20Q: Lauren Mackler

For Lauren Mackler it is fundamentally important to keep going and to stay optimistic while designing.

1. How do you define creative success?

The feeling that you're really getting somewhere you've never been.

2. Are there certain characteristics that all creatives possess?  

I think all are similar in the sense where they begin with "an up": adrenaline and excitement, then inevitably followed by "the down", insecurity and fear. The key is to move forward after the down.

3. What items would you put into a time capsule?

Letters from loved ones, music I love and 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

4. What is the question you ask yourself the most?

Is this good enough?

5. How do you deal with failure?

I keep going.

6. What is something that you have learnt in the past five years?

To keep going and stay optimistic

7. What's the best creative advice you've ever received?

Creativity is fragile, you have to nurture it and be brave.

8. Summer or winter?


9. What is something you know you do differently to most people?

I'm not sure how to answer this one, people are all so different I can't figure out what "most" do.

10. What has been your favourite project to date?

Public Fiction.

11. Can design save the world?

It doesn't have to, it's a two-way street, sometimes the world saves design.

12. Who in the world, dead or alive, would you most like to have lunch with?

My father and my mother.

13. Which qualities do you most admire in others?


14. What's one thing that you haven't done that you would still really like to do?

It's hard to describe. There is a project that I have inside of me that I haven't figured out. I'll let you know.

15. How do you know when a piece of design is complete?

It's due.

16. In your subjective view, what makes a piece of design good?

It's good when it can be experienced both as tragic and comic and heroic and fallen.

17. What makes you laugh out loud?

My friend Milena.

18. What is your favourite book?

There are too many.

19. To which faults do you feel the most indulgent?


20. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?

Mmm, I'm not sure I've seen it but I believe in it.

For more of Mackler's work, see her presentation at Design Indaba Conference. 

Watch the Talk with Lauren Mackler