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 IDEO.org 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.

Behind the scenes painting process

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 ūüá≠ūüáĻ 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: https://www.gofundme.com/haitimissions17

Just Believe

You only need to believe and have a little bit of grace and mercy upon yourself. This post is for me, and any other person struggling to get over themselves and allowing fear to stop them from using their gifts.

You know how many times I’ve heard that? I’ve let doubt countlessly hold me back. But sometimes, when you have no other option you are forced to make things work.

Figure it out. 

The one and only advice my mom has given me over, and over, and over again – because she didn’t have the answers.

I’ve got a story to tell but I can’t share all the details. I learned that its best to teach from the scar, not the wound. Basically to let the open wound healing. But this current wound is pushing me to face my fears, push doubt aside, and do the work.

I’ve mentioned before that I am going to Haiti for the first time ever on a missions trip. I have to raise a certain amount to get there. My strategy is to use gofundme¬†as the platform to collect the funds. In exchange for the funds, I am creating artwork as a form of thanks.

I want my art to take me places I’ve never dreamed of but I’ve been allowing fear to stop me.

When I try to answer the question, ” What are you afraid of?” I have a series of answers and additional thoughts that come to mind:

Failure – but what is considered failure? People not supporting me, not agreeing with my beliefs, fear of struggling financially – forever…..

These fears exist only in my head. Every time I’ve painted something for someone in the past they’ve loved it. I can be inspired by nature, people, places, animals – my imagination is the limit (and access to materials, my limbs – you get the point).

I thought of the bible verse, “Ye of little faith, why did you doubt?” I doubted because I didn’t believe it would work, despite the money I invested, despite the feedback I received, despite the requests for additional artwork, likes on social media, and on and on the list can go.

I’ve heard it countless times that you need to believe in your product before you can sell it to anyone else. It clicked for me yesterday as I saw typefaces, merchandise, the overall branding in WW Raw – and the responses of people in the crowd. Buying a cup of soda for $9 in a holographic¬†cup – Nah¬†I’ll take a¬†regular size cup because that brand, it’s just not for me – And that is more than ok.

The other thing is to be genuine. Today I did my live video on Facebook and I was s0o scared. I did the video in spite¬†of the fear because the cushion of money I had set aside as a backup is no longer available. This strategy has to work, and I’m willing to put in the work.

The only thing of caution is ensuring I have enough time per drawing that gives above $100. I need to figure that out.

Once I finish this strategy I’ll be making a course and you can sign up to know more about it in the form below.

I’ll be going live again this week on my facebook page, and I’ll be better prepared this time around.

Interested in supporting? Visit my gofundme page here.

Goal Setting, Tasks, Time Blocks (Pt 1)

Today’s lesson was about lead magnets. Basically, something you give away to your subscribers for signing up for your list and it gives them more information to let them know what’s to come. Earlier this week, we touched on goal setting – making time blocks to achieve what it is we are looking to accomplish.

I am certainly someone who has a problem saying no. I like to over compensate and over achieve – and who am I in competition with? No one other than myself.

One of the main points to achieve our goal after making an outline is to work on something that excites you. At the moment, what excites me is moving my blog to a self hosted wordpress account.

So far I’ve done a bit of research – my biggest fear is breaking something. However, there are plenty of online tutorials. And I’ve scheduled Saturday as the day to tinker and move things around.

I’ve already gotten my outline completed, and I need to expand on the content.

I need to design the cover of my lead magnet and thanks to Nathan Barry for sharing some online resources like:

  • envato market place
  • the noun project
  • and psd covers
  • canva

II’ll be using site ground for my hosting – they are a bit more expensive but I’ve heard nothing but great reviews from them.

I’ve shared my outline and will have a few people review it in hopes that they have actual questions for me.

Another really great tip that I got was to schedule out the week I’d like to have – all 24 hours of a each day – for a week. As a visual person it helps to see what I’m doing with my time. It’s also something I did in college.

As of right now, ¬†about 12.5 hours is spent on my commute to and from work. Add 7 hours of sleep and I’m left with 4.5 hours to work out, meet with other people and most of all work on my side project.

If there’s anything I’ve learned, you need to believe in your product before anyone else will.

 

Something Is Happening Here

Something Is Happening Here

It’s getting easier to share my writings and as¬†comments pour in there is a new found motivation happening. So far the topics that seem to resonate the most are fitness/wellness and health, beauty, faith and spirituality, and a few of the life lessons learned.

While this is an assumption, it informs me that the writing needs to be relatable and not always offer a solution-  but perhaps invite someone to share their experience, thoughts and opinions. A common ground really.

But something else is happening as well, showing up to my blog allowed me to talk freely (where I felt comfortable in sharing publicly) about myself, my struggles, fears and dislikes – but as new people come along for the journey I know I don’t wish to sound like I am rambling. It’s forcing me to choose my topics a bit more intentionally.

But my writing were (selfishly) for me. A place to clear my head, improve my writing style, “find my voice” as people like to say and just explore. But more people are peeping in. Curiosity is striking and I see you! ūüôā

One thing I believe is that we have one life and everything is interconnected. From the choices we make, to the people we meet, the seasons of life and everything in between its there with and for purpose.

I want these writing to help me articulate better and help me in finding clarity Рespecially when it comes to designing for people. This thing thats happening has only come through experimenting, showing up consistently, and being authentic.

Perhaps a crowd is forming- and I’m not gonna lie – it’s interesting to take note, to point it out even. Perhaps an audience is forming.

 

In Session

So as I mentioned, my online classes started and I spent a few hours last night jotting down notes, sketches and answering online questions while going through insights to innovation.

Initially its a bit intimidating. There are nearly 400 people taking this online course. Notifications and emails are consistently coming in. I’m tempted to read them all! There are unique challenges throughout and you choose one to focus on throughout the course. One of them reminds me of the openIDEO challenge: developing a product or service with credit unions for¬†60 year olds. There were some really great projects that came about of that.

We started the course by observing visually. We looked at items in people’s bags – without judgement.¬†I believe the without judgement aspect is really difficult because we’ve been conditioned to do so for very long. We fail to look at things objectively and we begin to insinuate, project, plant our ideas to what we see.

For example, with the bags we saw, one person had an old banana peel in their bag – what thoughts come to mind? It looked yellow and brown so it had to be eaten that same day, or no more than a day old. With a judgmental mind you may be disgusted but what if there was nowhere to throw out the banana peel? Or what if they are health conscious and wanted to keep healthy snacks around? What if they were a gardener and wanted to reuse the peel in their mulch?

Now that’s only one item coming form one person. If you were to empty your bag what would be in there? Something that is unique in my bag – an emergency clothing kit. Something tends to go wrong with my clothing – it like never fails to miss me.

I really liked the idea of keeping an ah-ha journal. It entails capturing a photo of what you’ve observed to be different and writing about it. I often journal and write and keep notepads, moleskines and the likes with me. This is a way to put a spin on it.

The¬†challenge I chose involves healthy eating habits for the family. I’m ¬†excited to go out an observe, ask questions, and capture stories people share. So much happens with food around and often times we opt for whats quick, cheap and easy. So much so, that we’ve opted for food that isn’t really food, put on weight at an even younger age, resulting in major health issues in the future. The focus in this challenge is on children and I secretly want to be better in my own health, so I decided its¬†to jump into this one.

Let’s not forget I still have a goal of dropping a few pounds¬†this year. I’m hoping this helps in putting me on track, gain more awareness and education of food and our connection to it. I’m still a weak behind in the course (they give you a pace to follow but there is flexibility in scheduling as well).

Health and nutrition is a major part of our being yet its an area where we lack so much discipline. I’ll keep you updated with the course! In the mean time, whats in your bag? What healthy meals do you enjoy?