Unlearning What I Know: A List to Inspire Possibilities

Howard Poon RGD shares work of designers inspiring him to unlearn, push boundaries and rediscover. 


It's reasonable for design professionals to form our sense of identity from our work experience and career highs (and lows). As our competence in design grows, so does our confidence. But competence—or a more senior job title—can also lead to overconfidence. When we become an expert at something, we think we know more than others. This can result in closed mindedness. And resistance to novel ideas. Or worse, black-and-white thinking.


At times, I catch myself thinking: It won’t work. It’s impossible. They won’t understand it. When did absolute thinking become my shortcut to ideation? After all, with over thirty-years under my belt in the industry, I earned the right to be decisive, right?


Cut to 2022. I'm on a mission to unlearn what I know. In a way—by freeing my thinking—I’m starting over. And that makes me feel like anything is possible. Here are five great examples of work that are inspiring me and why.


Defy the grid. Or not.

Try Crazy Mode. Shout out to Obys Agency.




Traditional typography meets variable font tech. COLLINS expressive rebrand for the SF Symphony is simple yet so on point.




Go all out like Yamauchi No.10 Family Office.



Refine. Find more air.

I LOVE that Apple never stops improving their products.



Stop, wait. Who says we have to go back to normal?

What if? An anthem for our times. Creative by 72andSunny.



Howard Poon RGD has a reputation for frank feedback and has a low tolerance for complexity. He stays curious with a subscription to the Sunday New York Times and talks openly about his colour blindness and his addiction to espresso. As VP Design for DDB Canada (Edmonton), Howard collaborates with a cross-disciplinary agency team of strategists, creatives and designers to use insight-driven design to build exceptional brands. Over the years, his team’s work has appeared in Communication ArtsApplied Arts and has been recognized with international, national and regional creative awards. Howard is passionate about nurturing young talent. 





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