surface of the poster. Typically eye-flow starts at the most dominant element in the visual hierarchy then progresses to the next most dominant element and so on. Good eye-paths are smooth and avoid the eye jumping around the composition. A good eye-path will have the viewer encountering the most important information first, followed the second most important information and so on. Eye-flow can be disturbed by gestalt continuations that throw it off course by indicating a different direction.

There are many successful posters that are set entirely on a centered top-down eye-flow – but this is the default solution and might be too boring. There is a western tendency to like eye-paths that move left-to-right, top-bottom so if the eye-flow moves in a counter-direction then the designer must make extra effort to ensure that each element in the hierarchy has enough contrast in dominance.


Make a Great Portfolio Website

Designers need a portfolio. The reality is that a degree alone is not enough to secure work. A portfolio is proof of what the designer is capable. It is fashionable nowadays for all designers to have a portfolio website to showcase their work and abilities. There are some do’s and don’ts that are useful to know.

A portfolio website is part of the designer’s personal brand. That brand should be properly unified across all the media it appears in: the portfolio website, the printer portfolio, the CV, the business card and even the any covering letters sent. This attention to brand detail not only fixes the brand in the viewer’s mind, but it also shows potential employers that you have a keen eye for detail and can work well with cross-media design projects.

Brand around the designer’s real name. There is no better representation for an individual. Designers should not dilute the power of their name by trying to introduce a brand for something they are not. Do not use a cutesy name for the portfolio and say “work by X”. Name the portfolio as X then simply name “collections” within that overall portfolio. Naming with something other than the designer’s name dilutes personal brand further by making the site appear as representing a small studio.

Be upfront about what the designer is looking for. If the designer is looking for work in Delhi then they should say that: “looking for freelance opportunities or full-time employment in Delhi”. This helps viewers understand how they might relate to the designer.

Ensure that work is front and center on the portfolio. Design work should the main focus of the portfolio so do not bury it under layers of navigation. Have work on the first page of the website. Feature design collections in the first level of navigation. Have a brief text statement contextualizing each piece of work.

Contact details and a CV are good to have online but be careful how much personal information is being offered for free. A good portfolio website should help others decide that the designer fits their needs, decide that they like the work and decide to contact the designer.

The design of the website portfolio itself says a lot about the designer themselves. A good portfolio should be functional and easy to use. Ensure that any interaction is simple and each to use. Make sure that load times are snappy and quick. Consider avoiding flash and using HTML/CSS with perhaps some jQuery to add polish. Definitely do not have a splash pages.

Use a custom domain name and website for the portfolio. While many on-line communities have great portfolio abilities (e.g. Flickr, Behance, DeviantArt) these websites include too many other things that distract from the designers work.

(Another related eturnerx article is: Use the Internet to get a Design Job)


Spot Problem Clients - Have Positive Projects

This article explores common warning signs from things clients say and discusses how to resolve these in a positive manner.

“I need this urgently!” – If this client’s expectation is met then they will think the designer will act with urgency on their future work. Ensure that the client is made fully aware that urgency is extra and not normal effort. Provide two quotes – one for the extra effort required for the rush job and one for an ordinary non-urgent job. Explain that over-time is charged extra, bumping other in-progress jobs costs extra. Seeing the financial difference their disorganization makes to their bottom line could bring the client in line.

“I’ve got lots of future work planned and friends who’ll give you more work too so give me a discount.” – This client wants the large project discount on their small job. They are trying to make themselves a more attractive client in order to extract more from the designer. The reality is that future work rarely happens. The client will expect the same cheap rate on all future work. If they do refer any of their friends then they expect their friends will also get the same cheap rate. The client might also expect additional benefits for the referrals. Suggest building a relationship with the new client first by working on the first couple of projects then reassessing the situation. Suggest that if the relationship is working well then future work can be dealt with by placing the designer on a retainer. Explain that retainer has the advantage of letting them budget easier.

“I’ll know what I want when I see it” – This client lacks a clear idea of what they are want. Expect this client to want a lot of revisions. They will be unhappy and will refuse to pay more on a fixed price job until they have exactly what they want. Uncover the client’s true needs through more discussion. The client might have difficulty finding the words to describe what they mean so make suggestions. Try and get on their wavelength. Contain the amount of revision rounds by being clear in the brief that the quote only covers two rounds of revisions and that further revisions will be charged for at a particularly hourly rate. Most clients will reign in the revisions because they are become aware that it’s not worth the extra money. Some clients will be happy to pay more.

“I can see what I want in my head” – This client will art direct the designer to death and complain when the concept does not match their vision. The positive way to handle this client is to suggest they sketch as much as they can to guide the designer. Discuss with the client that the designer can only interpret what they are told and that will look different to what the client has in mind. Reassure the client that the work will represent the message to the audience. Ensure that the brief is clear about the number of revisions included in the quoted price.

“It’s great, but it doesn’t express me!” – This client has mistaken their own persona as the message that should be delivered to their audience. Be careful because their ego is at stake here. Focus them on the real message their business is trying to represent and hopefully they will see how their persona might distract from that message.

Spotting the warning signs early means project can become positive experiences.

(If you like this article then you may also enjoy: The Client is NOT Always Right)


What do design school grades mean?

Over my teaching career I have seen identifiable patterns that match grades to the personality of the design student. This article is intended for the recent or current student and those who are hiring. These are generalizations so take care applying to individuals. Note: The grading system in this article ends in A+ so subtract half a letter grade for grading systems that end at A.

The Straight A/A+ Superstar has excellent design aesthetic backed up with strong concepting ability and good software skills. They are able to execute solid work with memorable flair. Works very hard and listens without appearing to take critique personally. There are good communicators with outgoing personality and charisma. The two negatives are that they might have an ego – especially if they don’t listen and they tend to be perfectionists that can drive themselves into mid-career health issues if they do not adjust to the deadline realities of the commercial world. These are the design superstars that will need room in grow in their careers.

The Performer has grades that range from B+ to A but predominantly has A-. This person produces polished work that lacks flair. Very keen to learn and can be trained to improve flair by focusing on creativity, contrast and a visual quirk. They are reliable and hard workers with good finishing skills. They are also perfectionists but have not yet developed their “designer eye” to the point where they can recognize great design and produce it themselves. These people can develop into superstars if they learn what makes great design great. These performers make good workers that have potential for improvement if their employer invests in them.

The Worker Bee students get grades in the B/B+ range. Typically they are solid reliable people who take direction well but are not the design superstars. They will put a lot of effort and can be counted on to pull long hours. They are also able to make compromises to get their work in by deadline. Aesthetically their work is good but not award winning. Typically some creative spark is missing - the flair is not there. Often the work is shallow style without a strong connection to concept or message despite the polish of the finishing. They are best suited for junior design roles, production roles and even project management or other design administration jobs. Without significant growth opportunity the worker bee will have a slow career trajectory but are probably happy with that.

The Creative has grades typically around C+/B- with a dash of A grades and the occasional D. This is the sign of somebody with more of an artist personality than a designer personality. They generally spend a lot of time thinking deeply about concept but the finishing and final aesthetic are rough. Typically they are the illustrators, painters and photographers who had a hard time adjusting to the discipline of layout, typography and design theory. They are easily distracted and have a cavalier attitude to deadlines. If they concentrate on finishing skills, deadlines and design aesthetics they have the potential to become future superstars but ambition is not in their nature. The creative is often highly intelligent, philosophical and engaging. They work well when teamed with a performer or worker bee because their concepting ability and risk-taking flair complement the finishing skills of their partner. Consider hiring as part of a large team or using as a freelancer on special projects.

The Dud: has grades in the D/C+ range and should look for a non-design career.

(If you liked this article then you might also like: The Designer Personality)


Body care for Designers – Occupational Overuse Syndrome

Designers these days spend a lot of time in front of the computer and this can have a negative impact on the human body if not managed well. Occupations Overuse Syndrome (OOS) occurs when damage to soft tissues goes beyond the point the body can naturally heal. If a designer wants their body to last for a career then they need to know how to prevent OOS.

The effects of OOS start with mild pains or weakness that passes quickly, then pain and weakness that has disappeared by the next day. At its worst, the pain is severe, debilitating and constant. The worst effects of OOS can be prevented if treatment and change happens early enough.

The early symptoms of OOS are muscle soreness, aches and pains, fatigue, hot and cold feelings, stiffness, numbing and tingling, muscle weakness. Not all of these symptoms need be present for OOS to occur, but some care is needed in diagnosis because they can be the sign of something else. Always consult your doctor. OOS develops over time so this list is early warning signs.

OOS is caused by tense muscles restricting blood flow and this allows lactic acid to build up in muscles and start to break down the soft tissues. As blood flow to muscles is reduced, not enough oxygen gets to muscle for energy so the body switches to non-oxygen methods to supply energy. The by product of this is lactic acid. Muscles tense up when held in the same position for long-periods of time without movement. Stress can also cause an inability to relax which increases muscle tension.

The best prevention is to avoid doing the same type of task for longer than 40 minutes. After 40 minutes either take a ten minute break or switch to another task. Try pausing every few minutes and use stretches and other exercises to restore blood flow to stiff areas. Maintain a good body temperature to maintain good blood flow to extremities.

Good general health and fitness also helps. Eat well and remain hydrated to aid blood circulation and improve the bodies ability to process lactic acid.

Designers are particularly at risk from OOS. They have the stress of deadlines, consume dehydrating amounts of caffeine, sit with bad posture for extended periods and often don’t take breaks or vary their workloads. The singular focus on deadline often means designers will ignore pain and discomfort and push through instead of short exercise and rest. Designers need to be more aware of their bodies and realize that a designer career is a marathon not a never-ending series of sprints.