How to Keep Designing When Tragedy Strikes

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If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all! We all have personal tragedies. Sometimes those tragedies are more than anyone could handle, and that’s when you encounter some very basic, intense emotions. For some it’s the fiercely stark task of overcoming, shutting out all else; for others, it’s thoughts of helplessness. Unfortunately, most people will run the gamut of these polar emotions.

I’ve been through all this and not only survived, but thrived. The idea when faced with a debilitating horror, is to take stock of what you have, what you need, and think outside the box to solve them as quickly as possible—oddly, focusing on plans to survive keeps your thoughts off the actual disaster.

You’re going to face these things sooner or later, here’s how you too, can overcome your personal disasters…

The Immediate Impact of Disaster

If you’re a freelancer, even the common cold can put you out of work for a week or so. That’s income lost and a financial strain that most people can’t afford. My motorcycle accident set me back several months due to fractured fingers and arm (among injuries to my foot and other body parts), all on my right side. Working as an illustrator back then, naturally I wasn’t able to work, but the bills kept coming in and three weeks in the hospital, including two surgeries, wasn’t cheap.

An emotional event such as a divorce, or having a sick child who spends a lot of time in the hospital for treatments, can easily cause depression. The financial strain only adds to the madness.

…few people see it coming

Being fired or laid off from a regular paycheck is a shock to the system and causes major stress for you and your family. It can come up when least expected, or happen after months of corporate rumors. Either way, few people see it coming.

Sometimes family calls, and you must answer. The loss of a family member, parents, siblings will cause depression. Going back to work is the last thing on one’s mind. Sometimes that mental block goes on for weeks… months… a year… or years.

Recently a friend announced on Facebook her impending divorce—I’m betting that changed her algorithms so she now gets dating site, and divorce lawyer ads. She cried about no longer being supported by her partner and her desperation to find a full time job. She admitted to a trap many of us fall into, complacency. The days of leisure and hobbies allowed her to fall behind and now her ability to find a staff position, needing income for rent, health insurance, and such, was causing her severe anxiety. As with any tragedy, she reached out to her friends and connections for help.

There are several steps one must make when financially smacked. Here’s a list of steps that will help you survive:

1. Reach Out To Your Network

This isn’t a time to be shy or embarrassed…you’ll certainly find out who you can count upon.

First stop is to make sure your CV/Résumé is up to date, and that means not only with all information, but with the newest CV/Résumé “rules.” Check the latest articles on the web for tips on how to make yourself fabulous. Then reach out to your network and send those queries out with your CV/Résumé. Friends, family, connections on business sites, people you went to school with. Hit everybody!

This isn’t a time to be shy or embarrassed. Everyone gets into a jam at some point and needs help. You’ll certainly find out who you can count upon.

2. List Your Income And Expenses

How much will you need to survive until your income can be replaced? How much will you need to cut from your expenses to keep your debt low? What social safety nets does your country have for unemployed citizens? Who will lend you money?

Living on your credit card may look like an easy answer but it’s a trap. Paying back a large balance will take years as interest keeps increasing. It’s usually impossible to not use credit, so if you do, use it very wisely! Friends will understand if you can’t buy them big presents for their birthday, or take vacations with them.

There are even small things you can cut, which adds up to big savings.

3. Bring In Money Any Way You Can

Yes, I know you’re chuckling at, “…any way you can.” But it’s time to drop your pride. A part-time job is easy to come by but they are not glamorous, not high-paying, and not a design job. I’ve bartended, flipped burgers, driven a delivery truck, and sold personal possessions to keep money coming in. I took less money from quick freelance jobs because I had to keep a flow of money. I borrowed money from friends and family. Through it all, I now know who my true friends are. That’s one of the good things about needing help. Here’s some immediate income solutions:

it’s time to drop your pride

Ebay: If I know my fellow creatives, like me, you have too many toys. Time to make tough choices and ebay those collectable figures! While I miss some of those toys, I was able to pay a lot of bills with sales.
Social safety nets: Many enlightened countries have programs to help the unemployed. A Canadian friend hit rock bottom before she found out that Canada has an incredible government program to help citizens survive. There are food banks, and grants from organizations and while it’s embarrassing to use them, eating is better than starving and keeping your pride, especially if you have kids. Google “food banks,” “artists’ grants,” “low cost loans” to see what might be available in your area. Religious organizations are also a good way to find grants and food banks.
Contract work: In lean times, I would work as a contract Art Director/Designer via an agent who specialized in design jobs. It paid well, would last a week or a few months, and it was a great way to grow my network. One of the better ways to make money.
Design contests: The much detested design contests are an evil that outweighs going into debt. Sign up under a fake name and give it a try. Winning will at least bring in money.
Beg freelance work: Ask your network for freelance work. Ask if anyone knows of an open position at their company. Sometimes it happens, depending on the economy and hiring freezes. As with everything else, it pays to ask.

4. Take Stock Of Your Other Talents

After my motorcycle accident, and three fractured fingers on my right hand and a fractured right arm (held together by surgical pins) among other injuries, I was not up to illustration, even though it  was my main income stream. But as I had my thumb and index finger workable and not constrained by the massive cast on my hand and arm, I found that the postage stamp-sized drawings I could doodle were pretty awesome. When I blew them up on a copier to 11 x 17 inches, the line quality was interesting and distinct. A touch of wash here and there, and I could keep working. My clients willingly accepted the new “look” of my work—maybe pity had something to do with it—and I also picked up new clients.

If you have to work outside of the field, better that it’s something you will enjoy

I never really recovered from that accident and cold days remind me of every accident I’ve ever had. Thank goodness the computer came along and my loss-of-fine-control drawing hand was perfect for a mouse. Transitioning to being a designer, then art director, then creative director was the best move I was ever forced to take!

When a former employer laid off two-thirds of its creative department, in four or five waves, people wondered where their next paycheck was coming from. I assured many of them that being creative applied to many careers. Creative thinking put towards any product or initiative is critical. I also encouraged them to think of other ways to use their creativity to make a living.

Ten years later, my former coworkers are painters, illustrators, sculptors, jewelry makers, truck drivers, store merchandisers, writers, classic car restorers, and Uber drivers. Some have jobs on creative staff or freelance. Even the ones with non-creative jobs make creativity their hobby. It’s not a forever thing, unless you want it to be. If you have to work outside of the field, better that it’s something you will enjoy.

5. Stay Sane!

Throughout any problem, you will suffer anxiety, depression, anger, and a few other emotional states. It’s normal, don’t be embarrassed, or ashamed. There are several ways people deal with staying sane. It might be exercise, watching movies, getting together with friends, or family, and whatever gets you feeling happier. Most importantly… laugh! Do anything for laughs because it’s the best medicine and you’ll need lots of it!

There are also ways to get free counselling. Google “free counselling,” and “support groups.” It helps to talk to others suffering the same emotions and needs, or a professional.

At one point I started seeing a counselor/therapist and it really did help. The most amazing psychological breakthrough was the therapist asking me if I had any recurring dreams. I had one that popped up in every dream. No matter what was happening in the dream, I would, out of nowhere, get anxious about the realization I hadn’t fed my cat in two years. I was desperate in the dreams to get home and feed the poor cat. That always became the focus of my dreams. In the non-dream life, my cat had died years before. The therapist smiled and said, “you’re the cat; you need to feed yourself.”

After that, I never had that same dream. I got a new cat, and always remembered that no matter how bad things got, I had to keep my sanity to get through it all. It’s the foundation of one’s existence.

In Conclusion

There’s always a way to climb out of a hole and it’s a huge help if you have lots of helpful connections. As mentioned before, your network will be your best way back. Luckily, I did a lot of favors over my career, so there were a good number of people who stepped up when asked for help. Some didn’t, but that’s how we find out who are real friends are. Sometimes that’s worth more than anything they could give you.

As I write this, I’m getting over a killer flu that had me sleeping for three straight days and loopy for four more… and my car needs $4,500 worth of work or it will explode. I’ll catch up, but it means my 1980s transforming robots from Japan are going on ebay.


Featured image via Unsplash.


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40+ Inspiring Book & Paper Sculptures

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The book serves as a tool to record historical events that transcend through the ages, passing down knowledge from generation to generation, spanning scientific studies to artistic fields. Today, it…

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Branding and Visual Identity for Music and Arts Festival

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Branding and Visual Identity for Music and Arts Festival
Branding and Visual Identity for Music and Arts Festival

abduzeedoJan 27, 2020

Student-run fundraiser 25tolife is hosting a music and arts festival with all proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society. 25toLife is a joint project between Kamal Masri’s SFU Beedie School of Business Project Management class and the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). This project aims to raise funds for cancer research and to support individuals who are affected by this disease while learning project management. The event will feature a variety of live music, arts, poetry and dance performers. There will also be a raffle with some fantastic prizes to take home.

This year’s event inspired Broklin Onjei and Creative Invention Studio to create a fun concept Identity for the upcoming event in 2020. Expanding their creative thought seeing something new and different in 2020, they used abstract contemporary modern geometric shapes with trendy and fashion colors to reach the audience.

Branding and Visual Identity



Design Studio: Creative Invention Studio

Art Direction and Graphic Design by: Broklin Onje

3D Everydays Inspiration

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3D Everydays Inspiration
3D Everydays Inspiration

abduzeedoJan 21, 2020

We have already featured Stuart Lippincott here on ABDZ and will keep doing it because he keeps delivering incredible and inspiring work with his Everydays series of posts. For this post we will feature some from the December Everydays 2019, make sure to check out his work for the full set of images. Ah, in case you wonder, the tools used were After Effects,  Maxon Cinema 4D and Octane Render.


Image may contain: outdoorImage may contain: fashion accessory and goldImage may contain: water and outdoorImage may contain: nature, desert and abstractImage may contain: outdoor, cave and mountainImage may contain: outdoorImage may contain: outdoor, water and natureImage may contain: outdoor, mountain and desertImage may contain: mountain, sky and outdoorImage may contain: outdoor, sky and natureImage may contain: outdoor and waterImage may contain: mountain, outdoor and natureImage may contain: fireworks and concertImage may contain: nature, valley and canyonImage may contain: outdoor, nature and mountainImage may contain: outdoor, water and fireImage may contain: mountain, sky and outdoorImage may contain: mountain, outdoor and skyImage may contain: orange and artImage may contain: sky, outdoor and sunsetImage may contain: abstract, man and personImage may contain: outdoor, firefighter and nature

How to Send Customized Messages to Slack From your App

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Slack is a popular messaging app used by many teams. It comes with a lot of services and an API for developers to integrate it with their applications. In today’s post we’ll see how to…

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Disney Plus UK is launching sooner than we thought!

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Disney fans, rejoice! If you're in certain countries in Western Europe then you'll be able to get your hands on Disney Plus a whole week earlier than expected. The streaming service, which is already going down an absolute storm in the US, is now set to launch on 24 March (instead of 31 March as initially expected) in the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy and Germany. 

The new Disney+ launch date may be only a week earlier, but when there are delights such as Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian to look forward to, who wouldn't be happy to have the service for an extra seven days? We're even considering upgrading to one of the best 4K monitors for the occasion. 

Disney Plus

Just some of the exclusive goodies on offer

The other good news is that the pricing of Disney+ has also been announced, and for what you get for your money, it's going to be much better value than Netflix. In the UK, Disney+ will cost £5.99 per month or £59.99 per year. Users will be able to stream 4K content on four devices at once, and there are no hidden extras. They'll also be able to download their favourite shows or films, to watch offline. 

To compare, Netflix also costs £5.99 per month, but you have to pay more (either £8.99 or £11.99) if you want ultra-HD content, or to be able to stream on one more than screen at a time. And with Netflix UK having recently won the rights to Studio Ghibli's content, it seems competition between the two streaming giants is really heating up, and that's before Disney+ has even fully launched.

Disney Plus' available shows and films will include much-loved classics from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and National Geographic, and there's also previously unseen content, including the aforementioned The Mandalorian, and the catchily named High School Musical, The Musical, The Series. 

You can sign up now on the Disney Plus website for more updates.

Read more:

Aaron Blaise reveals why he quit his dream job at DisneyIs this Chinese city logo a blatant Disney copy?Understand Disney's 12 principles of animation

How Do Developers See Themselves? A Quantified Look

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This article was originally published by SlashData. Thank you for supporting the partners who make SitePoint possible.

For the first time in our Q2 2019 Developer Economics survey, we tried to introduce developers in their own words by asking them about how they see themselves.

We provided a set of 21 words and asked them to choose up to five to form a word sketch of their personality. We also gave them the opportunity to provide their own text description.

Here’s what we got:


Over half of the developers say they are logical

Perhaps unsurprisingly, nearly six out of ten developers say they are logical. And as it turns out this is the most popular choice of description across all software development sectors, except in games development. Next in line, but some way behind, are the descriptors team player and introvert at 37% each. By comparison, just 10% label themselves as an extrovert. But can you guess which programmers consider themselves less introverted? Those involved in the AR/VR and IoT sector. Interesting, right?

Moving on to a slightly more unusual pair of labels: there are slightly more dog lovers than cat people in the developer population, although the numbers are close at 15% and 13% respectively. A much greater difference seems to exist though between developers working at night (night owls, 29%) and those who prefer the fresh morning breeze (early birds, 14%).


What about hobbies and spare time?

A third (33%) of developers say they are a reader, which makes it the most popular choice among spare-time activities. It is closely followed by 31% who say they are a gamer. Our data shows that developers tend to perceive themselves differently as they grow older. More than one in three developers up to the age of 34 years consider themselves to be a gamer, compared to fewer than one in four of the 35-44 age group, and fewer than one in five of the 45-54-years. Older programmers are more likely to describe themselves as readers.

“What’s this “real life” you’re talking about like? Is it similar to WoW? Does it run on a 64 bit OS?”

Other activities such as music and sport score lower, at 20% and 17%. A low 7% make LEGO models, although the popularity of LEGO seems to be very much dependent upon age. A respectable 12% of developers under 18 make LEGO models, but the proportion halves to 6% within the age group 18-24.

What about the artistic ones?

Even though a developer’s work demands a high level of creativity, just 14% use “artistic” to describe themselves. Those involved in games or in augmented reality and virtual reality development are far more likely than others to use this word to describe themselves. 21% of game developers and about 25% of AR/VR developers see themselves as artistic, as compared to 16% or less of desktop, web and backend developers.

Lastly, in out Q2 2019 Developer Economics survey, a few programmers were confused as to why we were asking the question and pondered if we were trying to set up a dating site. Well, we weren’t! We were collecting the data to create the State of the Developer Nation Report, 17th Edition.

Interested in joining forces with 40,000 developers worldwide in shaping the future of the developer ecosystem? Take our survey.

The post How Do Developers See Themselves? A Quantified Look appeared first on SitePoint.

The keys to improving your web design approach

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There is no getting around the fact that in this exceedingly digitally inclined era, the presence of the online landscape that is the worldwide web is becoming more and more central to the way that we live our lives in this modern world. Considering this, it should come as no surprise that websites are becoming […]

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React with TypeScript: Best Practices

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React with TypeScript: Best Practices

React and TypeScript are two awesome technologies used by a lot of developers these days. Knowing how to do things can get tricky, and sometimes it’s hard to find the right answer. Not to worry. We’ve put together the best practices along with examples to clarify any doubts you may have.

Let’s dive in!

How React and TypeScript Work Together

Before we begin, let’s revisit how React and TypeScript work together. React is a “JavaScript library for building user interfaces”, while TypeScript is a “typed superset of JavaScript that compiles to plain JavaScript.” By using them together, we essentially build our UIs using a typed version of JavaScript.

The reason you might use them together would be to get the benefits of a statically typed language (TypeScript) for your UI. This means more safety and fewer bugs shipping to the front end.

Does TypeScript Compile My React Code?

A common question that’s always good to review is whether TypeScript compiles your React code. The way TypeScript works is similar to this interaction:

TS: “Hey, is this all your UI code?”
React: “Yup!”
TS: “Cool! I’m going to compile it and make sure you didn’t miss anything.”
React: “Sounds good to me!”

So the answer is yes, it does! But later, when we cover the tsconfig.json settings, most of the time you’ll want to use “noEmit”: true. What this means is TypeScript will not emit JavaScript out after compilation. This is because typically, we’re just utilizing TS to do our TypeScript.

The output is handled, in a CRA setting, by react-scripts. We run yarn build and react-scripts bundles the output for production.

To recap, TypeScript compiles your React code to type-check your code. It doesn’t emit any JavaScript output (in most scenarios). The output is still similar to a non-TypeScript React project.

Can TypeScript Work with React and webpack?

Yes, TypeScript can work with React and webpack. Lucky for you, the official TypeScript Handbook has a guide on that.

Hopefully, that gives you a gentle refresher on how the two work together. Now, on to best practices!

Best Practices

We’ve researched the most common questions and put together this handy list of the most common use cases for React with TypeScript. This way, you can follow best practices in your projects by using this article as a reference.


One of the least fun, yet most important parts of development is configuration. How can we set things up in the shortest amount of time that will provide maximum efficiency and productivity? We’ll discuss project setup including:

VS Code extensions and settings.

Project Setup

The quickest way to start a React/TypeScript app is by using create-react-app with the TypeScript template. You can do this by running:

npx create-react-app my-app –template typescript

This will get you the bare minimum to start writing React with TypeScript. A few noticeable differences are:

the .tsx file extension
the tsconfig.json
the react-app-env.d.ts

The tsx is for “TypeScript JSX”. The tsconfig.json is the TypeScript configuration file, which has some defaults set. The react-app-env.d.ts references the types of react-scripts, and helps with things like allowing for SVG imports.


Lucky for us, the latest React/TypeScript template generates tsconfig.json for us. However, they add the bare minimum to get started. We suggest you modify yours to match the one below. We’ve added comments to explain the purpose of each option as well:

“compilerOptions”: {
“target”: “es5”, // Specify ECMAScript target version
“lib”: [
], // List of library files to be included in the compilation
“allowJs”: true, // Allow JavaScript files to be compiled
“skipLibCheck”: true, // Skip type checking of all declaration files
“esModuleInterop”: true, // Disbles namespace imports (import * as fs from “fs”) and enables CJS/AMD/UMD style imports (import fs from “fs”)
“allowSyntheticDefaultImports”: true, // Allow default imports from modules with no default export
“strict”: true, // Enable all strict type checking options
“forceConsistentCasingInFileNames”: true, // Disallow inconsistently-cased references to the same file.
“module”: “esnext”, // Specify module code generation
“moduleResolution”: “node”, // Resolve modules using Node.js style
“resolveJsonModule”: true, // Include modules imported with .json extension
“noEmit”: true, // Do not emit output (meaning do not compile code, only perform type checking)
“jsx”: “react” // Support JSX in .tsx files
“sourceMap”: true, // *** Generate corrresponding .map file ***
“declaration”: true, // *** Generate corresponding .d.ts file ***
“noUnusedLocals”: true, // *** Report errors on unused locals ***
“noUnusedParameters”: true, // *** Report errors on unused parameters ***
“experimentalDecorators”: true // *** Enables experimental support for ES decorators ***
“incremental”: true // *** Enable incremental compilation by reading/writing information from prior compilations to a file on disk ***
“noFallthroughCasesInSwitch”: true // *** Report errors for fallthrough cases in switch statement ***
“include”: [
“src/**/*” // *** The files TypeScript should type check ***
“exclude”: [“node_modules”, “build”] // *** The files to not type check ***

The additional recommendations come from the [react-typescript-cheatsheet community]( and the explanations come from the Compiler Options docs in the Official TypeScript Handbook. This is a wonderful resource if you want to learn about other options and what they do.


In order to ensure that your code follows the rules of the project or your team, and the style is consistent, it’s recommended you set up ESLint and Prettier. To get them to play nicely, follow these steps to set it up.

Install the required dev dependencies:

yarn add eslint @typescript-eslint/parser @typescript-eslint/eslint-plugin eslint-plugin-react –dev

Create a .eslintrc.js file at the root and add the following:

module.exports = {
parser: ‘@typescript-eslint/parser’, // Specifies the ESLint parser
extends: [
‘plugin:react/recommended’, // Uses the recommended rules from @eslint-plugin-react
‘plugin:@typescript-eslint/recommended’, // Uses the recommended rules from @typescript-eslint/eslint-plugin
parserOptions: {
ecmaVersion: 2018, // Allows for the parsing of modern ECMAScript features
sourceType: ‘module’, // Allows for the use of imports
ecmaFeatures: {
jsx: true, // Allows for the parsing of JSX
rules: {
// Place to specify ESLint rules. Can be used to overwrite rules specified from the extended configs
// e.g. “@typescript-eslint/explicit-function-return-type”: “off”,
settings: {
react: {
version: ‘detect’, // Tells eslint-plugin-react to automatically detect the version of React to use

Add Prettier dependencies:

yarn add prettier eslint-config-prettier eslint-plugin-prettier –dev

Create a .prettierrc.js file at the root and add the following:

module.exports = {
semi: true,
trailingComma: ‘all’,
singleQuote: true,
printWidth: 120,
tabWidth: 4,

Update the .eslintrc.js file:

module.exports = {
parser: ‘@typescript-eslint/parser’, // Specifies the ESLint parser
extends: [
‘plugin:react/recommended’, // Uses the recommended rules from @eslint-plugin-react
‘plugin:@typescript-eslint/recommended’, // Uses the recommended rules from the @typescript-eslint/eslint-plugin
+ ‘prettier/@typescript-eslint’, // Uses eslint-config-prettier to disable ESLint rules from @typescript-eslint/eslint-plugin that would conflict with prettier
+ ‘plugin:prettier/recommended’, // Enables eslint-plugin-prettier and displays prettier errors as ESLint errors. Make sure this is always the last configuration in the extends array.
parserOptions: {
ecmaVersion: 2018, // Allows for the parsing of modern ECMAScript features
sourceType: ‘module’, // Allows for the use of imports
ecmaFeatures: {
jsx: true, // Allows for the parsing of JSX
rules: {
// Place to specify ESLint rules. Can be used to overwrite rules specified from the extended configs
// e.g. “@typescript-eslint/explicit-function-return-type”: “off”,
settings: {
react: {
version: ‘detect’, // Tells eslint-plugin-react to automatically detect the version of React to use

These recommendations come from a community resource written called “Using ESLint and Prettier in a TypeScript Project” by Robert Cooper. If you visit his blog, you can read more about the “why” behind these rules and configurations.

VSCode Extensions and Settings

We’ve added ESLint and Prettier and the next step to improve our DX is to automatically fix/prettify our code on save.

First, install the ESLint extension for VSCode. This will allow ESLint to integrate with your editor seamlessly.

Next, update your Workspace settings by adding the following to your .vscode/settings.json:

code block

<!– RM: couldn't get this code block to render properly, so used a screen shot instead

"eslint.autoFixOnSave": true,
"eslint.validate": [
{ "language": "typescript", "autoFix": true },
{ "language": "typescriptreact", "autoFix": true }
"editor.formatOnSave": true,
"[javascript]": {
"editor.formatOnSave": false
"[javascriptreact]": {
"editor.formatOnSave": false
"[typescript]": {
"editor.formatOnSave": false
"[typescriptreact]": {
"editor.formatOnSave": false

This will allow VS Code to work its magic and fix your code when you save. It’s beautiful!

These suggestions also come from the previously linked article “Using ESLint and Prettier in a TypeScript Project” by Robert Cooper.

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