Revision Path is an award-winning design podcast that showcases the world's Black designers, web developers, and digital creatives. On each episode, host Maurice Cherry explores the stories, processes, experiences, insights and inspirations of these awesome creators.
We’re closing out the year here on Revision Path with artist and technologist Omayeli Arenyeka. I first learned about her work when she wrote into Revision Path earlier this year, and then we crossed paths again when I started covering her creative tech projects on Glitch. So in a way, this interview is a bit of a full circle moment!
We started off talking about her current engineering work at LinkedIn, and then she shared how she first learned about Glitch and what drew her to the platform. Yeli also gave a talk recently at XOXO about the “creative saviour complex”, so she went into the inspiration behind that presentation and discussed who and what fuels her work. I really think she’s going to be someone to watch in 2019, so make sure you check out her work and follow her journey!
Our international design series continues here on Revision Path, and our next stop is Zurich, Switzerland! Meet Courtney Pinter, a multidisciplinary creative who currently works as a senior creative at world-renowned flavor company Givaudan. Courtney is originally from Chicago, Illinois, but has been in Zurich for several years now, so I was really excited to learn more about the Swiss design scene from her.
We started with a brief look at what it’s like to design at a company like Givaudan, and she told me how her previous work at Tampico helped prepare her for this work. We talked about the change in design sensibilities due to location, the biggest challenges she’s faced since moving there, and Courtney shared some powerful advice for designers who want to follow in her footsteps. Courtney is proof that instead of looking for examples in others, you can be the example in your own life!
And as the year wraps up, there’s one more big announcement to make — we’re moving to a media network!
As many of you know, I joined the team at Glitch a year ago, and they have been a huge supporter of the show as a sponsor. Now Glitch is creating a media network, and Revision Path is joining this network and I am moving into a new position as head of media at the company.
Now I know this might seem a little sudden, but it’s been in the works for a few months now and it’s finally beginning to take shape. Here are some of the changes you can expect once the transition to Glitch is complete.
We started publishing new episodes of the podcast over on Glitch earlier this month, and we’ve been tinkering around with the design to match the other media properties there. Starting January 1, 2019, new episodes will only be published on Glitch, and this website will stay up as an archive as we migrate the podcast archive over the next few weeks. (We’re still working out how not to lose all the great SEO juice we’ve gained over the years, but we’ll update the URLs and everything in our RSS feed also.)
A New Team
Revision Path would be nothing without our team of contributors, volunteers, and others who helped get the platform to where it is today. Joining this new media network at Glitch means that I’ll have the chance to build a new team also! I will still be the host and executive producer of the podcast, but we’ll be hiring a new editor and an associate producer and a few other roles in the coming months. Keep an eye out on the Glitch careers page for those job listings, which will go up in January.
I cannot thank our long-time editor RJ Basilio enough for all his hard work with the podcast. He is one of the best in the business, and I feel so fortunate to have been able to work with him over all these years.
Full Transcripts for New Episodes
Listeners have asked for this for years! Starting with episode 276, episodes will now have full transcripts! The rest of the archive will not be transcribed, but are still available for listening in our archives.
Greater Focus on the Podcast
Overall, these changes mean a greater focus on the podcast.
With this new website, there will be no dedicated blog, job board, donation page, or other secondary content pages for the podcast. We’re also putting our Patreon page and our monthly newsletter on hiatus beginning January 1. I’ve already sent out information to all our subscribers, patrons, and past and present contributors to Revision Path, and I’m giving our writers time to copy their articles for offline storage before the site fully transitions to Glitch by the end of Q1 2019.
Huge, huge thanks to these contributors, as well as for all the companies who used the job board and for all of our lovely supporters on Patreon. Your hard work and trust and support mean the world to me, and I cannot thank you all enough.
The next chapter of Revision Path is here, and we have so many dope plans coming up! I hope you will continue to join us as we grow in 2019 as part of Glitch Media!
When I first met Karl a few years ago at HOW Design Live here in Atlanta, I knew I had to have him on the show because he embodies something special about the design community. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Karl came here to the U.S. for college, learned design and coding, and since then has built a vibrant and active community for coders, designers and creatives through his two annual events — SyntaxCon and Revolve Conference.
We started off talking about Karl’s work at his firm Harbormark, and from there he walked me through his journey from the Caribbean to the Carolinas, and how his first meetup in 2011 was the spark of something great. We also spent a good bit of time talking about conferences, speaking, and how these experiences are for people of color. Karl even gave some great advice for those looking to get into conference speaking, and we both give some advice for conference organizers out there. I’m really excited to see what Karl creates next!
Analise Cleopatra is living proof that sometimes the things that you are seeking may take you on another path. I first learned about Analise through a reality show on YouTube called Lace Up: The Ultimate Sneaker Challenge, so that’s where we started off our conversation, and she shared how she first got into sneaker design, and what it was like studying and working at Pensole Footwear Design Academy (as well as what it’s like to be on a reality TV design show).
From there, Analise talked about what’s happened since the show last year, including preparing for an artist residency, painting, writing, and even film making! While Portland is where Analise calls home for now, I have a feeling her talent and keen eye for design will take her all over the world. Learn more about her in this week’s interview!
It’s been a while since we first had Bobby C. Martin, Jr. on Revision Path, so I’m glad to have a chance to really sit down and talk with him to kick things off for our final month of interviews for 2018.
As the co-founder and founding partner of the Original Champions of Design, Bobby’s identity design system work sets him in a class all his own. Whether he’s handling rebranding for the WNBA or creating an identity system for the Girl Scouts, Bobby has helped elevate companies around the world.
We started off by talking about the business of OCD, including how it’s changed with the times, how they find clients, and what it’s like working with and building a team. From there, we took things back to Bobby’s early days in Virginia, and he shared the inspirations and memories which influenced him as a designer, and we also talked about design curriculum, as well as what it feels like for him to occupy space as such a well-known designer. Bobby wants everyone to know that you can make a living from being a designer, and putting everything you can into your work is the key to success!
It’s December 1, so you know what that means — it’s time for our annual Holiday Gift Guide! Can you believe this is the 6th gift guide we’ve done? If you’ve missed our other guides (or you’re just looking for some more good stuff to buy), check them out here.
This year’s gift guide features a lot of my favorites and tools I use, and I hope you’ll really love what we have to offer. Let’s get to the good stuff!
Note: Affiliate links are used throughout this Holiday Gift Guide, and buying items through them means Revision Path also gets a small cut from the retailer. It’s another great way to support Revision Path and pick up something nice!
Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives — How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do
Like it or not, we live in a world that is connected by social media. I love this book because the authors go deep in providing evidence on how our social networks influence our lives in several different ways. It’s definitely made me re-think my social media consumption and what I put out there in the world.
Revival: How I Rebuilt a Life for Longevity After Cancer, Burnout, and Heartbreak
Businesswoman and tech pioneer Angela Benton is one of the strongest people I know, and her book Revival really touched me unlike any other book I’ve read this year. It’s heartfelt, honest, and should be a must read for any entrepreneur out there. Angela has been through the fire and back and this is her story.
I burned through this book on a recent cross-country trip, and I highly recommend it for entrepreneurs, UX designers, software developers…really anyone who wants to make better choices in their work and their life. I remember during an interview with Fredric Mitchell where he told me about the power of asking the right questions, and this book is a great start to making that happen.
The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative
You might wonder why a book about writing is on a gift guide for designers and developers. Well, it’s not the first time I’ve made such a recommendation, but I’ll keep saying this until I’m blue in the face — being able to write and articulate your thoughts will elevate your craft. This book specifically deals with crafting a personal narrative (I think marketers call that storytelling, right?), and you’ll find that it will help you with writing blog posts, case studies, proposals, emails…everything. Get. This. Book.
The Theory and Practice of Motion Design: Critical Perspectives and Professional Practice
This book by well-known designer R. Brian Stone is a must for front-end and motion designers. Topics here span interaction design, typography, narrative storytelling, and a lot more. We need more books from Black designers, so make sure to add this one to your library!
We Inspire Me: Cultivate Your Creative Crew to Work, Play, and Make
This book from Andrea Pippins is great for anyone that is looking to find their tribe. We Inspire Me features advice and anecdotes from dozens of doers and makers, including some past guests on Revision Path! We can all go further together, and this book is a testament to the power of having a creative crew.
Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan(s)
Adobe, starting at $118.00
Lightroom CC is Adobe’s solution to manage and edit all your photos whether you’re on mobile or desktop. In these special plans, you also get access to Lightroom Classic CC, Photoshop CC, and added storage! Choose from any of the three plans below!
AIGA Eye on Design Annual Subscription
There’s not that many print design magazines out there anymore, so I recommend getting a subscription to AIGA Eye on Design to help keep the tradition of design writing alive. You get three very well-designed issues, and they start shipping on December 5. Keep up with the latest trends and learn about the issues affecting the design community.
A light box like this is a great way to add some personality to your design space or your office. This light box comes with 10 poster panels (the blue eye is displayed above), and you can use your own art too!
I’ll be honest — Harry Potter was after my time, but my goddaughters are currently devouring the books and they’re huge fans. Their birthdays are also less than a month apart, and they’re getting to that age where they are starting to gain their own interests and think about what they want to be when they grow up. This Kano Harry Potter coding kit is the best overlap of these two specific situations! They can build their own wand while also learning about tech and some light programming. It’s a win-win!
Now if you really want to show off your work, this Meural Canvas is IT. I saw a few of these in a museum in San Francisco recently, and I was blown away. It’s not just a digital display — there’s ambient light which matches the room’s brightness, it comes in multiple designs, and you can change its orientation from landscape to portrait (or vice versa) by just rotating the canvas. You can add your own art, or subscribe to Meural’s service to have the world’s best artwork at the touch of a button.
We’ve had battery packs on our gift guides in the past, but I think anyone who has traveled by plane in the past few years knows how many airlines are cracking down on them. I really like Nimble charges for a few reasons: they include fast-charging tech, you can charge up to three devices (USB-A and USB-C), and the charging cable magnetically attaches to the pack (so you won’t lose it). Also, Nimble charges are made using recyclable aluminum and plant-based bioplastics, so they have less of a harmful impact on the planet.
I travel a fair bit for work, so I’ve gotten used to bringing a few things with me on every trip to help make hotel stays feel a little more like home. This portable aroma diffuser is a new addition, and I love it because it’s compact, comes with its own carrying case (with space for a small bottle of essential oil), and it doesn’t need water. It also fills up a musty hotel room with aroma pretty quickly, and it can be used while charging with the USB cord (like you see above). It’s one of the best purchases I’ve made this year.
Sony WH1000XM3 Wireless Industry Leading Noise Canceling Over Ear Headphones
I’m a fairly recent convert to the world of wireless headphones, and these cans from Sony are my new must-haves for the airport and the plane. The noise cancellation is top-notch, the battery life is amazing, and because it charges via USB-C, there’s a good chance to you don’t need to bring an extra cable to keep it powered up. Ten minutes charges it for five hours of playback, which is astonishing. I don’t even mind that the headphones put a huge canyon in the middle of my hair — I just don’t take them off until I get to my hotel.
This is a new addition to my studio, and I really like it because it’s easy to set, but also gives you a strong visual representation of how much time you have left. This particular has a silicone cover, and it’s compact enough to use at home or at the office. (Sure, your phone has a timer, but it doesn’t look as good as this.)
I’ve been using the NeuYear wall calendars since I started Revision Path, and they are one of my productivity staples. You can get a dry erase version or a regular paper version, and at this large size it’s easy to see from across the room.
Don’t see the word “tarot” and think this is automatically about the occult. If anything, this deck takes those concepts and flips them on their head with creativity. And dick jokes. Make up your own meanings for the cards and impress and piss off strangers!
What if IKEA made furniture for pets? What if Nest had a chatbot? What if Fitbit had a free service? What if Airbnb went corporate? Innovatecards is a thought-provoking team game to get you in the innovation mood. It’s perfect for product teams, design sprints, and brainstorming workshops, but anyone can play! Anyone can play, and everyone will play differently! No game will ever be the same. Come up with your own rules, or use our questions to guide your discussion.
If you find yourself going back and forth between a monthly and a weekly calendar, this Kokuyo Pat-mi diary is for you. It’s innovative layout combines a monthly and weekly calendar in 12 slim booklets, and each week expands out into daily slots.
Another writing tool? You bet. I really like the five minute journal because it’s a really simple way to start with writing and cultivating gratitude (or just to get random thoughts out of your head). The journal is specifically designed to help focus your attention and improve your mental well-being — something all of us could use.
Assortment Gift Box of 8 Cookies from Levain Bakery
Levain Bakery, $49.00
I had these when I was in New York a few months ago, and they were hands down the best cookie I’ve ever eaten. Get them for a client, or for yourself. I won’t judge.
I can’t get over how fun this mug is! It’s also pretty huge; use it for coffee, soup, or whatever you’d like. Also makes a nice desk decoration.
Hinoki Natural Incense Holder and 24-Stick Refill Pack
I tend to burn through a lot of incense. It helps me when focusing or just trying to get to a zen state of mind. This Hinoki incense is my favorite for a few reasons: it’s lightweight (including the holder), it smells great, and it doesn’t leave behind a ton of ash. Bring a little bit of Japan with you wherever you go!
I don’t need glasses, but with all the screens I stare at every day, I do need something to protect my eyes from getting strained. These glasses are super affordable, and they come in a variety of colors. The frames have a rubber texture, and the flexible hinges fit my big ol’ head perfectly. I like the black glasses in the #E frame type because they look pretty indistinguishable from other glasses, yet these filter out 40% of blue light and don’t make you look like an extra from Jet Set Radio Future.
Sela Lewis, former guest to the show and design writer here, recommended this pin, and I love it. It’s a great mix of graphic design and “yes, I’m Black”, and it’s sure to start a conversation at your next design function.
These lights would be a fun addition to your bedroom or to your studio. Spell out whatever you’d like and then pop the tiles on this minimalist wooden platform to instantly illuminate them. Each set comes with 60 different mix and match reusable letter stickers.
Using numbers for your street address is so last year. The what3words project assigns three random words for every point on the planet, and now you can get an outdoor sign to let the world know you’re part of the special in crowd. With two sign sizes and eleven colors, you’re sure to find something to match your home. Great for gates, walls, and exterior areas.
For the next three weeks, you can cop some limited-edition Revision Path merchandise in our new pop-up shop!
We brought back two of our best-selling designs, our one-of-a-kind logo merch, and a brand new design based off my “Where Are The Black Designers?” presentation from 2015. You can even buy our new enamel pin at the pop-up shop!
From now through December 14, you can use the discount code giftguide at checkout and get 25% off all orders of $50 or more.
Aaron Gleen is an art director and graphic designer that’s taking the Philippines by storm. Through his company, GRAY+, he helps businesses and other designers recognize and learn the value of design. I caught up with Aaron at his current place in Cebu City to talk about the journey of what brought him to his current success.
Aaron spoke about growing up in Riverside, CA, and from there he spoke about how he learned about design and what sparked him to pursue it as a career. We also discuss how Aaron ended up in the Philippines, what the design scene is like there, his dream project, and where he sees his work taking him in the near future. It’s a really great interview, and if you’ve ever been curious about the Philippines as a design destination, then wonder no more!
Jason Murphy is a legend in the design industry. He’s most known as being one of a half dozen design directors who oversaw the brand for Nike, but he’s also created concepts for BET, SEIU, Discovery, and many other companies and brands. Now Jason is doing his own thing as a creative director and chief creative officer, so we had a great conversation not just about his past success, but also about the future.
Jason walked me through a typical day for him, and we spoke about his talk earlier this year at the AIGA Design Conference and went from there into his time at Nike with the Nike Equality Campaign. Jason also spoke about how the Organization of Black Designers influenced him, shared what it was like working at BET in its heyday, and talked about the design scene in Portland and what he wants to do next. Jason calls himself a lover of all design, and after this interview, I couldn’t agree more!
I met Nicholas Johnson this year at the AIGA Awards Gala, and after just a few minutes of speaking with him, I knew I had to have him on the podcast. Nicholas is committed to more representation for designers of color, and that’s reflected both through his work and in an upcoming book project.
We talked about where Nicholas’ desire for representation comes from, and from there we went into a discussion on the notion of a Black design aesthetic, and Nicholas shared the advice that’s stuck with him throughout his design journey, as well as what he wants to work on in the next five years. You’ll definitely see and hear more from Nicholas in the future!