August 17, 2017

Blogger’s Quest(ionnaire): Lisa Charlotte Rost Creates and Talks the Value and Beauty of Data Visualization


Lisa Charlotte Rost is a Data Visualization Designer. The elegant quality of her infographics, amplified by her writing about current affairs through the lens of visualizing data, piqued my interest. Here, she elaborates on the making of her blog Views about the world and data visualization. She can be found on Twitter: @lisacrost

Why did you create a web site of regular entries?

A. Curiosity. I want to think about things. Questions like: Why is that? Should it be like this? What happens when? Also, I want to think about many different things and don’t know how they’re all connected yet. That's why I'm writing blog posts and not a book.

B. Clearer thoughts. Writing helps me to structure my own ideas and to think through arguments. Does my super genius opinion about how stuff should work actually make sense? Every time I need to translate my blurry thoughts into concrete words, they get their first reality test.

C. Feedback. Almost every time I push something in the world, I get something back. People build on my ideas, coming from their own perspectives. Or they argue against my ideas out of reasons I haven't thought about. Both is beautiful and makes me grateful: It makes me humble to look at comments to my articles. Writing my blog definitely made me held my beliefs less tightly and keeps reminding me of the complexity of this world.

D. Giving back and pushing forward. The world gives me a lot of ideas, so I want to return the favor. I do believe in pushing a field (data vis/data journalism in my case) forward together; in figuring things out together; in constructive arguments and collaborations. It's beautiful to see that happening over many years and across many countries; seeing people come and go and get excited and change the mindset of people in the field, baby step by baby step, with every blog post they write and every talk they give. I want to be one of these people.



What web-based solution did you select and why?

Back in the days, I’ve used Tumblr and I enjoyed its convenience. But now I use Jekyll, because convenience is overrated…or at least not as important for me as the following three reasons:
  1. It’s simple. It doesn't have tons of features I don't need.
  2. I’m in full control of all the files that build the site, and can actually understand what’s going on.
  3. Jekyll forces me to write in Markdown and to use GitHub, and I wanted to get to know both technologies better. 
What is your definition of a good blog
and what are three good blogs that you frequently visit?

A good blog inspires me on a periodical basis. I don’t think that I can give a more detailed definition, since what happens within the limits of this term can be quite different:

Tim Urban’s Wait buy why is definitely at the top of the list. This blog educates me deeply about things, it builds arguments beautifully, makes me change my mind and supports the concepts it explains visually. And boy, I loooove visual concept explanations.

Nathan Yau’s FlowingData and Andy Kirk’s Visualising Data need to be named as blogs that keep me and thousands of other data vis enthusiasts informed about what’s happening in the scene. I especially enjoy the posts that offer an opinion about the quality of a data vis work, instead of just stating that it exists.

Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, because it opens my eyes for the situation outside of my privileged filter bubble and lets me understand how people got to where they are right now.

How do you create content for your blog?

The pipeline from “quick idea” to “tweet-able blog post” is long and wonderful and distressing. The perfect path would look like that:



1. Ideas. Often, ideas come out of conversations that I keep thinking about, out of an own pain point or out of a question.

2. Research. Once I’m curious about things, I do research about it. The time for that ranges from a minute to a week of googling, reading books and scientific papers. Indeed, I discovered my love for reading papers! Once you want to answer a very specific question, searching for the most precise answer is tons of fun. Like my little brother, I just keep asking "But why? How?" until my curiosity is satisfied.

3. Structuring the post. When I’m happy with the information I gathered, I try to communicate it in the best possible structure. I use a tool called Workflowy for that. It lets me move around my thoughts until I find a flow that doesn’t make me want to cry anymore. To understand causes and effect better, I often visualise them with pen and paper in the process.

4. Writing. Once I have the structure and decided what I want to communicate, the task of actually writing the post becomes far less daunting. I write in markdown, using an editor like iA Writer, Sublime or Atom.

5. Add images to the post. I’m a visual thinker, and images will result out of the process of writing a post anyway. Often, I include these illustrations into my articles after refining them with Adobe Illustrator and a drawing tablet.

6. Publishing. After writing the article, I publish it to my blog. I read it again there, find tons of mistakes, fix it, republish it, formulate a tweet, proofread it, take a deep breath, send the tweet, read the article again, find more mistakes, fix it, republish it an x-th time, and then distract myself from looking at my Twitter notifications with food or so.



How do you stay organized
and motivated to contribute to your blog?

One answer is: I don’t. I aim for one article a month, but if that doesn’t happen, then that’s ok with me.

Another answer is: I give talks at conferences! I like to submit talk proposals about things I’m curious—but have no idea about. Then I have a deadline to do the research. Posting a transcript of my talk is the easy part at the end.

For those aspiring to make a web site composed of 
regular thoughts and/or images, what is your advice?

Get a second blog.

“Whaaat,” I hear you gasping, “I can’t even fill one.”

I hear your gasps. But think about it: Why is it that you can’t fill your blog? Maybe because you think your thoughts are not worth to be published. Or maybe because you posted that one crazy good article two months ago and you can’t think of anything better. So get a second blog. A trash-blog. For the bad articles. Just start writing them. Several of my articles were born on my secret trash-blog. Works really well for me.

What is your quest in blogging?

To teach and to learn.

• • •

Photograph and illustrations courtesy of Lisa Charlotte Rost.

• • •

Read more of the Design Feast series Blogger’s Quest(ionnaire).


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August 14, 2017

Cusp Conference Celebrates 10 Years


Whatever the scale, holding a yearly assembly, from a class to a summit, is an intense effort. The people behind its planning, organization, marketing and everything else are to be commended. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the annual Cusp Conference, hosted in Chicago by strategic design firm Multiple. I described my first attending Cusp as “an annual gathering of creative types with a penchant for the eclectic.” Each subsequent conference has wonderfully reinforced this strong first impression. Cusp is a multicultural and multidisciplinary confection—intellectual taste buds activated.

At my first Cusp experience, I encountered presentations by a pair of digital storytellers, a sword swallower, an arctic astrophysicist, an architect of space (that of low-Earth orbit) and a medical doctor behaving as a human-centered designer. This is a smidgen of the day-and-a-half strategically plotted with presentations, which cycles through the Venn of humanities, sciences and advocacy, all centered on current circumstances, collectively speaking.

Constituting a professional blend—from artists and designers, to business consultants and nonprofit leaders, to students and educators, the strong variation in presenters are reflected by the attendees. The latter go to experience the former, a line-up curated to be diverse in composition and effect. The benefit is twofold: the emotional sensation of receiving a holistic boost to one’s awareness and worldview, coinciding with the practical drive to nurture one’s creativity and sharpen one’s critical thinking over time.

For the past four years, I’ve had the privilege to offer Design Feast coverage on Multiple’s Cusp Conference. A continuity through my write-ups, from 2013 to 2014 to 2015 to last year, is the applied wonder by humans to discover a condition, existing or emerging, learn about it, study it and be inspired to face it, even engage it, for the sake of informing a curiosity and perhaps to realize change—for the better.

Wholehearted congratulations to the team at Multiple for 10 years of galvanizing Cusp gatherings. Here’s to the next decade of perspectives—delivered from the Cusp-charged platform.

• • •

Read more of my coverage of events related to creativity and design.


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August 9, 2017

Pride, Work and Necessity of Side Projects: For Illustrator and Designer Anna Raff, “Things Are Looking Grimm”



What are you working on—on the side?

My most recent side project is a series of illustrations based on the fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, called “Things Are Looking Grimm.”

I work in children’s publishing, and have a number of books in different genres under my belt. Earlier this summer, I found myself with time to spare in between projects: one book was in a state of first sketches; another was in the final art stage, awaiting approval; and I was writing/sketching a picture book dummy that I’d been bouncing back and forth with my agent. I felt the need for a new illustration project where I could create my own content. I teach narrative illustration at the School of Visual Arts, and what I assign my students is basically what I assigned myself: a series of images from a narrative of my choice, in this case, “Grimms’ Fairy Tales.”

How do you manage to work
on your side project(s)?

I do a lot of the reading and sketching for each piece in the evenings and weekends. If I have a gap in my schedule during the week, I fit in as much painting and imaging as I can. Some weeks, I can finish two images—in others, I may only have time for brainstorming and sketches. I try not to impose too much pressure on myself, but I did set an end goal of a self-promotional piece that I’ll send out in late summer/early fall.

Why have a side project?

Aside from giving a much-needed creative diversion, having a side project has worked well for me in the past. When I started out as a freelance illustrator ten years ago, I was right out of graduate school, and my only work experience was in graphic design. Art directors didn’t know me as an illustrator—if they knew me at all—so I decided to create a side project that would serve multiple purposes: I’d keep exercising my illustration chops as I had in school; I’d build up a portfolio of images; and ultimately build a client base. That first side project was a daily bird illustration blog called “Ornithoblogical.”

For the first year of the blog, I posted a bird illustration everyday. What began as warm-up drawings and doodles evolved into an examination of the richness of bird imagery in the English language using visual puns. The whole thing ended up showcasing my sensibility and humor well, and led to my first picture book assignment.

Earlier this year, as I began hankering for another side project, I remembered how well the bird blog had worked in getting my art and thinking energized. It allows for experimentation with new techniques, media, etc., that I can to apply to my commissioned work. I always tell my students to never underestimate the power of a good side project.

If you’d like to follow my progress with “Things Are Looking Grimm,” I’m sharing sketches, process photos, and finished art on Instagram with the hashtag #ThingsAreLookingGrimm. Meanwhile, I’m also gradually adding the finished illustrations to my portfolio site.

• • •

Diptych courtesy of Anna Raff.

• • •

Read more about the joy of side projects.


This series, devoted to side projects, is delivered in association with Chicago creative agency 50,000feet—dedicated to helping brands and businesses soar.


Please consider supporting Design Feast
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August 1, 2017

Typography and Technology in Play throughout Designer Carolyn Porter’s debut book “Marcel’s Letters: A Font and The Search for One Man’s Fate”


Graphic designer Carolyn Porter’s debut book Marcel’s Letters: A Font and The Search for One Man’s Fate epitomizes a “page-turner.” Her search for inspiration to design a distinctive typeface led to discovering a batch of endearing correspondence in a Minnesotan antique store. They were written by a man, Marcel Heuzé, during the Second World War. Using his lettering for inspiration, Porter’s curiosity was agitated to learn more about Marcel, his life upended by chaotic events—ultimately leading to the question incited by reading the tender letters (of which she had a portion) sent to his wife and children: Did Marcel survive to arrive home?

As she scrutinized and navigated Marcel’s life, his handwritten messages to his loved ones—during the violent chaos of World War II—became a portal into another period and place. The poet William Blake gave the romantic cue to “find a world in a grain of sand.” Marcel’s letters, both their handwriting and prose—inseparable, constituted Porter’s grain of sand, steeped in human will—exacerbated by the brutality of the times.

With its narrative showcasing the integral role of typography, Marcel’s Letters was published at an ideal time when typography, particularly typeface design, has more visibly joined mainstream conversation. No longer the domain of design geeks, typography is more widely viewed and discussed as a tool to help realize accessibility, branding, legibility and identity.

The alignment of technology and typography also makes the book a relevant and compelling story for the modern era. Font-authoring software played a vital role in Porter’s storytelling. To borrow a typographic term, the font software is a character, whose behavior challenges not only Porter’s patience, but more aptly, her mission of piecing together the extraordinary tapestry of Marcel’s life.

In giving Porter a means to focus on the letterforms of Marcel’s handwriting, honing in on their nuances and subtleties, the software helped spark and steer Porter’s search for the meaning and context of Marcel’s voice in his mailed messages, as she states: “My Marcel.” Technology as both a panoramic and magnifying lens on visual matter turned subject matter. This is another prime demonstration of the marriage between the aesthetic and the artificial, championed by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs who put it this way: “Technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.”

As a designer, I’m interested in learning how design—specifically graphic design—is a thematic and rhetorical element in Porter’s book. There’s the visible anchor of typeface design in the author’s inspiration found with Marcel’s cursive of letters, mailed to his loved ones, that segues into a wholehearted and tireless attempt to extend them into a digital font. Then there’s (and the SEGD would dig this) the role of environmental graphic design when Porter exhibited her collection of Marcel’s correspondence for friends and colleagues, especially those who contributed to the author’s research, to engage an intimate reading of them—line by line, date by date, moment to moment. Overarching is the permeation of social design, where Porter’s translation of Marcel’s letters and their use as specimens in her typeface design and production, serves to bridge the past with the present by discovering (and rediscovering) human relationships, mining Marcel’s genealogy, pushing the fact that family is really everything. Togetherness is a by-product that design helps to experience and helps endure—only time will tell.

“Empathy” is declared a lot in designerly circles, especially by the Sapient/Razorfishes and IDEOs of the professional design world. Meticulous research was done by Porter, from Marcel’s circumstances at forced labor camps to martial occupation during World War II. The in-depth research led to endearing interactions (the book’s “Acknowledgments” is made more sweet by reading Porter’s story) across age, profession, media and the Atlantic. In our contemporary society, when the selfie is the relentless phenomenon, Porter’s story is a benchmark of pure unselfish empathy—achieved by a designer.

Regardless of your disciplinary tribe, I recommend reading Marcel’s Letters to learn more about designer-driven empathy in action. All design educators, whatever academic department, should add this book to their reading recommendations, even make it required, to provide a well-covered insider account of design as object-making adjacent to design as giving a damn.

Enthusiasts of typography and hand-lettering should read this book to further cherish the inventions of ink and paper to communicate thoughts and feelings.

Everyone should read Marcel’s Letters as another timely reminder to reflect on your roots, remember them and never take for granted what stability affords, like this time-honored tradition that Marcel never gave up on reclaiming: No place like home.


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July 30, 2017

Pride, Work and Necessity of Side Projects: Illustrator Lori Richmond Runs and Draws



What are you working on—on the side?

My side project combines my love of running and art-making. It is called #viewfrommyrun, and it’s a timed drawing series on Instagram. I draw something I see on my run, in the same amount of time as my run.

I’m a freelance designer, and I also write and illustrate children’s picture books. After a very intense half-year of delivering art on three separate books, my brain needed a creative reset. One night, during a training run for the Brooklyn Half Marathon, I was struck by a gorgeous sunset I saw from the Manhattan Bridge. With the intention of painting it for fun, I snapped a quick photo on my phone and kept running. As I checked my pace on my Apple Watch, I had a lightning strike moment: why not try to paint the sunset in the same amount of time as my run? And thus, my project was born! This has become a visual journal of my training. Completing each drawing in the same amount of time as the run connects them as one experience for me.

How do you manage to work
on your side project(s)?

Timing the drawings makes it more manageable for me. I set a timer for the same amount of time as my run. When the timer goes off, I stop drawing. As a working mom of two, time management is everything, and I know I can only commit to something that I can (somewhat) easily jam in to my already hectic schedule. The timer has really helped!

Why have a side project?

I’m notoriously bad at keeping a side project—#viewfrommmyrun is the first one I have committed to and kept up with. So far, it has led to some amazing opportunities, like getting a feature in Runner’s World! You just never know who is going to find your work, so having a side project allows you to open yourself up to entirely new audiences.

• • •

Diptych courtesy of Lori Richmond.

• • •

Read more about the joy of side projects.


This series, devoted to side projects, is delivered in association with Chicago creative agency 50,000feet—dedicated to helping brands and businesses soar.


Please consider supporting Design Feast
If you liked this lovingly-made interview, show your appreciation by helping to support my labor of love—Design Feast, which proudly includes this blog. Learn more.

July 16, 2017

Fascinated with Letterforms: Freelance Designer and Calligrapher Bella Schilling


Her hand-lettering, dabbling in typeface design, with a fandom of Ru Paul, piqued my interest in Bella Schilling and her letterform-driven work. Here, she shares her attitude and practice of every day being national writing day.

How did you arrive at what you do as a calligrapher and designer? Was there an initial encounter of lettering/design/typography that played a role in your path toward becoming a typeface designer? 

I studied Visual Communication at AUB [Arts University Bournemouth] which was a mix of graphic design and illustration. Back then, my work was heavily illustrative, but it wasn’t until my final year where I got accidentally obsessed with calligraphy. My classmate and fellow type nerd, George, had a copy of “Calligraphy in the Copperplate Style” by Herb Kaufman and Geri Homelsky, and he let me borrow it, which was a bit of a mistake on his part, since I never really intended on returning it. I spent all my time after class, and time during class, going through reams of graph paper, practicing Copperplate and Blackletter. Calligraphy and lettering became an escape for me, but I didn’t think it would lead anywhere. However, at the end of year show at the D&AD [Design and Art Direction] awards, I met my tutor’s best friend, Tom Foley, Type Developer at Dalton Maag, who looked through my lettering sketchbooks and advised me to move to London and apply for a Type Development internship at Dalton Maag. So I did.

What were essential activities/steps you took to start 
and establish yourself as a calligrapher and designer?

Just making sure I kept practicing all the time and honing my skill set. I ensured that I remained focused on my goal, and continued to push myself even when I didn’t feel like it sometimes. For the first few years living in London, I had to balance working a full-time day job with freelancing, as well as working on my typeface and other personal projects. I reached out to Victoria Rushton for some advice on getting my foot through the door, and she introduced me to the wonderful Alphabettes network, for which I am ever-grateful.



How do you keep up with your lettering discipline? 
Do you have a lettering regiment? 

I wouldn’t say that I have a regiment per se, but I did take part in 36 Days of Type for the first time this year which was so much fun! I didn’t plan how I wanted to do it—I just wanted to see what I would come up with on a day-to-day basis. Towards the end, from the letters to the numbers, you can see that I figured out a distinctive style. But it was so exciting to develop new type design ideas I had wanted to experiment with, and 36 Days was a good excuse for that.





Do you also practice writing and mailing personal correspondence? Easy to make this assumption. Feeling you make more handwritten messages than emails. If not, surely derive pleasure from pen and ink than keyboard and pixels.

Yes I absolutely do! Where clients and projects are concerned, everything is discussed via email, of course. But my best friends and I write to each other on a regular basis. They are both teachers (Alice in London and Anna in Paris), and they share my love for stationery and handwriting. I’ve found that it’s a very cathartic activity, but it’s also so much fun picking out various papers and inks, and adorning them with decorative stamps, tapes and so on. Highly recommend!

How is typography, from drawing letters to designing typefaces, 
a coping mechanism in these turbulent times? 

Typography has always been a problem-solver, and it’s there to serve a purpose—from being able to navigate your way around the airport, sending a text…the list is endless. But it’s also a great tool for expression of thought and protest. One example that comes to mind is the signage that was used for the Women’s March—several ’Bettes used their fierce lettering skills to make some great signage. Another example is Resistenza’s (Giuseppe Salerno and Paco González) “Love Wins” font, which is a collection of hand-lettered phrases designed to celebrate diversity and spread the love. It’s free to download, and you can use it to create signs and banners for the Pride celebration (or any other day of the year).





How did you arrive at the idea of making your Dita Display 
(ace name) typeface? What was the process in getting it real?
Is it available to buy? 

I created Dita Display during an extended internship at Dalton Maag. I had no experience in type design whatsoever when I started, and I began by sketching these Bodoni/Didone-inspired letterforms. I made a display face without even realising it, since it’s super high-contrast and has asymmetrical serifs. Working closely with Ron Carpenter, I then went on to develop text, italic and bold weights. A couple of years later when I began learning Russian, I designed a Cyrillic weight too, with Krista’s (my mentor’s) expertise. Dita isn’t available to buy, because it was such a steep learning curve, and, knowing what I know, there are a lot of design decisions I wouldn’t make now. But I do have another typeface I’m slowly working on that is very different to Dita, and I’m excited about it! (Fun fact: I called my typeface after Dita Von Teese, in case you didn’t guess already. I’ve admired her since I was about 14 years old).



How did you get to work on writing invites and envelopes 
for Hermès Paris? 

As of about two months ago, I am now a contracted freelance designer and calligrapher for Lamplighter London (founded by Chiara Perano) which is a lovely boutique design and calligraphy studio. Chiara has a mad VIP client list (such as Mulberry and Nike), and a couple of weeks ago she asked me if I wanted to write the invitations and envelopes for Hermès’ Autumn/Winter Womens’ Wear Collection. I would have been a fool to have said no! It was an intense two days—I was super nervous not to make too many mistakes, and my calligraphy had to be meticulous (letterforms as on point as possible, all writing had to be completely central, with an equal amount of spacing between lines and words), and everything had to be completed by the end of the next day. I think they came out pretty well, though, and Chiara and the client were pleased, so that’s all I could have hoped for.



What is your workspace like? How does it contribute to doing
the quality of work you want to do? 

At home, I have a small desk next to the window in the living room. It’s a little cosy but I manage to work efficiently. I am a bit of a neat freak and it certainly helps my workflow to be organised. At the Lamplighter studio, there’s lots of great working space—it’s really light and I have access to lots of other materials, and Chiara’s advice/critique of course.

What is your vision of satisfaction, as it relates 
to your chosen career?

My vision of satisfaction is to have enough good, exciting work to keep me going, both financially and creatively speaking. I’d love to work on more high-profile clients, take part in more collaborations, and continue to learn new skills and meet new people. I’d love to have my own studio one day, or a creative partnership. All that being said, it’s really important for me to take time out and go travelling. I love London, but it is very exhausting at times, and I feel as though I need to take time out and re-charge when I can afford to do so.

Who and/or what keep(s) you going? 

My amazing partner, who is so encouraging and continues to push me to be better, as do my wonderful friends. I’m also very lucky to come from a family of artists, so creativity has always been a huge deal. Being part of the Alphabettes community is invaluable—I have my mentor, Krista Radoeva, as well as a huge network of other brilliant and supportive women, who are always willing and able to provide technical and emotional advice. And I also have this huge driving force within me, that I often forget is there, because it’s wrapped around anxiety and self-doubt, because I can’t and won’t do anything else.

How does the South London contribute to your work? And what 
makes it special for startups/business/creative community?

I think it’s funny that London gets compartmentalised—despite being the same city, people identify with being East, South or West etc, whereas I think the whole of London is special when it comes to being a creative—it’s full of amazing, supportive people. When it comes to South specifically, I think there’s a tight community of people who are all trying to do similar things creatively. Often they understand that you have the same worries and stresses that you do, so they help you however they can.



Being a fan of RuPaul, do you have a favorite animated GIF? 

Haha! Hmm, that’s a tough one. It’s hard to pick a favourite. I think maybe this one where Ru is in hysterics whilst being roasted by Coco Montrese. I think it epitomises who Ru is; she never takes herself too seriously and…if you can’t laugh at yourself, how in the hell you gonna laugh at somebody else, right?!

• • •

Majority of images courtesy of Bella Schilling.

• • •

Read more from Design Feast Series of Interviews
with people who love making things.

• • •

Explore too my Designer’s Quest(ionnaire) series interviews with Type and Graphic Designer Krista Radoeva and Type Designer Victoria Rushton, plus Side Projects series interview with Amy Papaelias, who co-founded Alphabettes.org, a network and blog championing the work of women in type design, typography and lettering.


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If you liked this lovingly-made interview in this sustained series celebrating Makers, show your appreciation by supporting my labor of love—Design Feast, which proudly includes this blog. Learn how you can help.

July 14, 2017

Pride, Work and Necessity of Side Projects: Plant Nerd Kaitlyn Rich’s Botany & Herbalism



What are you working on—on the side?

I document and write about my personal herbalism practice, making my own clothes, and everything in between on my blog Nettles + Chickweed.

I’ve always been interested in plants. One of my earliest memories is picking rhubarb with my preschool class. There was a family who lived next door to my school and had a beautiful garden and kept chickens. I remember the neighbor explaining the leaves were poisonous and the vibrant pink stem was edible. While I’ve worked and volunteered with various urban garden and farm programs, as well as played around with making my own herbal remedies, it wasn’t until several years ago that I started more formally learning about plants, botany and herbal medicine with The Arctos School in Portland, Oregon. Through blogging, I am able to give myself time to reflect and process what I’m learning.

In other side projects, I also run a very small candle-making business called Lumi. You can find my candles online or in person at Lowell. This summer, I’m looking forward to putting together some new products. I love taking tealight candles with me on my travels. They help me to clear the space energetically and feel settled in a new place. I also harvested one of my favorite herbs, mugwort (Artemisia), on a recent hike. I’ll make this into a salve, which I like to apply on pressure points, to encourage relaxation and dreaming, before bed.

How do you manage to work
on your side project(s)?

I work full-time as a user experience designer. My side project time is limited to evenings and weekends. I never feel like I have enough time, and my personal to-do list is always growing faster than I cross things off. But I’m a very task and goal-oriented person, so to-do lists are what I lean on to prioritize my projects and time. If something has been on my list for several weeks, I get tired of seeing it and dedicate time to complete it. Or a project will be on my list for months and this cues me in to re-evaluate if that project is one that I still feel passionate about, or if it’s time to let it go.

I’ve also been focusing on finding balance among my needs to be productive in making and completing things, slowing down by decreasing feelings of urgency, and appreciating where I am at in this moment in time. I think as designers and doers, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to create a perfect and fully formed end product. But, in taking time to re-focus my energy, I remind myself not everything needs to be complete in an instant, but can grow and evolve over time.

Why have a side project?

There’s so much to learn and do—it’d be harder not having side projects! I’m motivated by learning new skills, techniques, crafts and concepts. Side projects are the perfect way to indulge in my ever-changing interests. Also, side projects are great opportunities to learn something new or commit to a goal with a friend. You can keep each other accountable, share what you learn, and it’s a foolproof reason to set aside time for hanging out.

• • •

Diptych courtesy of Kaitlyn Rich.

• • •

Read more about the joy of side projects.


This series, devoted to side projects, is delivered in association with Chicago creative agency 50,000feet—dedicated to helping brands and businesses soar.


Please consider supporting Design Feast
If you liked this lovingly-made interview, show your appreciation by helping to support my labor of love—Design Feast, which proudly includes this blog. Learn more.