Be nice. Or else.
Atlanta, GA Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Revision Path Joined almost 5 years ago via an invitation from Nathan P.
So there’s a bit of history behind this interview with the mononymous Toronto-based designer Nuff. He was one of the first people I reached out to over five years ago when Revision Path began, and while we’ve kept in touch since then, it’s only until now that I’ve been able to get an interview with him. And let me tell you…it was worth the wait.
We touch on a lot of different topics during our interview, including the Toronto design scene, his creative process behind his digital and physical works, staying creative in the face of impostor syndrome, and more. It’s a pretty comprehensive look at someone who has been forging his own path in this industry while staying true to his ideals.
For our 250th episode, I’m so honored to bring you this conversation with creative director, graphic designer, and entrepreneur Julian Alexander. Julian may be most well known for designing the album cover for 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Trying, and his design work on the Miles Davis box set The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions even earned him a GRAMMY for art direction! Even with those huge accolades under his belt, Julian is a really humble guy, and I think that really comes through in the interview.
We talked about how he got his start in design, his time as a design director for Sony Music, and I asked how his career changed for him after winning the GRAMMY. We also discussed the relationship between design and music, some of his current projects through his studio Slang Inc., and gave some really great advice for designers of all levels. Julian is a true champion for design and designers, and I’m so glad to be able to share his story with you all.
Cheers to 250 episodes of Revision Path!
There’s no single way to becoming a designer these days, which I suppose is one of the most interesting things about this industry. Mikell Fine Iles, for example, grew up in San Francisco around art and design, went to Clark-Atlanta University for school, studied more design in Denmark, and worked for agencies Noise and JWT before his current position at Bloomberg as design director. And there’s more!
We started our conversation talking about Mikell’s day-to-day work at Bloomberg, and from there talked about his time in Atlanta as a student and young professional, discussed what HBCUs can do to prepare the next generation of designers, and he talked about his time studying design in Denmark! Mikell’s talent, drive and hustle have really helped propel him to success.
If you have followed me and Revision Path since at least 2015, then you’ll hopefully recognize how powerfully significant this week’s guest is. Cheryl D. Miller holds many titles — visual artist, designer, author, writer, and theologian. Her trailblazing 1985 graduate thesis at Pratt Institute helped fuel the conversation about diversity in design for Black designers and designers of color — a conversation we’re still continuing over 30 years later.
Cheryl and I talk about her multicultural upbringing, her time as a student at MICA and Pratt, and she shared her memories of life as a designer in NYC during the 80s and 90s. We also spoke about the latest chapter of Cheryl’s design career — the acquisition of her personal work archive by Stanford University! Cheryl is living design history, and I’m so glad to be able to share her story here with you all!
Forest Young is the global principal and head of design at Wolff Olins, and let me tell you…he’s a busy, busy guy. Whether he’s serving as a design critic at Yale University (his alma mater) or or overseeing award-winning design projects, Forest brings a high level of observation and specificity to his work.
We start off talking about one of Wolff Olins’ recent award-winning campaigns Dotdot, and that spurred a discussion about the ethics of bleeding edge future design, and even access to meaningful design criticism through education. One thing Forest says is that dream projects are never in the wrappers you expect them to be, and I totally agree with that. If you’re looking for a really deep conversation with someone at the top of their design game, then you’ll enjoy this week’s interview!
One of the brilliant things about design is that there’s no one “right” way to enter the industry. Career paths aren’t linear anymore, and no one demonstrates this more than Sabella Flagg. Her journey has a designer has literally taken her around the world, and now she’s settled in Seattle as an interaction designer for digital agency Artefact.
Sabella and I talked about what interaction design is, and she shared what prompted her move to Seattle after spending time teaching English in China. Sabella is also a fine artist and photographer, and talked about her dreams of having her own gallery exhibition, and her motivations for growing as a designer. Learn more about Sabella in this week’s interview!
Design and journalism might seem like opposite fields, but technology has brought them closer together than ever before (especially over the past few years). How are journalists navigating this new landscape where news is now a designed experience? To gain some insight on this, I spoke with Michael Grant. He’s the creative director for the San Francisco Business Times and is a current John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.
Michael an I talked about his current research work, and he shared what he’s learned from working with HBCUs and his day-to-day work at the San Francisco Business Times. Michael really wants to make an impact in the world of design and journalism, and I think he’s well on his way of making that happen!
Thanks to Regine Gilbert for the introduction!
Like several guests I've had on the show, I knew of Brandon Breaux's work before I even knew who he was! He may be known best as the artist behind the mixtape covers for Chance the Rapper, but Brandon's art spans much further than that. And no matter how far his art takes him, he always represents for Chicago.
Actually, Chicago is where our conversation began! We talked about the local design scene and how he feels being a part of it as his profile has grown, and from there Brandon told me about his creative journey through a few schools before settling into the projects he does now. He also shared some of his artistic influences, and gave some insight on his creative strategy and why mental health awareness is such a huge factor in his work. There's no telling where Brandon's work will take him next, so keep an eye out for him!
If there’s anything I learned from talking with Thomas Dang, it’s that he really puts a lot of effort into not just making sure his work is seen, but that it’s felt as well. That can be a difficult thing for a graphic designer to do, but Thomas’ unique mix of skills gives him a perspective many others don’t have.
Thomas is currently pursuing his MBA while freelancing, so we talked about how what he’s studying factors into his life as a designer. From there, Thomas shared the early days of his career, gave his thoughts on the Cleveland design community, and he talked about his dream project of reaching out and teaching design to his local community. I appreciate Thomas for being so candid and open about his life, and thanks to Alex Binder for the introduction!
There’s been some debate in the community recently about whether UX is considered a design discipline, so we’ve been talking to UX designers in lots of different fields to get a better look at just why UX is so important. And thanks to Alex Binder, that’s how I met Tony Turner, a UX designer in Cleveland, Ohio.
Tony started off with talking about how he first learned about UX, and how he’s used his skills in both the insurance and technology industries. We also delve a bit into the topic of wearables for medical use, and he gives some great advice on how designers can challenge themselves by solving problems in fields outside of just visual design. You might look at UX a bit differently after this episode!
Be nice. Or else.
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