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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

You may not have heard much about Eric Bailey, but there's a pretty good chance that you've encountered his work out in the world. As the VP of experience design at Zillow, he brings over 20 years of strategic thinking, imagining, and making to revolutionize the process of buying or selling your home.

Our conversation began with Eric discussing how he builds culture and maintains joy on his team, and he spoke broadly about what he calls "the limitless possibilities of UX design." He also talked about growing up in Ohio, being around for the early days of the Organization of Black Designers and Project Osmosis (which he co-founded), building his brand Properganda, and he gave the secret for how he's maintained his authenticity throughout this career. According to Eric, anyone can look within and fulfill their potential through design -- and he's absolutely right!

If you’ve been keeping up with the advertising world over the past couple of years, then this week’s guest hardly needs an introduction. Meet chief diversity creative Keni Thacker, founder and chief creative officer of 100 Roses from Concrete. Keni uses his decades of experience in the industry to challenge norms while also advocating for diversity and inclusion for the current and next generation of creatives.

Keni and I spoke about 100 Roses from Concrete, including how the agency began and its current group of fellows that have come through the G.R.O.W.T.H. Initiative. Keni also talked about growing up in the DMV area, and how his family and environment help shaped him into the force for change that he is today.

Catch Keni next during Adobe MAX, October 26-28!

Summer is over, y’all. As we head into a new season, it’s a perfect time to pause and reflect, gain some clarity, and reassure yourself about your purpose. That’s exactly what this week’s guest Janessa Robinson is all about, particularly now that she’s at the beginning of a new adventure — moving to Los Angeles!

Our conversation began with Janessa talking about the recent move, and she spoke a bit about her day job as a content creator. We also dived into the backstory behind her company Artistry Land, and Janessa discussed how she works as a creative with Asperger’s, and how she cleverly uses design thinking as a way to manifest success in her life. Big thanks to Steven Wakabayashi of QTBIPOC Design for the introduction!

We’re going international this week to talk with a super talented visual designer — Elsa Amri. I first learned about Elsa via an Adobe Live presentation, and I had to reach out and learn more about her and have her share her story and her message with Revision Path!

Elsa talked about how she’s grown over the past year, including doing work with Adobe, and she spoke about growing up in Tanzania and studying abroad in the United Kingdom and discovering design. We also talked about her time teaching English in Japan, returning to Tanzania, the Tanzanian design scene in Dar es Salaam, and the power of networking over the Internet (and how it has helped boost her design career). I love how Elsa’s ingenuity, drive, and determination have contributed to her design success!

Our back to school theme continues this week with a conversation with Dr. Christina N. Harrington. I first met Dr. Harrington as a contributor to the first volume of RECOGNIZE, and now she’s an assistant professor in the HCI Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and the director of their Equity and Health Innovations Design Research Lab! Impressive!

After a brief pandemic check-in, Dr. Harrington talked about some of the design research work she’s doing at Carnegie Mellon, and spoke about how her past teaching experiences helped prepare her for this opportunity. We also talked about how she got into design via engineering, the utility of design Ph.Ds, and some of her latest obsessions. I’m glad we have educators like Dr. Harrington who can expand the concepts of design for the next generation!

September means it’s time for back to school, so what better way to kick off the month here on Revision Path than by talking with a design student? Meet Zariah Cameron, a soon-to-be graduate of North Carolina A&T and an up-and-coming voice in the design industry.

We talked about going through her senior year and working as an intern during this pandemic, and we also spoke about the AEI Design Program, an initiative she started to foster and establish relationships with partner companies to create a pipeline for Black college students. Zariah also shared some of her future goals, current obsessions, and what she’s learned from her internships throughout college. Keep an eye out for this young designer — she’s definitely going places!

Striking out on your own can be tough, but I can tell you from personal experience that it can be one of the most rewarding things you do in life. And what better person to talk about this feeling than design strategist Lisa Cain. Lisa has worked in the visual design field for well over 20 years, so she knows a LOT about what it takes to get things done.

We started off talking about how she started her studio, and Lisa gave a peek in to her creative process on some of her projects. Lisa also spoke about her early career in visual merchandising, how that has helped her as a designer, and how her family has helped motivate her drive to succeed. (Also, did you know she was a backup singer?) It’s awesome to have designers like Lisa to show us how to thrive as a creative on your own terms!

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of video games, so when I learned about Derrick Fields and Waking Oni Games from the Wholesome Direct Indie Game Showcase back in June, I had to have him on the show.

We talked about how 2021 has been going so far — a new gig and a new baby! — and he spoke on why he created his own gaming studio and gave some history behind the studio’s first title: Onsen Master. Derrick also shared his inspiration behind getting into game programming, the indie gaming scene for underrepresented designers, and he gave some great advice for anyone looking to start making their own titles. If there’s a video game out there that you would love to see, hopefully Derrick’s story will inspire you to create it!

Whether you like it or not, writing is an integral part of the design process these days, and no one knows this better than this week’s guest, Reese Fuller. As a senior writer for digital agency Work & Co, Reese works with visual designers and strategists to help “make the words sound good.”

Our conversation started off with Reese detailing how he works as a writer in a design agency, talked about his switch from STEM to writing, and cleared up some misconceptions designers may have about including writing in the design process. Reese also spoke about growing up in the DMV area, the difference for him between working in agencies vs. in-house at companies, and gives some great advice and resources for any designers looking to strengthen their writing. Don’t sleep on the written word — with examples like Reese, it’s clear that there’s more than one way to be in the design industry!

Sometimes you cross paths with people, and you never know if or how you will reconnect in the future. I have wanted to have a sound designer on the podcast for years, and through a series of conversations, now I have one — one that I’ve worked with in the past!

Meet Cedric Wilson, lead producer at Lantigua Williams & Co. We talk about some of Cedric’s most well-known audio projects, and he shared how he got into music theory in high school, which evolved into studying sound design and becoming a producer. Cedric also gives some basics on sound design, and shares why it’s such an important part of the world now. There are a lot of avenues for getting into sound design, and I’m glad Cedric is here to help introduce some of them to the Revision Path audience!

“A better world is possible if we approach our work with a class- AND race-aware lens.” Michael Collett was dropping gems like this, and we hadn’t even started recording! I have followed Michael’s work since 2016, and I’m glad we finally finally got a chance to talk on Revision Path about his career and his overall philosophy to life.

We talked about his involvement with Greenworks and Design To Divest, and Michael shared some of his origin story growing up between The Middle East and the United States. He also spoke about class awareness and politics among the Black creative class, working in San Francisco, and the one piece of advice that has stuck with him over the years. We need deep thinkers like Michael in the Black design community to keep us all honest and accountable!

If you've had any sort of interaction with government services on the Web, particularly at the national level, there's a pretty good chance your experience in some form was designed or conceived by this week's guest -- the one and only Ron Bronson.

Longtime fans will remember Ron's first appearance on the podcast seven years ago, and our conversation starts off with a quick recap of what lessons he's learned over the past year. From here, we talk about his career shift from education to civic tech, the emergence of consequence design, and even a Finnish sport akin to baseball known as pesäpallo. Ron's story is a testament to the power of reinvention, and hopefully it convinces you that whatever it is you're imagining, it's possible!