This evening, I had the distinct pleasure to meet with and listen to Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand, and Debbie Millman. All three of these wonderful designers are legends (feel free to Google if you need to), and I always derive a great deal of inspiration from hearing people like them speak on the subject of design.

The night focused mostly on Bierut, who recently released his monograph, “How to” (available on Amazon and many other places.) As a Pentagram partner for many years, Bierut has been a part of some truly incredible projects, including the New York Times sign, Saks Fifth Avenue branding, the Hillary Clinton “H” logo, the Verizon logo (the new one), and seemingly endless others. He was also a longtime employee of Massimo Vignelli, who was an absolute giant in the history of design in his own right.

I have learned how important it is to find and listen to the greats anytime I can. Not only do I learn a tremendous amount, but I am inspired and invigorated to continue my own projects as well. It’s essential for any designer to find his role models, find the industry leaders, and listen to them. Every designer should be aware that great work is always possible and can be rewarded with high regards in our society, as well as – in all honesty – a nice paycheck.

Additionally, every designer should stay actively engaged in the design community, by attending lectures, social gatherings, and being a part of the design community. Access to this world may vary from city to city, but no opportunity should be ignored.

It is all too easy to fall into the everyday minutia of our clients and projects. However, our long term success and growth will be dependent on our constant vigilance and respect to the greats that came before us. They are the road map for our own careers, as well as the shoulders upon which we stand.