Ti Chang: 3 Things to Consider Before I Design Anything


“Art is like masturbation. It is selfish and introverted and done for you and you alone. Design is like sex. There is someone else involved, their needs are just as important as your own, and if everything goes right, both parties are happy in the end.”

— Colin Wright


For any product — and I’ve worked on a wide range — the process varies depending on the scope of the project and creative freedom given to the designer. In my current genre of products, sex toys, I strongly believe in the ethos that form follows function…and emotion. The last part is one that is what I believe to be the key ingredient to what I do.

So before I design anything (meaning putting pen to paper and conjuring magical forms) this is my process: Read More

Lauren McCarthy on Building an Inclusive Open Source Community for Creators


What I appreciate most about being an artist is the community. While some might imagine the lone artist toiling in their studio, what I have experienced is artists coming together on the internet and in-person, sharing ideas and questions, and finding ways to work together. One way this happens is through the creation, modification, and sharing of tools for artmaking. Read More

Phillip Tiongson on Design, Filipino Tennessean Style



Photo by Winston Struye

My experience being Filipino American Designer right now (and this literally happened to me last night):

New Person: “So, where are you from?”
Me: “I’m from Tennessee.”
New Person: “Oh, really? Huh… (awkward pause) but…”
Me: “But, yes I was born and raised here, so I’m American, but, yeah, my parents are from the Philippines. They came to be the doctors of a rural town, and had me there.”
New Person: “Oh, the Philippines! I was wondering…” Read More

The E-lephant in the Room: Jocelyn Glei Examines How Email Took Over Our Lives


Over the past 25 years, email has quietly usurped a massive portion of our work energy, luring us into focusing on urgent, inconsequential tasks at the expense of meaningful, long-term creative projects. According to a recent report, we currently spend a whopping 28% of our time at the office reading and responding to email. Read More

Kevin Bethune on Picking the Locks: Journey to Innovation

Kevin Bethune

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”

– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

When I was young, I had a voracious curiosity for the arts and sciences. I loved to sketch and enjoyed going to museums with my parents and siblings. They were big on opening their children’s eyes beyond what we experienced in school. As an African American family in a predominantly white community, my parents stressed the importance of knowing where we came from, respecting the sacrifices of our ancestors, and stepping forward in life with courage … especially in environments that weren’t always welcoming. I vaguely remember the brick getting thrown through our back patio door and other assaults for the the simple act of being different in the neighborhood. My parents and their parents saw much worse during their upbringing in the South. As I navigated those early years, being different was often accompanied with a cloud of doubts and implicit innuendos. I had the grades and the extracurricular accomplishments, but I was not immediately identified as someone who would go to a great college like my similarly qualified peers. It was like an invisible door was in front of me, and it was locked. After getting accepted to the University of Notre Dame, a few decided to credit affirmative action versus my own merits. Read More

Sara Berman on the Entrepreneur vs. Artist: A Game of Boundaries

sarabermanThe hardest thing about going back to school to get my MFA was not giving up the respected fashion brand I had founded and built (I was done there). It was not the struggle to balance a full-on family life against a challenging full-time program (I never had a chance). It was not even the relentless pursuit of artistic development that frustrated and confounded me more often than not (a necessarily ongoing state of affairs). Read More

Lena Groeger on Discrimination By Design


A few weeks ago, Snapchat released a new addition to its face-altering filters that have become a signature of the service. But instead of surrounding your face with flower petals or giving you a funny hat, the new photo filter added slanted eyes, puffed cheeks and large front teeth. A number of Snapchat users decried the filter as racist, arguing it was the outcome of not having enough people of color building the product. In a tech world that hires mostly white men, the absence of diverse voices means that companies can be blind to design decisions that are discriminatory or hurtful to their customers. Read More

Sarah Burstein on ‘Design’ & Design Patents

sarah_edited.jpgThis fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Samsung v. Apple. The Court hasn’t considered a substantive issue of design patent law for over 100 years, so naturally the case has attracted a great deal of interest from the design community. But the “design patent case of the century” isn’t actually about “design”—at least, not in the sense that the word “design” is used by design professionals. Read More

Ti Chang on Manufacturing in China as an American Designer

Ti Chang

Ti Chang, photo by Crave

For better or worse, I was raised in the South; Georgia to be exact… I love my biscuits and gravy with a large helping of grits, and it is that Southern grit that first brought me overseas when I started my previous company, Incoqnito, and went to China alone to get my products prototyped and produced. The journey of finding factories and managing vendor relationships is a long process of hustling, fist-pounding, nail-biting, friendly drinking, karaoke-ing, and most of all, testing the limits of one’s adaptability. In addition to the language barrier, the work ethic, culture, and customs can be mind-boggling and maddening, even for someone like myself who is fluent in Mandarin. Read More