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Revision Path on Smash Notes

Revision Path podcast.

December 28, 2019

Revision Path is an award-winning design podcast that showcases the world's Black designers, developers, and digital creatives. On each episode, host Maurice Cherry explores the stories, processes, experiences, insights and inspirations of these awesome creators. Produced by Glitch, Inc.



Episodes with Smash Notes

Design can change your life in unexpected ways, and Kevin Bethune is a testament to that. He is the founder and chief creative officer of dreams • design + life, a think tank that delivers design and innovation services using a human-centered approach. (It sounds lofty, but with over 20 years of experience in mechanical engineering, product creation, strategy, and industrial design, Kevin is a true master of his craft.)

We started off talking about how business has shifted over the past year as he’s transitioned further into the entrepreneurial life, and he shared a bit about his process when diving into new projects. Kevin also talked about his prior stints at Westinghouse and Nike, and how those experiences informed his later work for some of the nation’s top consulting firms. Design has truly helped transform Kevin’s life, and it can do the same for you too!

Steven Christian's motto is "create and conquer", and that's exactly what he's managed to do with his career. While he started out as an athlete, a sports injury cause him to discover visual art, and he has reinvented himself as a multitalented cartoonist, podcaster, animator, and AR mobile developer. Oh, and he's studying to apply to medical school. Talk about Black excellence!

Steven shared with me how he balances all of this, and talked about how the current times helped kickstart his career. We also talked about some of his projects -- including the popular Pokémon Twerk Team -- and he reminisced on growing up in northern California and detailed how his injury helped open his eyes to the worlds of art, design, and tech. Steven also talked about his Skillshare courses, listed some of his inspirations, and spoke about his dream collab and the hope of building more of a community around his work. Steven is a prime example of turning what could be seen as a tragedy into an amazing triumph!

It’s the start of a new year, and I think we could probably all use something to make us feel more resilient and motivated. Well lucky for you, I’ve got just the thing — our conversation with the dynamic and talented Nichelle Pace. As the president and founder of Brand Enchanting Media, Nichelle brings over 20 years of experience to the table to help her clients with a variety of creative services.

After a brief 2020 recap, Nichelle talked about her process for working with clients, and we spoke about why she started the consultancy and how the market has changed as culture changes. She also spoke on growing up in New Jersey, as well as her previous careers in film and video production and advertising. We even talked about her popular blog Stylemom and how Black bloggers from the early 2000s grew into some of the cultural trendsetters we know today. Kick off the year with some great inspiring talk from Nichelle!

I’m closing out this unprecedented year by talking with the one and only Kristy Tillman. Longtime listeners of the show may remember her first appearance back in 2015, but since then, Kristy has become one of the leading design voices in our community. As for what’s next for Kristy? Well, let’s just say that tomorrow looks bright.

Kristy shared how her year has went so far, including departing from Slack, becoming an investor through indie.vc and The Designer Fund, and creating the Made in the Future Fellowship, a program for helping underrepresented emerging design professionals. Kristy also spoke on what success looks like for her now at this stage in her career, talked about making time for joy, and dove into the hard-won lessons she’s learned this year. If there’s one thing to take from Kristy’s journey and her career, it’s the knowledge that there are many opportunities available to grow your design career if you stay patient and chart your course.

Quite a fitting way to end off 2020, right?

2020 has been one hell of a year. What if you could go into 2021 being superhuman? Then you should meet Donald Burlock, Jr.! By day, he serves as the creative technologist lead for the physical experience design team at Capital One. But by night, he’s the author of the brand new book Superhuman by Design: Keys to Unlocking Your Creativity for Life-Changing Results.

We started off talking about his work at Capital One, and from there Donald talked about his time working as an entrepreneur, growing up in the Midwest, and his times studying at Kettering and Georgia Tech. He also spoke on the inspiration behind his book, and shared how he’s helping to build an equitable future through unlocking people’s creativity. If you need a boost, then I hope this interview gets you inspired to take action!

Happy Holidays!

If you’ve seen either the the “Black Girl Magic” video or the Black History Month video this year from Google, then you’re already intimately acquainted with the work of Brandon Viney, group creative lead at Google Brand Studio. He heads up the creative agency inside Google that uses data from the search engine to produce powerful ad spots like these (and many more).

Brandon gave a peek behind the curtain on his creative process when starting new projects, and talked about the Google Brand Studios Fellowship Program and shared what Google looks for when bringing on new talent. He also shared growing up in the Blue Ridge Appalachian mountains of Virginia, attending VCU’s world-renowned Brandcenter, and reflected back on his time working in advertising at Wieden + Kennedy. Brandon is definitely one of the most down-to-earth and humble guests I’ve had on the show in some time, and I hope his story inspires you to push the boundaries of your creativity!

As we slide into the final month of this year, I caught up with the dynamic Malika Reid, art director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners. While her stomping grounds are usually in the Bay Area, Malika was down in Tulum, Mexico for a much-needed respite from the U.S. (I know that’s right.)

Malika talked about her day-to-day work at GS&P, and shared how her background growing up in south Florida among Caribbean family members and community helped shape her creative approach. She also spoke about how she first became interested in advertising, working with nonprofits, and and growing into her own unique voice. According to Malika, anyone can chart their own path, and her life and career are living proof of that!

For our 375th episode, I had the opportunity to sit down with Bennie F. Johnson, the new executive director of AIGA, the professional organization for design. As the first Black executive director in AIGA’s 100+ year history, Bennie is taking on a huge responsibility. When I asked him how he felt like this, he gave me two words: “boldly hopeful!”

Bennie talked about what attracted him to this role, and how he’s managed to grow into it during this tumultuous year. We also discussed a number of other topics, including AIGA and today’s modern designer, diversity and inclusion, as well as some of this year’s recent public exits from members. Bennie is working hard on building (and rebuilding) AIGA, and I’m glad we are having this conversation on Revision Path!

The journey of a creative is never a straightforward path, and Mark Smith knows this well. As the head of design of Studio Mark Smith, he draws on experience from studying design at Auburn University, designing textiles in NYC for urban apparel brands like Avirex, and serving as the head of idea and innovation for Swarovski. Talk about inspiration!

Mark and I talked about his current project — a collection of jewelry — and spoke about his time working in Austria and Denmark. We also discussed his time at Pratt Institute in the 1990s and how that brought him to southern Alabama and the creation of DesignSeed, a project to help leverage local resources to create design-based startups. Mark also spoke about redefining the concept of luxury, the challenges of designing for an international audience, and what success looks like for him now at this stage of his career. From the country to Copenhagen, Mark Smith is a design visionary!

Dana James Mwangi has really helped put Memphis, TN on the map when it comes to design and the creative community. As a web and branding consultant, Dana helps companies and creative entrepreneurs reach the next level of their business through her agency, Cheers Creative. But as you'll hear in our interview, Dana is all about striving for excellence while also knowing your value and taking care of yourself.

We talked about how she started Cheers Creative, and walked me through her process for beginning new projects. She also shared some great tips for entrepreneurs on pricing and business, including how she's kept business booming through the pandemic. Dana also reflected on her early career, spoke on how she built up her confidence as a businesswoman, and spoke on what she wants to do in the next five years. Dana James Mwangi -- remember that name, because you'll definitely hear more about her in the future!

Camille Selvon Abrahams is a trailblazer in the animation industry. Not only did she co-found the first outsourcing animation studio in the Caribbean — Full Circle Animation Studio — but she also heads up animation studies at the University of Trinidad and Tobago and is the founding director of the Animae Caribe Animation Festival! And she’s still making history!

We had a pretty wide ranging conversation, and talked about her creative process, networking with other Black animators in the industry, the power of the African diaspora, and how she uses of storytelling to help with her work as a digital activist. According to Camille, we don’t need to ask permission to tell our stories, and I couldn’t agree more. Learn more about Camille and tap into your inner creative!

2020 has been a year full of difficult changes for a lot of people, but Darold Pinnock has managed to navigate this difficult time pretty well! Aside from his work as a brand designer for Georgia-based agency M&R Marketing, he's also interviewed creatives and artists from all over the world through his podcast Passion Behind The Art.

We talked about the changes and challenges with working in person in the office during COVID-19, and he shared how his love of architecture led him into creating his own studio, as well as how starting his podcast helped him get clients. Darold also discussed how his faith and family help motivate him, spoke about growing up in Jamaica, and gave some great advice on how we can all help build a more equitable future. Take these words of wisdom from Darold and go after your dreams!