kindling / experiences and experiments

Are you hungry?

I read an article Ben Pujji wrote called The Hungry Designer yesterday. It’s a good piece; I agree with what he wrote, especially these bits:

They push to make things better, they create the momentum which drives their whole team forward.

The hungry are the ones who are forever starting conversations with their teams about better ways to design.

Feedback is great — but it’s the lowest form of collaboration. It requires little effort for the giver but can quickly become burdensome for the recipient. […] The hungry are embracing any new form of collaborative design they can find. They’re searching for ways to design closer together, to iterate each others (sic) ideas, and bring other core members of the software team closer towards design.

I have been talking about leadership and management with my boyfriend recently. We both run a two-person design studio. I am the design lead at my own, so I usually assume the position of art director when working with other creatives. I was reflecting on a recent experience with two freelance designers when the topic of building a top-grade team came up.

What makes a designer desirable in my eyes? Competent software skills and decent understanding of design fundamentals are necessities. It’s hard to design a beautiful publication with someone whom I have to teach typesetting basics. But more important than those attributes is attitude: I want to work with people who are passionate about learning and growing.

My ideal candidates are people who are innately curious. They care about what’s going on in the world around them. They draw inspiration not only from Dribbble or Behance, but also architecture, film, fashion, science, and more. They are self-motivated; they do more than what I ask when they feel what I’m asking isn’t enough. They aren’t afraid to ask for clearer instructions or help, or correct me when I’m wrong. And neither do they fear asking stupid questions – they know there are no stupid questions. They take pride in their work, so they try to do better work in better ways. In other words, they are hungry.

(If that sounds like you, please write in to hearth@ashes.co with a self-introduction and/or portfolio.)

In other news, I went on an enjoyable 2.5-week long vacation in Japan last month. My boyfriend and I visited Tokyo, Kyoto, Okayama, Naoshima, Koyasan, and Osaka. We were blown away by amazing food, had a lot of fun cycling in Kyoto and Naoshima, and missed two domestic flights. I took some photographs but haven’t processed them. I’ll try to post some on my photoblog before June.