March 10, 2016No Comments

Design with feelings and intention

Why do we call initial designs the “Look and Feel?”

  • How do we want clients to give us feedback on initial design concepts?
  • How do we narrow down designs more effectively from the start?
  • Clients should focus on the feeling, not the look.

What’s a feeling? A feeling is when you are confident in making the best decision by weighing what users care about and the varying points of view involved. The feeling presents itself as a form of balance and harmony. What does this design convey? Does it serve the purpose of the story I want to tell? Is the messaging clear and defined? Is it confusing?

When you serve clients, you defer all creative decisions to the client. You anticipate what they will say before you present and you quietly root for the work you want them to choose.

You may have heard this comment, “Do not include a design that you hate because they will choose it!” or “The client just went through twenty iterations and they went back to the first one they saw.”

Why would a client deliberately choose what seems to be the most boisterously offensively ugly design of them all? Is it because they simply aren’t trained with a design eye and can’t distinguish which design is above the others? How can we change the process of developing feeling towards a design?

Design has taken a major shift in the past few years, increased attention is paid to mobile responsive sites. The industry shifted from creating table-based layouts to CSS responsive fluid designs. Creating a site that’s table-based means you have to create a design in 1200, 768, 480, and 320. Smaller devices slowly become out of commission and larger density resolution devices become a natural reach in our lives.

All this is to say that design, annotation, and production graphics has to be made to fit these sizes for the best optimal experience.

Is there a better way to all of this?

Let’s take a look at the traditional design process:

  • Initial design work starts with understanding your client’s requirements and desires.

  • Create three options of look and feel. Build the design system behind all of these components.

  • Client may not select any of them, they want to mix and match parts from one and create their own Frankenstein.

  • Without considering that each design has its own design system, clients selects a design direction that “feels right” to them.

  • Another round of revisions, what does the client feel today? Has it changed from the last iteration or it’s something different? How’s the weather today? any mood swings? (`Δ´)!

  • Create more and more mocks until we can torpedo them through the finish line.

This is where you enter hell with endless iterations.

Style Tile or Style Prototype are two interesting takes on how initial designs could be presented to solicit a sense of feel of the design.

Style Tiles & Elemental Collage

Defining a design system rather than designing pages right from the start. Present client with interface choices without making the investment in multiple photoshop mockups. They are small snippets of deliverables that contain color, fonts, and small elements that are the essence of a visual brand.

Style tiles are a catalyst for discussion around the preference and goals of the project, it is the middle point between a mood board and a mockup.

Prequalify and get a sense of what the client is looking for by asking for samples of different varying websites that can convey the same level of style and need.

I have implemented this new method with a few projects and have success with saving time and getting right to the nitty-gritty of delighting the client with what they want.

Style Tile and Elemental Library Exploration of an Investment Startup. www.investforward.com

Style Tile and Elemental Library Exploration of a Wine Startup

Style Prototype

Let a client see a visual summary of a site’s proposed design direction without photoshop images or a functional website. It’s a HTML page that contains typography, button style, colors, rollovers and everything that is needed to establish a direction.

A visual library exploration around UI elements made for developers. www.viyet.com

The Heavy Lifting = Sell Your Ideas

Conveying feeling and brand direction across a few images and typography is a hard feat, it assumes the client is able to stretch their imagination and hone in what they want to see with what they are presented with.

Most of the time when clients are presented with this method, they have a very hard time grasping the details of one style and another. This is when you have to sell your idea and tailor a recommendation with backed design thinking, research, and personal experience. By listening and encompassing the client’s feeling, the design needs to be cohesive with integrated balance and harmony.

I find that this method is not appropriate for every client. Some clients are still unable to visualize the elements without actual concrete designs and the heavily relies on the ability of the designer to sell each distinctive style accurately. There can also be situations where you were unable to educate the client on the design process or the client simply does not want to “be experimental.” Without your ability to sell your ideas and convince your vision, this method could become a wrecking ball in the process.

Expanding the look and feel the library is also a big component of success. Being able to see everything in one place proves to be a great approach to creating cohesive looks. By prequalifying and discovering your client’s feelings and evaluate their “design eye” will allow you to complete your task at a much more productive pace. Guiding the client to the finish line is another great component in launching any design.

Read more about Style Tiles, Visual Inventory, and Style Prototype:

  1. https://alistapart.com/article/style-tiles-and-how-they-work

  2. http://v3.danielmall.com/articles/visual-inventory/

  3. https://www.amazon.com/Sprint-Solve-Problems-Test-Ideas/

March 8, 2016No Comments

Developing your style

Take inspiration from places outside your comfort zone is where you’ll find new beginnings.

One of the ways to improve your style, taste, and design is by exploring different methods and approaches that are unknown to you. The design could be generalized into two major components: Creative Direction and Technical Execution.

A person can be very versed and technically skilled at executing a vision to perfection, but may not be the person that’s directing the concept. Similarly, a strong artist may not have the skills to visually or tangibly create the work. How do we converge these two skill points?

Styling and Creative Direction
How do you quantify taste and decipher whose opinions should be respected? One way to develop this taste and inspiration is by stepping out of your comfortable medium into something new.

Observe your environment and surroundings and practice conceptualizing how and why a certain concept or campaign came to be. ie. (I see a billboard of The House of Cards show on Netflix, why did they select this particular headshot of Frank Underwood? There’s a slight reflection of Claire looking into Frank’s car, why is she not in the car but looking from the outside? What was done to the color grading of this photo that makes the feeling suspenseful? How many other angles could this image be shot differently to convey this same emotion?) Practice and train your brain to think creatively about everything you see. Be keen on the way the light shines on something, or even focusing in on the object of the user’s attention.

Look deeply behind the scenes and allow yourself to step into the shoes of a director and imagine their vision. Why did they choose this medium? What is the message they want to convey? Was it successful in conveying that message?

It’s easy for designers to get caught up in what’s “trendy and cool” and ignoring the principles of good design. What makes a style or design classic and timeless? It is made by people who strive to create something unique and have a strong sense that their vision is the right one, no matter what others say. To create something timeless, think outside the box, let go of control and invest in people that shape your work.

Technical Craft
To improve your technical craft, it’s an easy solution: work on it until you are extraordinary. Malcolm Gladwell’s theories that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert, or it takes a huge investment of time in order to be made manifest. It’s also an important point that that is how you can develop your technical skill set, and it’s not based on the innate talent that is assumed beyond ‘training’.

Being a digital designer, it’s not often I get to hold a piece that I create. There’s something nice to make something with your own hands from typesetting, painting or even simply folding a simple origami. I miss the ability to be tactile. In the digital space, building an app or seeing your work on the internet can feel intangible and I yearn for the nostalgia of holding and presenting physical work.

Select your poison
Pick a medium you want to work in. Go back to your roots and make something. Step outside of what you do on the daily and re-energize an old craft. If you don’t have a medium that you can look back on, why not start a new medium? Try and paint a picture every week or take a photo with a DSLR? whatever makes you feel fancy.

My relationship with the Camera
As a child, my father used me as the subject of his many photographs. He used a 35mm film camera because a digital camera didn’t exist. He would teach me about lighting, aperture, focus, rule of thirds, shutter speed and what makes a good picture and what doesn’t.

It wasn’t until about 3 years ago, I bought my first DSLR. I was driven by the memory of the connection I had with the camera and my father. I also thought by self-teaching myself photography would improve my design.

By no means am I an expert at photography. I solicited my coworkers to let me to take their portrait. I promised them free Linkedin profile photos or photos for their OkCupid. I would venture out on the weekends to photograph people for free and spend countless hours on post-production. I spent a few weeks investing time in taking photos of New York landscapes and I learned everything by trying. I would take a photo, ask for feedback, and self-evaluate the shot.

I did not expect photography would make as huge of an impact as it has on my life.

Being a timid and not too adventurous person, the camera changed me. After seeing a photo of The Subway in Arizona, I wanted to go after this image. The path of all resistance dwindled in my mind. My head was filled with wonder and ignorantly dismissed my usual complaints of outdoor activities.

The subway is a ten-hour hike through the back country of Arizona. I am not sure what I was thinking as I have never walked ten hours in my life. Every step up and down the canyon felt like my heart was going to come out of my fat city-lazy body. I ignored the wet slippery sand beneath my heels and the pain of my bruised toenails from navigating through sharp and steep rocks.

Chasing the image infested my mind. I would have never been able to do this today, feeling accomplished and grateful that I’ve done something completely out of my comfort zone.

Pushing yourself beyond your personal limit is very scary. How do you know what your limit is if you never come close?

My dad said this to me when I left home for New York. 
“Success is all in your mind. Some people need to climb Mt. Everest to feel accomplished. For me, if I can hike a local mountain, I’m just as successful as a Mt Everest climber. You do not need to compete with them, just compete with yourself.”

March 7, 2016No Comments

Joining a Startup Checklist

20 Qs to consider when joining a start up

  1. Do you believe in the product?

  2. Do you see potential?

  3. Will this product or service succeed?

  4. Are you inspired by the people?

  5. Do you like your future peers & boss?

  6. Who will you be working with?

  7. Do they have a good track record?

  8. Did you research on the background of the startup, the founders, where they received seed money?

  9. What is the competitive landscape like?

  10. Are you going to work 60 hrs per week?

  11. How’s the work-life-balance?

  12. Are you willing to work really hard?

  13. How will taking this job affect your own future?

  14. Is it in the direction you want to go towards?

  15. Will you gain invaluable experience if it fails?

  16. Will you learn to wear different hats and take on different roles and responsibilities that may be above and beyond?

  17. What is the business plan, how will it make money?

  18. What’s the company’s business goals in the next year, 5 years?

  19. How will it expand?

Career Tip: Weigh the pros and cons of each path and see how much risk/reward ratio you are willing to take on before you take the deep dive.

March 4, 2016No Comments

Staying Childish

Saying ‘yes’ to side projects.

The expansive imagination and curiosities of a child hold no limitations or boundaries. Adults typically take the time to consider all available details and are prone to analyzing and questioning, which results in something that’s even more complicated than it’s intention. What if you allowed yourself to play and find the humor? Let’s all regain a level of limitless curiosity and thirst for the unknown.

As an adult — time, money, recognition are some of the things that motivate us to work. Sometimes these motivators prohibit us from growing because we’re not willing to sacrifice a lot to what seems like gaining very little. We want instant gratification and guaranteed returns.

I don’t want to sacrifice my free time because I rather enjoy my night than learning a new software language.

I don’t want to do this for free because I am highly valuable and I’m worth a lot. I also don’t want to survive on Ramen noodles.

I don’t want to do this project because it’s not going to be featured or be seen by my peers.

I want to set an example that design work is not free, so I will not do anything for free.

I don’t want to work on this project because I know nothing about it, or I don’t think I can do a good job.

(︶︹︺)
These are all examples of how to become stagnant in personal growth because you don’t want to make any changes. Investing in yourself takes hard work, time, and dedication.

Working on a personal project alone is very hard. You have no peers to bounce ideas and review your progress. It’s hard to hold yourself accountable for a project that has no deadline. It’s also difficult to find a good mentor that will look over your work and give you their opinion, because after all — time is money.

Would you pay an expert to review your work? Would you spend the time to write a case study on your projects? Will you give yourself a 360 review from the eyes of a boss and a coworker so that you can be more self-aware?

Why not accept a new project that you know nothing about and use the project as a form of learning? Work on some low paying or pro-bono projects because working with someone teaches you how to work with different types of personalities and their needs? Starting small and build into a significant body of work.

In fact, I just learned how to say, “No” in the last two years, because I said yes too much. You may not agree with this approach to learning, and you can even say “What a sucker! What a total wasting of time!” I can tell you that everything I am today, I learned by saying yes.

Club Flyers

Freshman year of college, I designed flyers for free. One day, I picked up a flyer from the ground, and I thought to myself, “damn, this is ugly.” I wrote to an email on the flyer and offered my services, and who doesn’t want free design work?

I made flyers for free at first, and then I charged only $20 to create a flyer. It would take me an Avg of 15 hours to create a double sided 4x6 flyer, so my hourly wage was $1.33. I have made hundreds of flyers in a span of four years. I was like the lemonade tycoon of flyers. I designed for student groups, frats & sororities, and university services. I landed a part-time job as the senior designer for Dept. of Transportation Services. I illustrated the bus routes for every bus that serviced the University of Maryland and made an 80-page handbook. My design was seen by more than 2.6 million riders a year. \(T∇T)/

Outside the school capacity, the $1.33 Flyercoon “business” got so big, I made flyers for club promoters in DC. I was also able to create websites and design work for actors promoting their movies. In New York, I made look-books for modeling agencies in New York, and flyers for clubs and lounges.

Jewish Textbooks

One of my professors in college once asked the class if anyone had any experience with designing book covers. At the time, I never made a book cover in my life, but the thought was enticing. I got paid a flat fee of $400 to design the cover and formatting of the inner pages. Each of these textbooks cost on an Avg $80–$120. I receive no royalties for per book sold to students all over the world. I never increased my rates, every year I still make 2–3 textbooks published by different authors. I have probably made close to 45 books. There’s one thing in common in all these textbooks; they’re all Jewish History and Literature. I should be an expert on this subject by now.

After the professor was happy with my work, he asked if I knew how to build an e-commerce site so that he can sell them. He is pretty much inexperienced with technology, and he relied solely on me to make it happen. I had no idea how to work with PHP and databases. I taught myself OsCommerce and write PHP with the help of a friend over two months and got the site running with all his product in place. To this day, I still maintain the website once or twice a year. (/^▽^)/

Advertising Banner Ads

Remember those flash ads? How about CSS coded ads? Well, I can say I’m an expert in them. (LAUGHS) A lot of clients request banner ads for advertising because that was the “right way to do online marketing” back in 2009. I joined a company that their whole business is making these small graphics. I’ve made a set of banner ads for every campaign that the agency had, and I probably made over 200 banners in that year. The most famous banner I made to date was a Kim Kardashian banner that was placed on PerezHilton that had an Avg of 220 million impressions, and click-through rate was close to .4% (realistic ad clicks are .24%) which equals out to something like 880,000 clicks. (ノ´ヮ´)ノ*:・゚✧

Doing projects that seem tiny at first may yield unexpected results. This theory has been proven over and over again. Similarly, doing projects that don’t seem to have significant financial payoffs, could someday translate to a great experience or connection. Every act is another penny in your piggy bank of value. Allow yourself to play, laugh, and start saying YES.

March 3, 2016No Comments

The Mythical Unicorn Full-Stack Designer

Want to Hire: Unicorn Designer. You know…. someone that can code HTML/CSS/Bootstrap, photoshop pretty pictures, map user experience, write copy, cheap, and have it all tomorrow?

“Do you think [person] has the chops? Can you take a look at their portfolio and give me your thoughts?”

— People ask

Determine your needs

What is the project? Does it require independent development? Does it need a lot of handholding since it’s my first time or I’m experienced in the design process?

There isn’t a designer that’s one-size-fits-all. Designers come from different backgrounds and have different strengths, which means they think and solve problems differently. How can you determine if this is the right person to work with? Some designers are awesome at visual design, but not all are experienced with the product or executing interaction. Some are generalists, and some are focused on specific areas.

Finding this elusive unicorn designer that is a straight ace at everything will be tough.

Also-known-as-any-of-these-words-combined-in-any-order: Awesome Fantastic Full-Stack Ninja Rockstar Master Designer (ㆆ▃ㆆ)

If you do find this ☆ magical being ☆, they’re probably working in their own company or developing their own ideas. After all, spellbinding design chops only happen when the planets align.

Clients turn to agencies because they provide a supportive team of designers that are dedicated to their project, giving different variations and perspectives. (Shameless plug: If you need an agency, MartianCraft is here for ya.*WINK*)

What if you don’t have the budget for an agency? Or maybe you prefer the attention and personal touch of working with a few designers?

Take some of these different areas of design into consideration:

Product Design
Can the designer explain the process of how users get from point A to point B? Does the process make sense? Are they vested and confident in their direction? Are they able to focus on the pain points in the process and show solutions? Do they look at the project from a user’s perspective? Can they explain why executing the design in this manner is the right way? Are they able to map solutions to business goals? Can they sell this idea and win over the listener?

Interaction Design
Can the designer come up with usability wireframes to illustrate the process in a concise format? Are they able to break down complex user needs into actionable UI and weigh out the best options? Is the UI useful, intuitive, unobtrusive, and reliable? Are all the interactions directly linked to user’s needs, wants and avoids confusion? Is the design simple and delightful?

Visual Design
Are the designs crisp? How are the type hierarchy and visual system? Is it aesthetically pleasing and honest? Was it designed with care and accuracy that shows respect towards the user? Is there a purpose for every element on the page and is it essential? How is this designer’s skill level for executing technical designs? Are they able to produce illustrations, 3D, sketches, or composited mockups? Are the brand and layout designs cohesive?

As you can tell. Designing an effective product takes a lot of consideration. This is probably why designers are allergic to feedback such as “Make it Pop” or “Make it Bigger” since it’s not backed by constructive reasoning. More things that you shouldn’t say to a designer.

What about soft skills?

Can this designer listen and communicate well? Are they confident in solving the problem with tact? Are they easy to work with? Are they able to take feedback well and *really listen* to what’s being conveyed? Can they understand intuitively, because people are unable to express constructive direction?

Sample traits you want to look for:
Empathy, Articulate, Pragmatic = convince a developer to build a feature
Self Aware, Passionate, Systematic = understanding user needs
Pragmatic, Curious, Analytical = research and compare user data
Patience, Fearless, Articulate = sell and educate ideas

Choosing the right person for the right job

Select two out of three and focus on core values, in the order of priority. If you haven’t seen the famous trinity, I have illustrated it below.

(Left) When working with clients, they can only select two out of the three, meaning if you want a design that is fast and cheap, it will probably be ugly. If it’s fast and good, it’s going to cost money. If it’s cheap and good, it’s probably going to take a long time.

(Right) Speaking broadly and generally, you can pick a designer that is:
Great in Product & Visual = may have trouble with UI and UX
Great in Visual & Interaction = may be weak with designing for the user
Great in Interaction & Product = may be weak with technical design skill

With the area that they are lacking, decide if it’s important enough to overlook, or hire another member that will complement the team’s strength. If hiring a member is not possible, there’s always the option of sub-contracting the work to an expert.

March 2, 2016No Comments

Launch yourself into a new adventure

Today marks my one year anniversary working with MartianCraft, a 100% remote workplace that’s a recognized influencer in the world of mobile & desktop application design, development, staff, and training. I’ve been an independent designer since Sept 2014, which puts me at this for a year and a half. I wanted to share how I got started, and how you can launch yourself into a new adventure.

Why become an independent designer?

There are many reasons why people want to be their own boss, work on their ideas, or have the freedom to choose their clients. For me, it started as a daydream and became a reality.

I’ve been working in design for the last ten years in New York City, and I felt bored and unfulfilled with the projects at my full-time job. I craved variety, challenge and working with people that tirelessly strive to perfect their craft. Day-to-day tasks became mundane, and I daydreamed about the freedoms from not being at an office doing projects that I couldn’t put in my portfolio.

I never freelanced full time before, I didn’t know how it’s going to be, or even how it’ll work. There’s a lot of uncertainty, and I’m scared.

All I told myself was “just give it a try.” If I don’t try, I’ll never know. If I don’t even attempt, I fail automatically. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Get another full-time job? That doesn’t sound all that bad.

Simply put. I became an independent designer to seek the opportunity to be happy and proud of my design work. I want the validation of being an excellent designer, and becoming ♪ better ♫ faster ♪ stronger ♬.

Three things you’ll need

1. Money

You probably should save money because usually it takes six months to get the ball rolling on projects and be comfortable with the routines of sales, design, and payments. Saving money to do something uncomfortable takes a lot of discipline. It’s much easier to save money to go on a vacation or buy something nice for yourself. The drive and discipline of investing in your goal will set you apart from everyone else. Becoming an independent means that you don’t have a steady paycheck every month, make sure you buffer and make changes in your lifestyle because you will encounter non-payment or late paying clients.

2. Focus

Don’t read too many articles on Medium or lists about what you should be doing. The more you read, the more you can get overwhelmed. Reading is not acting. Create a plan of what you need to do every day and hold yourself accountable (I don’t sleep until it’s done). Write a list of things you have to do a day and accomplish them all. Let small tasks snowball into big accomplishments.

When I first started freelancing, I created this in my google calendar. I only allowed client phone calls at a particular time of the day, so that I could have blocks of focused, uninterrupted time to work on projects. Needless to say, I kept to this calendar for a good eight months before I didn’t need these reminders. It became a routine that I break often.

My friend said I forgot to block out poop breaks. Obviously, I don’t poop or sleep.

3. Resilience

If I could sum up one word to becoming a success in anything, it will be resilience. Develop and hone your personal Titanium Level Resilience.

  • Increase your capacity for making realistic plans and carry them out.

  • Have a positive view and confidence in yourself in your abilities.

  • Improve your skill set in problem-solving and communication.

  • Management of your own personal voice, feeling, and impulses.

Develop the ability to service clients by providing accurate timelines. Be able to communicate effectively, and make the client feel happy and confident with the work performed. Sell and guide clients through the weeds of a project are all important management skills displaying resilience. Being your own boss is tough, and having confidence in your own abilities will help you win clients.

Make the leap with blinders on. Nurture your ideas and allow yourself to fail, because only through this process you can become a stronger version of yourself. Keep going and be resilient. Surround yourself with people who cheer you on, and let people go if they don’t.

June 11, 2015No Comments

Retaining Motivation

How do you have so much self-drive and motivation?

— people would ask me

Understanding motivation can help you become a better manager, be in a better company, and be successful with your personal pitches. When you are trying to convince someone to work for you or acquire a new client for your business, it’s tactful to understand where the motivating factors lie.

There are two types of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivators are traditional rewards such as money, perks, salary. Intrinsic motivators are often things that most companies misunderstand, which is the idea of wanting to do good work and put out a good product.

It’s a softer motivator that not every person possesses. It’s wrong to think that financial compensation is a sufficient way to engage top talents. A person can never have enough money. Once they achieve their personal financial bar, they will only want more. By creating your pitch based on monetary values, can only result in a rapid decline in your job satisfaction. Personally, I’ve been pretty driven by the correlation between the salary and the responsibilities that I would have to perform.

Why do top talents leave a company? For the lack of vision, lack of culture, no empathy in the workplace, lack of career advancement, not fun, no rewards, bad managers, and overworking people.

For someone that values the intrinsic motivation, there are a couple category breakdown for what this means.

  1. Skill variety. Would I be able to work on a variety of work and expand my design skills? I value this the highest, mainly because I consider myself a skilled generalist and someone with design ADD. Will I be the smartest and best designer in the group? I hope that will not be the case. Will the management hire top designers in the team, so I can learn from them?

  2. Task Identity. Understanding my role and how it affects the business and see the grand vision of how the design would improve the product. Having great project managers and coworkers that value design. Not allowing the design to be the backburner of the project or just the top layer fluff in the product.

  3. Significance & Value. Will my work be seen by a lot of people? What is the impact of these works on people’s lives? Will it improve it or will it not? Will I be able to have a significant impact on the success of this project?

  4. Autonomy. The idea that you have control and independence and the trust of your peers to carry out this project to the best of your ability and not have to micromanage and direct every decision. Not to be afraid to solicit harsh feedback if something is not working.

  5. Feedback. The degree that the employee receives clear, detailed, and actionable information about this person’s effectiveness and job performance. By increasing an employee’s participation and allowing them to have the control to improve their own weaknesses, gives a person drive and vision.

  6. Quality of Work-Life-Balance Factors. Is the company maintaining and coming up with ways to promote employee wellness? How flexible is this workplace to work remotely and flexible hours?

 

THE HIERARCHY OF NEED

Starting with the basic need of food, living, and job security to the feeling of working with great people. There is an inherent need to be social, to have friends in the workplace and an idea of belonging. By creating social bar outings does not necessarily increase the sense of camaraderie but could promote good chemistry. In order to create an environment that an employee would cherish is not an easy feat. In order to achieve that, the managers should be aware and empathetic to see the potential of a driven, self-motivated employee. Not everyone would enjoy a bar outing, and similarly, not everyone would be able to attend events outside of work.

ie. I worked at a company where they have provided every intrinsic motivator there is. I had the autonomy, vision, quality of work-life balance, and took care of my extrinsic needs of providing a huge amount of perks. The one thing that was really lacking was the feeling of belonging and camaraderie. The people in our current team and other teams are inexperienced managers that do not have the empathic, detail oriented understanding to team building. Despite that I’ve voiced this concern, it was met with laughter and insincerity at the importance of “forcing a chemistry within the group that could not exist.” It was not an environment that I feel that could last, but no job is perfect.

 

MOTIVATORS

Motivators could also come in a form of being satisfied with the ownership you hold to your project, advancement opportunity, and recognition. This is a delicate balance when you add extrinsic motivators such as salary, peers, and workplace. Establish paths for people and have clear motivators to perform, would be a better way to keep people happy.

From an employee’s point of view, these are definitely some of the questions I’d ask. Many times, employers try to reel people in by telling them that it’s a “casual office environment where people can wear jeans” as a perk, or “we have free soda.” These motivators are insufficient to capture attention, at least mine. This is also something that you can observe when you walk into their office environment. Are there good chemistry amongst the people? Do they look happy and satisfied?

If you are a company who is trying to attract a designer or a startup who is trying to get someone to work with you. I suggest figuring out what their motivators are, what you can do and provide for them, instead of listing out reasons why they should work for you.

So now the question is, what motivates you? Which aspect are you willing to sacrifice for the sake of another? Doing free design work might give you more return on future projects, and it might not. You also don’t want to be cheated out of getting paid for doing work that an agency is charging their clients' thousands of dollars for. You may also work on projects that pay really well, but because you only do it for the money it becomes a creative killer and you generate sub-par designs. At what point do you accept projects that you love and get the compensation you deserve? I’ve also seen people work together for a big name client, but each person in the team presents the work as their own and take credits they don’t deserve.

Finding motivation in a project, and in life are one of the greatest mysteries. What drives you to complete a project or take on a new client, takes understanding of people’s psyche. It’s not easy to balance between clients with different personalities and work styles, but as long as you have a good set of personal motivating guidelines, you’ll be successful in retaining your motivation.

June 10, 2015No Comments

A Faster Way To Respond To Messages

This is a new app I've been designing over at MartianCraft, called Re:quest. Send questions from your iPhone to a friend's Apple Watch for fast, and easy answers. Write questions with your voice using only syntax via your watch, so you never have to pull out your phone to ask someone a simple question. Check it out and download it for free. It was also featured here on Techcrunch. 

January 28, 2015No Comments

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico was a short, last minute weekend getaway to somewhere with a ton of sunshine. My favorite part of Puerto Rico was Culebra, one of the islands off the east coast. The sands were spectacular, white and soft. The temperature at the time was extremely hot under the beating sun, I got a few sunburns when I came back. The kayak ride was definitely a workout, jumping into the water and getting back into the kayak was a testament that I should go to the gym!

January 28, 2015No Comments

Maui

If you are looking for a destination to get away from daily stresses, Maui is a living paradise. Situated in the remote islands of hawaii, I was lulled to sleep nightly by gentle waves, sunshine, and tons of green flora. It's a place that I actually cried when I had to leave. It was an amazing paradise of relaxation.

I was able to do the Hana Highway, Haleakalā Volcano sunrise, Snorkeling off the reefs in crystal waters of Black Rock and Molokini. Can't wait to go back!

See more photos from this trip: https://www.flickr.com/photos/misscatlo/sets/72157627651100078/