Design Milk: How Designers Are Working Through This New Reality

Nick Cope, co-founder of Calico Wallpaper + Cope with Rachel Cope

On navigating the disruption-
These times are certainly unusual, fortunately, due to many of the digital systems we have in place we were able to move to remote work fairly quickly and seamlessly (good wallpaper pun!). Rachel and I are upstate at our house in Hudson because our kids are out of school and this affords them a lot more room to run around. Of course, we are having to share duties spending time with the kids so our combined work output is a little reduced at the moment.

On making business changes-
The business is humming along and we are still designing, sampling, printing, and taking orders without much change at all. Our team has been excellent in handling these sudden changes heroically! We are so grateful that they are working hard to keep the company vision moving forward.

On reimagining their business-
The sudden change has reminded me how fragile we all are in this complex ecosystem. Rachel and I have begun to discuss new goals and milestones for our business and although these are private at the moment, we hope to unveil new initiatives soon.

On what they’re experiencing personally + professionally-
I feel like my life has done a bit of a 180 in the last month! Rachel and I are in a unique situation too because we are both partners in business and life. We are trying to balance these rapid personal and professional changes without friction and I feel like we have been doing a good job. I would say that it is nice to be upstate with a view of the Catskills out my window, however, I am pretty much glued to my computer at the moment and I miss the interactions with the team or even little trips to the cafe for a break.

On staying positive-
Taking walks and spending time with the kids has been the best way to stay positive. Obviously, Tiger King on Netflix has made all the difference too.

On hope for the future-
At the moment, I am just hoping for the other side to become clear. There may be some significant lasting impacts to this crisis and hopefully some of them are positive. For instance, attention to health insurance in the United States must become a priority. The system is totally nonsensical and should have been nationalized a century ago like much of the industrialized world. Also, climate change is another crisis that will be an increasingly disruptive force in our lifetime so maybe this crisis will remind us that it is time to act.