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Crashing my motorcycle made me a better designer.
It’s a beautiful Saturday morning, and I’m laying in a bed of freeway gravel with a crushed knee and a broken arm.
Surgery comes next. Screws. Grafts. Plates.
In recovery, I discover a world no longer designed for me. My apartment has stairs, so I have to move out. Social events are dependent on wheelchair ramps. Reaching the toilet is an epic quest. Lucky for me, my stay in the poorly-designed world only lasted a year. For many, it is a life sentence.
A crash course in empathy evolved my thinking as a designer:
I used to think about design as a two-dimensional, linear discipline. It existed at one point in time on a two-dimensional rectangle: a screen or a piece of paper.
Now I see design as a dynamic, four-dimensional discipline — a way to intercede in people’s lives to fix shitty moments by understanding their needs. I still draw pictures on paper, but now I also concept solutions that reach beyond the two-dimensional: to digital helpers, physical activations, augmented and virtual reality, services — whatever the problem calls for.
As for my motorcycle, I fixed it up, rode it down the same stretch of road, then sold it.
Currently: Candidate for Master of Branding — Experience Design at the VCU Brandcenter (2019)
Formerly: Comparative Politics, Foreign Policy, and Nonprofit Publishing
Reading: The Economist, Invisibles by David Zweig, comic books (various).
Guilty Pleasure: Extremely bad branded video games.