Becoming a better Designer

Around this time last year I started blogging regularly and I wanted it to document my journey from here to there – there being IDEO.

I'm not there yet but a friend of mind posed a really great question. What if the industry still existed but ideo no longer exists? Then what?

This question was posed to ensure I wasn't putting ideo on a pedestal and for me to research and figure out other ways to do the work I'm interested in. It floored me. I had no responses and began to wonder," are there any other companies that do similar work?"

Regardless of the answer, I believe that I first have to become a better designer. I need to be designing for people in need, and to be solving real world problems. They can be small or big- but the best ones are within reach.

Most of design today is based on existing products that are slightly modified, but planned for obsolescence.

I keep debating if it's wise to return to school for a graduate degree or if I can continue in my field to gain additional experience. The field has grown exponentially and it's become competitive in a different playing field. But stands out to me as they focus on designing for people in poverty.

This hits home because my family knows what it means to grow up in poverty and struggling. Ever since I learned the power of design, I've wanted to use it to do good and to service people. It's what drew me deeper into the world of product design- designing products to improve people's lives.

So where does one start to improve themselves as an industrial designer? Especially when access to tools and understanding of engineering is limited- insert me and my scenario. Often you'll hear people say scratch your own itch. But for me, industrial design is all about scratching the itch for other people in need.

Clean Water in 2017

So this missions trip for me was all about experiencing Haiti from a service standpoint. Yet it’s becoming more than that. If there is one thing I hear over and over again, it’s “do not drink the water”.
Often you hear this from country to country – especially when traveling overseas and in poorer countries.
But why is it that in the 21-century clean water isn’t prevalent everywhere?
Since going to school and studying industrial design, accumulating debt because “it’s an investment” and having a belief that I can change the world through design, I figured I can start with figuring out the best way to get clean water.
I really want to design to improve people’s lives. I understand that having a business requires making a profit – even if its just to sustain the business.
So where does one start?
I can see where a missions trip can have good intentions but we have to bring bottles of water with us. What happens to the waste we’ve brought and accumulated? If there was a better way to help filter water locally – so that foreigners could drink, and not get sick – this would eliminate costs for the non-profit as well as waste added to Haiti’s landfill.

Behind the scenes painting process

So as many people know – especially if you are following along my Facebook timeline and maybe even my twitter feed, I’ve been using my art and design to help raise funds for my missions trip in just a few short weeks.

I found out today that my campaign is trending. (Yay) But trending won’t get me to Haiti 🇭🇹 Donations will. As an incentive to encourage people to give more, if one donates $100 or more I’ll create a custom piece for them.

Today I’ll show you behind the scenes of painting number three. I can’t show you the completed painting of number two because well, it’s been shipped out and the recipient hasn’t gotten it just yet. I don’t want any spoilers and I have no clue if she reads my blog.

Where it Starts

After someone donates I follow up with them to see what they’d like me to create.

Each canvas is 18 by 24 inches long. This canvas is being prepped for a hand lettered quote. I use various brands of paint but DickBlick has really good acrylic paints. The colors are vibrant and they dry with a semi-gloss finish.

Painted canvas

Typically I use larger paint brushes to cover large canvas but since this is a painting with such detail and precision I’ll be using these fine brushes I purchased on Amazon. If I want an easy cleanup, I use this wax like sheets for a pallet. I can’t remember the brand and the cover has been torn off. I also have different containers to put my paints and mix in but since the colors on this next piece will be limited I’ll stick the the above paper like a pallet.

I’ll sketch out ideations for the hand lettering piece and work on the composition for the best way the quote can be read with impact.

(No previews because the canvas is still wet and I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for my donors).

After finding the right layout and sketch I will use tracing paper and carbon paper to get the image to the canvas. Since this canvas is black I’ll be scanning my sketch into the camera and projecting my image onto the canvas.

I can show you a finished piece that has been delivered – she made a video about it on Facebook.

What can I make for you? Remember to donate here:

What’s Your Super Power?

I came across this question through ConvertKit’s Product Creation Mater Class. Last week we started the ideation and process of creating a digital product – and this was among a few questions that were asked – this stood out to me greatly.

What’s Your Super Power? 

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Designing Your Life : Life View Reflections

The existential questions in the book, Designing Your life are  a bit difficult. These are common questions we’ve asked at some point and maybe our answers change over the years – here are my answers to the questions posed in the book. I answered what I could and well, I guess I’ll need to have a part 2 to answer the other questions that I didn’t answer.

Why are we here?

To Live, to serve- to glorify God, to know Him, to make Him known – to enjoy him and do so through the human experience. To live life as a reflection of Christ- exuding his characteristics especially among those that do not know him. 

What  is the meaning or purpose of life?

Our sole purpose in life is to glorify God. This comes from a Christian worldview. #notinterestedinarguingwithnonbelievers 

What is the relationship between the individuals and others?

 We are social creatures. We need one another to survive. Here is an article that I looked over briefly and saw some intriguing points that I would have to agree with.

Where do family, country and the rest of the world fit in?

 The country is where I reside. It is my duty to abide by the rules are set in place. However where ever.   

What is good and what is evil?

 What is good? I think of the biblical verse 1 Timothy 4:4 New International Version

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, or Genesis 1:31 New King James Version Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Is there a higher power, God or something transcendent and if so what impact does this have on your life?

 I believe in Jesus Christ as my personal savior. This impacts my life and my very being as everything I do ought to honor Him. The service I provide through work, the way I treat others, the way I speak, carry myself – the way I represent myself ought to be different. I know that I am far from perfect, that I will always strive to do better and through my service other people can be curious and want to know why I live my life the way I do. 

What is the role of joy, sorrow, justice, injustice, love, peace and strife in life?

I’ve experienced joy, sorrow, justice, injustice, love, peace and strife. They come in seasons and through experiences in life. Now their role- they all tend to point back to Christ. No lie though- I had to Google this – the purpose of suffering as a Christian- I came across these resources:  

Chronic suffering

Five truths about suffering
Verses on Joy
As I dig deeper, while this world is broken, pain and sorrow helps us connect and relate to one another especially when experiences are shared. We learn how to counsel one another through grief and strife; we come to a consensus about what is just and fair or what is considered injustice. 

We get a glimpse of love and learn that it is without restrictions – that it is given freely inspire of, despite any situation. 

In our moments of peace we are able to appreciate all as is in its very moment and stillness or among friends and family.