A transient mixed lubrication model is used to study the performance of a journal bearing subjected to impulse loading, considering mass conservation and the effects of asperities on flow and contact, to explore a novel journal bearing surface design methodology. The bearing surface features include an outlet pocket and axial lip for topographical design consideration. A data-driven approach for a steadily loaded bearing was first presented to illustrate the behavior of an indented pocket design at low and high loads, and Pareto optimization and sensitivity analysis methods were employed to analyze the data and provide insight to the design. The results show that the pocket location was the most influential parameter for the optimal bearing surface design for energy-efficient lubrication performance. For transient operation, a comprehensive parametric study was conducted, and the results reveal that, when compared to the results of the unmodified bearing, the bearing designed with the optimal outlet pocket can run at 9% lower mean friction while maintaining the baseline film thickness. The bearing with the lip feature shows a 20% minimum film thickness increase and 3% mean friction reduction. The design with outlet pocket and lip features combined can lead to 20% film thickness increase and 10% mean friction reduction.