I’d like to think I was intentionally ahead of my time, but if I’m being honest, it’s a coincidence I entered design through a multidisciplinary path of coding, social psychology, anthropology, and journalism. I cut my teeth on a Commodore 64, writing games and simple utilities in BASIC and designing the crude graphic interfaces. At university, though I majored in psychology and minored in anthropology, every minute I wasn’t studying I worked at the college newspaper, learning about journalism and layout. In grad school, when I realized experimental social psychology wasn’t where my passion lay, I assembled a portfolio by scanning photos from magazines and writing headlines and copy to go with them and secured a design internship. I was fortunate to work with people who were generous with their time and encouragement who helped me grow, and have always looked for opportunities to mentor others in return.
Twenty years later, I realize that every step of that path has contributed to how I work as a designer, think about brand and lead as a creative director. Even on days when my job is tough, I still love what I do for a living.
Growing up in Dubai in the 80's as it was becoming the modern city it is today, I was constantly exposed to the city's innovative architecture and design. Further exposure came through my dad who is a civil engineer and has a construction business. From early on, he would take me and my sisters with him on site visits, and I became fascinated as I saw how projects came to life from someone's vision. When deciding what to study in college, architecture was the obvious path. During my time at the University of Virginia, I took some elective courses in visual communication and that helped me narrow my focus on visual design. I ended up earning a master's in communication design at Pratt Institute in New York.
Over the last 15 years, I have had the opportunity to work across various sectors including healthcare, oil and gas and real estate. From leading major rebrands to art directing video shoots to working on digital and social campaigns, it has been rewarding to see my own creative vision come to life through design.
What we believe
As the landscape of design has evolved to include new media, roles, and technologies, we've always been guided by these fundamental principles when approaching a project.
Form follows function. Form can be subjective and vary aesthetically, but in the end it has to serve its purpose to be considered good design.
Keep the end user at the center. The first step of design thinking is empathy, which insures meeting the end user's needs is central to every step of the design process.
Less is more. The simplest solution is often the best one. When faced with a design problem, it's usually better to take something out rather than add something.
Inspiration can come from anywhere and anyone. When looking for a solution, don't be limited by "we've always done it that way", or by "leave it to the experts".
We've each had moments of frustration when we were trying to make something work without success. It was usually because we were not following these principles and were emotionally attached to an idea rather than being focused on the solution.
At first glance, non designers, and unfortunately some designers, may think these rules run contrary to what it means to be creative. But it's when we apply our own personal aesthetics while working within these rules we show our true creativity.
Why We Squabble
While we both agree with the above principles, it's when we're applying our own personal aesthetics that our differences come to light, and it's those differences we hope to highlight within this blog. We hope you'll join us and tell us what you think in the comments section.
If you want the whole story about how this blog came to be, including how the COVID-19 crisis played a part, click here.