7:48PM Jun 14, 2022
George Garrastegui, Jr.
Start with words. Don't Don't try starting with ideas. If you try starting with an idea without a concept and without a plan, you're just going, you're going to continue to experience more imposter syndrome. impostor syndrome never goes away. Let's just start there never goes away. But if you work at having a way to fight off the fact that you have an idea, this fixes that. Like if if designers could learn one thing, even in this process, you wouldn't be how to create concepts using a word map, because that will absolutely change the rest of everything that you do. And then understanding how to insert the uncommon inspiration. Stop. You know, just searching where everyone else is searching is like, if I could teach the entire design world, two things, it would be those two things.
Welcome to Works in Process, the podcast where I ask the hows and whys behind creative work. Take a ride with me, designer and educator George Gar rastegui, as I learn from my guests, there's not one way to being a creative for the endless possibilities fueled by passion, determination, and of course process.
And that was today's guest brandy See, Brandy is an award winning designer, educator and creative leader. She's been recognized for her poster design work, including judges choice at the 2016 Adobe Creative jam. Just as a 17. She was also awarded prestigious Alburquerque 30 Award from the American advertising Federation, which celebrates the 30 greatest ideas of the year. Freddie has also work as an adjunct professor at the Alma Mater southwest University of Visual Arts teaching advanced design concepts. She began her design career in 2001 and is actively involved in her local design community. Randy uses her 20 years of experience to help fellow creatives map out a plan to discover uncommon inspiration and produce more captivating design concepts to create standout work. Through her podcasts design speaks for online course of her YouTube channel and blog for any works to empower designers with the tools they need to stay inspired and create the work that gets noticed. Today I want to learn more about her ability to see inspiration and unusual things and how she developed the strategic process and approach for designers who look to strengthen their creative competence to make present design work that gets approved the first time. Now let's get into our Convo. Hey, Brady, welcome to the process podcast.
Hey, thank you for having me. I'm super excited to be here. No,
no, thank you. Glad to finally get you on the show. I know it's been a minute we were trying to figure it out to connect and it's great to finally get you on.
I know you'd think we would be less busy when we're doing so many things. You know, not in person, but I think it's the opposite. So it happens. I'm glad that we finally connected
definitely so glad. So before we get started, let's break the ice. Each episode. I'd like to start with a rapid q&a session. Are you ready?
Oh, I love this kind of stuff. I'm so ready. Awesome.
Coffee or tea? Oh, coffee, eggs or cereal?
Are we talking breakfast? Or anytime? Eggs? I guess. I like cereal because it's easy, but I like eggs if I if I don't have to cook them.
building brands or consulting them?
analog or digital?
Yeah, these are hard analog
strategizing, or podcasting.
I don't see how those are related. But let's go strategizing. Okay,
cool. And now some quick word association. So the first thing you hear of when you first thing you think of when you hear these words.
Creativity, strategy. determination, perseverance. Business pleasure. Failure, learning.
Community. Love. Education,
analog history, research.
Travel. Accessibility, fairness, future design.
And last but not least, process. Crucial. Nice. Nice. I like just doing this because it's kind of throws people off a little bit and they don't really focus too much on what you're gonna
say so great. Some of those events surprised me. I was like, I don't know.
I know sometimes when you get to that you're like really? Have you ever thought about it? Yeah,
no. I said they came out of my mouth though they all make sense for how I think so works out well. And I'm going to have some not tea right now.
Some naughty. So as we continue, I want to get a little bit into what I call your origin story, right and find a little bit of how you've been introduced Art and Design. How I became a superhero. You mean? Well, okay, that maybe that's the bigger question how you became a superhero in art and design, but work, where did you grew up and where you creative, artsy as a kid?
Okay, so I am born and bred in New Mexico, which for those of you who are not great at geography, is not Mexico. And we are a part of the United States. I grew up around Santa Fe, which is the capital of these Bannock family and I have always been artsy creative. My dad, avid collector of art of all sorts, and he's, he's got his own construction, design build construction company. And so I always saw him, you know, working with plans and creating things. And I have always loved to draw to paint. I mean, every kid loves to color I think, but I really was fostered in that by my parents to kind of pursue creative thing. So yeah.
Awesome. Awesome. So do you think your family or school played a larger role in you becoming a designer, or were you self taught?
Oh, becoming a designer, so my family was very, very supportive in my endeavors. So they always wanted to steer me in whatever direction I was, you know, leaning towards, so they definitely supported my career in every possible way. But I did go to design school. So I think it's probably a healthy mix of both my parents supported my creative my creativity from the time that I was like three years old and didn't want to wear match socks, because I thought it was more fun to do mismatch to, you know, high school where I was doing art classes, and all of that stuff. So yeah, I think is probably a pretty good mix of both. I knew I wanted to be a designer since I was 10 years old, my dad took me with him to work. And he just happened to be remodeling on some floors underneath a design studio that was on the second floor took me up to meet those owners just for fun, and I saw them making business cards. That's like, that's a 10 year old, you don't really know what that is I so at 10 years old, I decided I wanted to be a business card maker. Like that's what I thought it was. And I would like go for specific, yeah, I would go home and like cut out pieces of paper in the shape of like business cards and like, make that so I'm very blessed that I have always kind of know what I want to do. And I'm doing it.
So what was your first creative job? And how did you stumble into it?
My first creative job, okay, so I wouldn't say stumbled into it. Um, I've been involved with AIGA. For a long time, when I was in college, I was a junior in college. And they AIGA had a student group that I became part of, and through that they had a mentorship program, where they would insert designers that are going to school into sort of like an internship with a design firm, locally. So I started doing that my junior year with a design firm called Bad dog design in Santa Fe. And after a few months, you know, I guess the school was amazing. And I was learning really well. But I stopped being an intern and she actually hired me my senior year of design school. So I was she was like, you don't need to be sorting like Pantone Swatch Books, you should, you know, come in these meetings helped me strategize, like helped me do some design work. So I wouldn't say it stumbled. I think I worked super hard to do that. But it was something that I I don't think that I would have been here without that experience with a designer in the field. And then,
when did you consider yourself a creative?
Oh, you're probably always I would say I wouldn't. I wouldn't have considered myself a creative professional. Until like I actually graduated even though I had been doing paid client work since I started in college. I don't think that you know, the imposter syndrome is super real when you're spent. I mean, it's still real, right? Let's be honest. But especially when you're in school, you're like, Well, I'm not really a professional yet. Even though someone's paying me to do this. I have a process like I'm doing this stuff. I have my degree or I don't have a job or someone isn't like actively telling me you are a professional. So I would say I've always called myself creative. I've always felt like I am a creative but creative professional, probably not until after I graduate. He did from college.
So that's a distinction you kind of put on to it. Right? Yeah. You knew versus creative professional, right?
Because I think everybody's creative. Everybody in their own way.
Agreed. And I think people I think that's where I did the delineation, right. Like not being creative, but becoming a creative. Awesome, awesome. Thank you for that quick intro to to brandy where you started in, you know, not Old Mexico, but in New Mexico. You know,
so many people, you speaking Did you grew up speaking English. Yeah. It's the United States of America.
Yep. Right. So I followed design speaks the podcast, actually, before I knew who was behind the voice. Oh, my God, I didn't know that. That's amazing. But it's interesting to kind of see how we've had certain connections being part of the AIGA. And then realizing like, Wait, is that the same brandy? That's part of this. It's actually that and I'm like, Oh, crap. It's all the same person. So can you just give us a really quick intro? Like, how'd you get started with the podcast?
Oh, man. Okay, buckle up, because it's more than just podcast. So in 2015, I was being really frustrated in my design career by bad actors, let's just say in the design biz, locally, that I knew were ripping off other people's work, and they were getting paid, and getting lots of clients, but they were doing really sketchy stuff. And I was just getting really frustrated, because at the time, I felt like those kinds of people were taking my business. I know now, that's not the kind of business I want to begin with. But then it was still just like, Oh, why are these people getting work, they're not doing things, right. And there came a point where I decided, instead of just complaining, what if I just do something about it, like, maybe I can take the high ground, and perhaps, this person, or these people, maybe they don't really actually know, like, I'm going to try to give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they don't know that it's not okay to get a thing off Google and like, sort of, like, twist it and make it your own. So I thought, you know, what, I'm gonna, I'm gonna do a blog, I'm gonna start a blog and like, start writing about these frustrations, but in a productive, like constructive criticism sort of way to help maybe the people understand in the world that do these kinds of things, how to be better, and how to do things better, and how to have better processes around these kinds of things. From there, I was asked if I would be willing to do a YouTube channel, they're like, I love your blog, I love your design tips, it would be so cool if you did a YouTube channel. And I was like, I don't know, I don't know about that. And my husband's a video producer. And he was like, we could do it super easy. Like, we'll just set it up, record a whole bunch in a day. And like, they don't have to be long, it'll just be really easy. So from there, I started doing the same thing, just quick design tip, they called it design Tip Tuesdays, and just three to five, maybe seven minute videos on YouTube, where I'm doing the same thing, taking the frustrations that I have with a design industry or designers that I really want to help them be better. I want to help them grow, to do things, you know, have some design ethics around what they do. And from there, I realized that being on camera was fun. But it's different when there's someone sitting in front of you. So I talked with my sister, and asked her if she would be willing to do a podcast with me, and act as the non designer who comes and asks questions, maybe about things. So the podcast was kind of an answer to my frustration with clients and the world at large that don't understand slash don't value what we do, maybe because they don't understand. So again, taking these frustrations that I have, and trying to give the world benefit of the doubt that like, maybe they just say XYZ or ask these things because they don't know they don't understand. So I want to help show them how design speaks in the world. What it tells us why it's important. You know, we encounter it from the moment we open our eyes to the moment we close our eyes every day something is. So that is where that started is her bringing these questions about, you know, why does design cost so much and all of that stuff, and it sort of evolved? That was in 2017. It's actually five years this month, which is crazy. And it sort of evolved because she started learning things. She became a member of a creative team herself. And she was no longer like the non designer, non creative professional. And so it sort of morphed into something new. She left in at the end of 2019. And I got a new co host and so the target audience for me has shifted from being for kind of the world at large people that don't understand to being very targeted to solo designers or designers that work on some All our design teams that need support that need advice, that need better processes that need better ways to ask questions and things like that. So currently I am in the process of and this is actually the first time I've said this live anywhere, so it's okay, we're gonna just tell the word of mouth, I'm still going to be doing the podcast, but I'm going to be starting video first. So I'm going to be doing YouTube design speaks first, and then taking that and turning that into the audio podcast. So I'm going to be back in front of people talking, just like I am like that to the world on video more, and sort of having the podcast to be a companion to that. So hope that answers your question I knew was like going to be a long answer. Because it wasn't just I woke up, you know, today's I want to start a podcast, it was definitely a progression of things.
No, and the progression I think is is is real. And it's interesting, how you, you know, the impetus was the frustration, right in your local design community and feeling like you had something to say, and a blog is different, like you can be a writer, and you can position yourself on with words, but then putting yourself in front of a camera, and then shifting that to a YouTube channel is very different, right? You do have a script, you are still doing that. But maybe the idea of being in front is not everybody's forte, right? Was that a big challenge for you? Was that something that came naturally shifting from the blog? Because you had something to say, but then now being in front of people in a way where like, How do I look? How do I sound? How do I you know, for me, I talk with my hands right? thing, you have to be careful, you know, you hold coffee, so you don't
go watch all of my old YouTube channels, my husband told me you need to hold something. Because he's, he's a video producer. And I was I was always holding like a pin or something. And I'm like doing this or, you know, Hispanic talks or hands. And so I'm just like crazy. And he was like, here, you have your coffee, or your coffee. And so I would just pull my coffee all the time. So yeah, getting getting comfortable. I think that the hardest thing for me, I don't really love reading scripts. I don't. I don't like, exactly word for word, knowing what I'm going to say I'm not ever going, you know, I've presented a lot. I've done some keynote speaking now at this point, I've spoken in front of groups of people. And I realized that in order for me to be very comfortable, I need to just have an idea of what I'm going to say. And then I can let my own voice out and let me out. And it always works out way better that way. In the beginning, I was basically taking things that I wrote, trying to memorize them. And then getting in front of the camera, because it was only like three or five minutes, like I can do three to five minutes. But the like your literal voice sounds different when you are trying to read and process and talk. So I don't even think still that I have that completely down, I've definitely gotten a lot better at it. And that's something that I'm going to be exploring in this new iteration getting vessel to more regularly in conjunction with the podcast, because I have a lot of written content, I have hundreds and hundreds of posts of all kinds and things I've written that I've never talked about. So I'm going to be using the things that I wrote as a sort of script to be in front of the camera. But I think that Instagram and Tiktok have really boosted my confidence even more than just being on YouTube for all these years. Because it feels less formal, right, and I can just show up. So I think, now is the perfect time for me to try and do that. And, you know, it just takes practice. And I was not comfortable. My voice was I can't even watch them. There's my voice was super flat. And I just I'm just holding my coffee cup, and I just look really stiff. So I had good things to say. But I think that hopefully I've upped my, my confidence level and Matt
Oh, yeah, delivery is such a hard thing to to consider and when you're thinking about that, and that's why I was wondering the shift between written content, you know, to visual content, compared to then shifting to a podcast, which is it's different because there's healing hearing your voice or the inflections and things are different compared to hearing your voice, but then seeing what you look like right and doing all those things and, and noticing all the idiosyncrasies that you do on video and you're like, oh my god, right? Like, I moved my hands, I do this, I look to the side, right? You start to scoot, start to scrutinize yourself a lot. So when you start to see all the different variations and you know, it's not easy to do that. And I think you know, one of the reason though I haven't done really a video version is because of all of that. Right. And I think it's because of the practice that you have to say right I think the the intention is right to have like an outline to kind of keep you honest. But then you know if you're If you're too scripted, you know, you're you're too figuring out like if I said the wrong word, do I stop? Do I do this do it. And you know, that's, that's part of the the the practice of doing it live and not caring so much. And I like to hear that, you know, you said that like, tick tock has made it less formal for you, right? And the idea that you're not really so focused on perfection, let's say, right, and just really getting the content out is really the point. Yeah. Which I think is important, right? Because social media sometimes allows us to, like, create this false person of who we are. And it's nice that you're saying, well, actually, social media is allowing me to just like, just be who I am.
For me, it's definitely done the opposite. And I think that that, honestly, that did start with the podcast, because in the beginning, we were really doing a lot of high end, high level editing, where we're taking out all the all the Oz, all the like, silences, all the likes, because I say like a lot, you're gonna notice that it is. And I think over over the years, my husband was like, we need to just talk, you need to probably just practice, trying not to say, um, and ah, and really think before you speak, so that we don't have to do so much editing. And you're a professional speaker, it's good to practice trying not to say those things anyways, and not use editing as a crutch. So that was very much for me like a challenge to get better at speaking, get better at thinking through how I'm going to say things without naming and calling and realizing that even if you are silent, instead of saying or like, it's way better overall, and people get to hear you, they get to see the authentic you. And then it doesn't sound like you're reading from a script. Because if it's overly edited, too, sometimes I think that it does sound like someone's just reading from a thing. And you get discouraged, maybe as a fellow content creator, going man, they, they like have this down, not realizing that they are probably almost 100% editing out anything awkward or weird or uncomfortable about the thing. So I think that, getting that in the podcast, and then having the whole tick tock stories on Instagram, and now reels and things like that, from my brain and in conjunction has been very much. Okay, I know I can do this. This is how I talk. This is just how I am. I'm goofy, I'm quirky, and weird and loud and bold. And sometimes I say things people don't like, but that's just what I what I do. And I've never ever been one to overly curate on Instagram, I've I do like to curate my feet a little bit because I like color. And I like rainbow and I liked the way that looks. But that's not to give a false perception of anything. That's literally because that's what I like. So I think that yes, it has done the opposite. For me, I'm really worried about any kind of perfection, if anything, it's less so because if everyone's doing the perfection thing, right? That was really big A while back, I'm like, I'm not going to do that. Because I want to be against what everybody else is doing, which is also another part of my personality.
Right? It's almost like editing is like the photoshopping
Oh, absolutely. 100% Yeah, let's fix all of this and make it sound like you're a fantastic speaker, and they hire you to speak and you can't do it live.
Right and I'm in the practice is a big deal. And you know, both of us as educators, I think one of the things that I try to instill in my students is the fact that to be more comfortable with presenting the content and right whereas content creators as we're talking, as we're guest speakers, and things like that is to actually know the concept, right? Like, you know, if you don't know the content is going to come out in the way you present the information because it's going to sound like you need to practice it's going to sound like you're unsure, it's gonna sound like you're not willing to take that, that risk and the fact that, like you mentioned, having the ability to take a pause, instead of the arms likes, and all of those things is really, you know, owning that you may need time to think you may need time to reflect and, or you may need time to just figure out what you said, and maybe make an edit on the fly. But it's a definite different thing than saying, Well, I'm going to stop and we'll cut it and post and write and all of this stuff. So I think owning the content, right? And you're talking about you have all of this stuff that is going to that you've written in blogs and stuff like that, they just haven't really come out. So using that as the, you know, a stepping stone, right, you already have that. So it's part of you, it's already in you. So it's not like you have to practice right and I think that's a big thing that you know, listeners should understand is the fact that I think one of the reasons that people are you know tapped for speaking engagements and stuff like that is because of their perspective and points of views. And it seems like that's now going to shift a little bit into you know, how that's shifting from Justin auditory format to, you know, consider the video first, right like we're websites, we're like mobile first and yeah, don't worry about the desktop. You're gonna do video first and then worry about the past. That's interesting. Yeah,
that's gonna be we'll see it is a TBD. I'm starting to plan the episodes for this next season. So we'll see how that goes. But yeah, going back to what you were saying about understanding why basically knowing your reasons. So understanding why you do what you do when you present, makes presenting anything, whether it's a project or I don't know, whatever the thing may be a cake to somebody that's like a baking expert, like, knowing why you did something takes the stress away. If you already know why you did something, it shouldn't matter why people are asking you because you have an answer for them. That's why I really love especially anytime I get to do speaking engagements, and they have a q&a session. I'm all about that, because I love answering people's questions. And that's where you get to establish like, if there's anybody out there that like wants to be an educator of any kind or a voice, you know, that is recognizable, and an influencer, a design influencer, you have to be prepared for people to ask you, why about everything? And when you can answer why without having to look at notes without having to do any of that stuff. That's when you start to establish your credibility. And that's when people want to hire you, because they go, oh, this person knows what they're talking about. They didn't have to go back through some, you know, some old book from a professor, you know, so stuff like that is really valuable. Knowing your reasons.
I totally agree. Right? I think it's just a great way for us to be considered experts or, or versions of ourselves that really understand brands or design or society or culture, right, where we don't have to look back to, you know, our notes, or research the book or things like that. So I think, you know, part of it is just the practice to get there the do it more often. Is is really what gets us there. Yeah. Right. And so, as you're doing this, right, you said about five years, you know, definitely, it seems like a nice shift for you to have to start thinking about this new approach. And, you know, as we think about the podcast, and you know, when you said, it's not just a podcast, right, it's like a whole entire, like, ecosystem for you. There's a blog, there's a podcast, there's an approach you're doing tick tock and reels and videos, and, you know, changing from long form to short form and all of this stuff like that, right? When did you figure out you had this knack for, like, cultivating ideas?
Yeah, that's interesting that you ask it that way. I, I am a creative director. And that has always been something that I have had in me, I've always, I've always had the ability to think bigger to my personality. I know what you know about the Enneagram. I know some people feel weird about it. I'm an Enneagram. Three, which just helped me understand me better ultimately, because I am, I am an overachiever, I always want to do more in high school, I played three sports and was captain of two teams, and was just involved in all sorts of stuff. And I like to think big and have good ideas and have my hands and lots of things. So in that, I think that when I became a business owner of my own thing, which was in 2012, the, it was overwhelming at the, the the amount of things I needed to do, you know, before is when you're an art director or creative director in a, in a more like office place, they bring you the stuff, you you have like a manager that brings you clients or a project manager or marketing, Director, whatever. And then as the art or creative director, you direct the people that work under you. So that was like my experience. And that's something I still love to do. But when you when I took it home and was opening up my own business, all of a sudden, there's all sorts of things to do, that are very overwhelming all the boring business stuff. But then I realized I can do what I want. I can do whatever I want with this. And as the different opportunities right over the years have come from blogs and YouTube and podcasting, and Instagram. I was I was on Instagram since the beginning just posting weird filters on my daughter shoes or something like that was very artistic. Whatever year that was 2007 or eight. And I think that I don't have a problem coming up with ideas and figuring out a more things I can do. My problem comes from reining it in. I have I have so like I have an Evernote full of ideas of things that I want to do with this business or things that I hope I can achieve. I'm in the process of writing a book. And so there's just a lot that I know is just in my brain personality, that's just the kind of person that I am. I like to cultivate ideas for myself, but I really love to help other people cultivate their ideas, and build them up to be able to do things that like they did not even know were possible. And so that's really, that's really, I think my why is helping people to understand how to harness and take control of that creativity, not just be like, Oh, I'm a creative, but I also do design. And I know that's creative. But I can't really control when I'm creative. I just sort of when I'm feeling it, I'm feeling it. And, you know, I don't like that idea. Because I know that we are required as design professionals, with clients with deadlines that don't want that freedom, like we really don't, to kind of free flow and oh, well, you know, client. Today, I just wasn't feeling creative. So we're gonna have to push off that deadline, like another week, see if I can, like drink some coffee, maybe go for a walk, it's fresh air, because just really not feeling inspired. Like, sorry, that does not work, whether you're working for yourself, or you're working for an agency, or you're working in house, the real world of creative professionals is that we still have deadlines, I've had to do it for me. And understanding how to do that for myself has helped me understand how to help other people do the same. And I know that, if I answered your question, I get off. Hopefully that answered your question about creativity.
I mean, you know, we're talking about cultivating ideas, and it looks like you you, you have endless opportunities to cultivate ideas. And what you talked about is the reining it in, right, the editing process, the honing the honing it down. And I think that's really at the heart of what your strategic process is. Right. And so can you tell us a little bit of a what this is the strategic process, and how it's helped you rein it in? As you said,
Yeah, so the strategic process is what I call is basically my name for the creative process that I have the design, I would rather call it like a design process. I think the creative process is a bit broad and could be applied to any, you know, Illustrator, or fine artists, painter, photographer, but a design process that's strategic. It's just really different. And I think that when I ask people about their design, their processes, a lot of these steps, you know, will be similar. But the process that I have, I basically developed for myself over the years that like now I'm trying to teach people is something that is a very structured, step by step by step process to being the most creative. And I know that like for people that don't understand how this works, it sounds really, how can you have a step by step process for being more creative? A lot of people feel like if you're putting me in a box, you're limiting my creativity. And I want to, like get out, I want to think outside of the box. And what this process does. For me, what it has always done for me, is it creates the box. I don't know about you, but when I say this to people, usually they go Oh, yeah, you're right. If I were to just tell you, you know what, I need a house to build me a house. Or let's go cake. Build me a cake. Like Napoleon Dynamite. He's gonna, you know, Pedro is gonna build her a cake or something. Just build me a cake. And you go, Okay, what kind of cake? Just fill me a cake. Have fun, do it, do what you want. Okay, cool. I'm gonna go sit and stare at the aisle of things that I need to buy. And I don't know what cake to get. I don't know what to put on it. I don't know what to put inside. I don't know what shape you want. Like, there's just so many options. If I told you then, okay, I need a cake. It's gonna be for a 16th birthday. I was really hoping it could be some sort of fruit, you could decide on the fruit. But it needs to be the probably needs to be pink and gold with some like black accents. For a 16 year olds birthday party needs to feed about 30 people. All of a sudden now, you probably already even though I don't know if you're a baker or not, you probably already have like a picture and some ideas of what's going into this. And that's what this process does. It creates a box that you can work inside. So now you know what the sides are, you know the size, you know, the colors, you know, the fillings and the ingredients and the theme which is the concept. You know all of those things. And even if you and I and 10 other designers had those same parameters. Every single one of those cakes is going to be different because we are all different people and that's what This process does. And I really the reason that I came up with this process while I was using this process all through college, I sort of learned the start of this is the design brief, which I think a lot of people have variations on the design brief. But there are certain questions that I always start with in this brief, mainly, like, what are some adjectives that you would use to describe your brand? What are some things that you would like your customer, your dream customer to think about crafting a color story, after you learn all this stuff, a target audience story understanding on a deep level, who they are not just demographics, psychographics, like the the dumb bullet point marketing stuff, but like understanding the person because there is a real human on the side of every design. That is someone you're trying to speak to all of those things in the creative brief, were something that I learned about in college, but the thing that really is the linchpin of this process that I use is that I use a word map method to find a concept, the guiding concept for all of the variations of the design from the word map. Besides the concept, then you use the concepts to help you find your typefaces, your colors, your images, and graphics, all of those things, before you ever start touching the computer to to design before you sketch before you do anything. And then this thread of uncommon inspiration goes through the entire process, from the word map to researching brainstorming, there's a step for sleep, which is like a crucial, crucial element to this for you. After you do your research, and your style reference hunting, I don't call it inspiration because I feel like that's a completely separate element.
Sleeping on that and not looking at those references, and then waking up and sketching allows your brain to work them into your very own gray matter, so that you can then sketch from your own voice, and not just look at something here and sketch, or open up Pinterest and go, I really liked that I'm just going to change this font, and then I'm going to take you know, use that idea. That's not inspiration, that's still just like taking someone else's ideas and altering it. So after sleeping and sketching, then the rest of it is is very, very common. It's narrowing your options, right, executing your design, presenting it to the client, all of that stuff is pretty standard. But the first three, four ish steps, maybe even five up through sketching, because there's a lot of designers that don't sketch anymore. All of these things are something that makes this process really special. And any person that has ever tried it has been helped by it. And there was a point where I realized that this is really, really unique for me to use it. But my nature of wanting to educate and share and help designers be better. made me not want to keep it to myself. So I've been sharing that for years to help other designers. Like I don't want it to be my secret sauce. Like, I want to give it to everybody and help them you know, learn this thing so that they can stop being frustrated because creativity so hard.
I mean, first off, can I applaud you for you know, bringing in Napoleon Dynamite Vote for Pedro. Yeah. Cuz I think, you know, I literally I think we, we watched the movie a couple of weeks. Hey,
yeah, I just showed it to my 12 year old nephew. And he was all about it.
Yeah. But what I'm hearing also is obviously, you know, designing for yourself or designing what are parameters creates a heavy burden on the creative to kind of figure out where to start where to figure out how to adjust and and what you're doing with your your Mind Map method. Right is like you said, you're creating the box, you're creating the the rules, the where, like, how far can I go, it's within my own confines, because you figured that out. And then you can maybe decide that maybe I need to adjust the box, because now I want to take it a little bit further, but at least you have a place to start. And I think that's one of the biggest things that I noticed is one figuring out a place to start with all the ambiguity that comes from either clients, or really, especially when we're doing our own work. And we're like, we want to be able to do something, especially because we don't really have the right because we don't really have we kind of say I want to do this, but we don't really put it in the same lens that we would do a creative brief for our client because we know there's goals and metrics and objectives. And when we do it for ourselves, we don't necessarily think of those goals, metrics and objectives. But there are and I think this allows us a way to start the conversation, especially with our ourselves, like you said, especially hard for ourselves to say what do I want to achieve? Right. And as you ended your your, your conversation really quickly, it was like, you knew this wasn't something that you wanted to keep inside. Right. And so why do you think it was important for you to help other creatives? You know, with figuring out this and who are those creatives?
Yeah, I think it really all goes back to my original goal. When I started the blog, yes, that was frustration with bad designers, in my opinion, doing things poorly. But my, my goal in those in all of the things, all of the content I've created, over the past seven years, has been to help designers be better, and to stand out and to use their voice and to not use other people's work as a crutch to start trying to create their own because you're never, you know, you're, you're never going to be able to do something different if you're following everybody that's doing everything the same. And so, I think that that's, that's been the heart of it is I want to help designers be better, and be able to, you know, creativity is hard. Why are we making it harder on ourselves by by thinking that, like, if I just sit here long enough, I'm going to be hit by a bolt of inspiration. And then I'm going to, you know, create the best work I've ever created, and the client is going to be blown away. And I'm just going to have a thing, make a thing on the computer, present it and you know, all the stars will align and everything will be fantastic. It just, that's the way we act. And that is why people think that what creative professionals, primarily graphic designers do is like open up Photoshop and hit the magic Design button. And all of a sudden, there it is. And wait, wait, you
don't have that button. Oh, man,
you know what I do, but I'm keeping it to myself. So I'm just telling people that it doesn't exist. I think Man, it's like, yeah, we are all creative, right? Like we talked about, everyone's creative. Okay, so now we've shifted into creative professional, but we're still acting like we did at five years old, where we can just sit in front of, you know, at our little desk with crayons and make whatever we want and expect our mom to go this is, I'm gonna put it on the right, it's gonna be the greatest thing ever, I'm saving it for the rest of my life. I'm sorry, that's not how it works. And in order, we know, it's all about practice, it's all about cultivating a process where you can sit down, and know that in the next 30 minutes with this, you know, method that I have, like, I can create a concept. From there, I'm going to find colors and graphics and the typeface category that I want to research. And now I know that when I sit down, I can create something, because I'm going to start by creating a word map, then I'm going to create a concept, then I'm gonna have you know, and it just is like this waterfall effect that happens. Naturally, I don't have to sit here with a blank piece of paper, and try and think of an idea. Because docks were that's where the wall is for people is you know, and that's why brain even brainstorming sessions, I'm not really for brainstorming sessions, because unless you have a clear, a clear idea of what you're trying to do, you're just throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall and hoping it sticks. And while it may be a fun brain exercise in a group to, you know, just kind of shoot the breeze and talk about options and things. I still think and know from experience that when you start from this place and have a concept and some parameters first, then do the brainstorming with the team, then you go okay, our concept is, I don't know, shiny unicorns. Okay, well, now we know we're working with shiny unicorns. Now, what can we do with that? As opposed to Okay, folks, we need an ad campaign for 10 to 15 year old girls. Give me something. Right, okay. Right.
Right, we need to be focused, right, instead of ambiguous and I think this one of the things that I'm hearing also is the idea that, you know, some of the processes that we use are still art process, not design process. Right. And you know, as we all right, as we all grew up, we you know, we're sitting in front of our desks, we have crayons, that's art, right? That's there's no intention. It's just to get something out of your head and put it on paper right? But when you're looking at At design, there's purpose, there's intention that I think one of the things that when you were talking, I was reminded of when I was in art school, one of the most daunting things was having that literal blank canvas, right? It was a brand new, you open it from the plastic, and it was like, I don't want to do anything to mess this white right hand.
Even one line, that's wrong, NAFTA, erase it, the number is ruined,
right, she was like, the first thing you need to do is get the dirty water from your can and put it all over your your canvas. So you don't think of that as a perfect thing anymore, that you cannot mess up. And once you do that, it changes your mindset to be like, Oh, I can put a mark on that. So I think it's really important that you brought some of those things up. And do you think this this process that you're uncovering that you figured out, changes if you work for a large or a small client or even yourself
know that, like there's, and I know I'm biased, because it's, it's my thing, but there is literally no one no group, no client, no project. Anything that needs a concept this works for. So if you are a screenwriter, or a you know, a movie producer, or an author, obviously this works for authors, because it's a it's a literary method, like I took a literary method, because I love literature, I love English. And I have figured out a way to use it to create creative concepts. And so this is not just for design, or designers. But that is my world. That is who I know and love. And that is what I I know, but I have I have had other people ask if this would work for them and various other creative professions, and it does work. So to answer your question, if you use it for yourself, treat yourself like a client and you are then the client. And that works for a personal project, it works great for a personal project. Because often those are the ones we don't know, right, I just want to make something. And I use it all the time for my own personal projects. If you have if you are in a position where you are just like me, and you're working by yourself, for clients, it really works for that too. Because you don't have anyone to bounce ideas off of, a lot of times, you are having to try and figure out stuff on your own. It also works with teams, because the word map method is incredible to do with teams where you're trying to come up with a concept of the group. And then you come up with that concept and those parameters together. It also works for agencies like so the size of the project, the size of the agency, or the creative practice, like it doesn't matter because it's about having a thing that creates those parameters. So you're trying, you're not starting with an idea. It helps you craft a plan so that you can figure out your ideas. And everybody needs that every every organization that does creative work, as a business needs a way to set up those parameters. And a lot of people go from the brief to the ideas, or the brief to the sketches or the brief to the computer or the brief to the marketing plan. And what this process does, is instead of trying to bridge that gap, like instead of there being this gap, where you jump from the brief over into starting the creative work or starting the ideating you create a bridge with this word map method that gives you a way to get from here to there, where you're not just making these random creative brain leaps from one thing to the other, hoping it makes sense. You are using a strategic plan that says now I have a concept that gives me the parameters I need to cultivate those ideas and those those things even better.
And so, you know, with this, right, your ability to share your your methodology and have a course that helps you know, people think about their own strategic strategic process. If there was one thing, What one thing do you want creatives to take away from being empowered by your strategic process?
Start with word. Don't, don't try starting with ideas. If you try starting with an idea without a concept and without a plan, you're just going you are going to continue to experience more imposter syndrome. impostor syndrome never goes away. Let's just start there. It never goes away. But if you work at having a way to fight off the fact that you have an idea. This fixes that. Like if designers could learn one thing, even in this process. It would be how to create concepts using a word map because So that Welch absolutely changed the rest of everything that you do. And then understanding and that's a whole other topic, how to insert the uncommon inspiration and stop, you know, just searching where everyone else is searching is like, if I could teach the entire design world of two things, it would be those two things. And my process, like the, the strategic process is not meant to like, replace anybody's process. I'm not going here, mine's better. Forget everything, you know, and just plug this into yours. It's a series all the way this entire thing works. These two things will be crucial if you insert them into your own process. And the rest of this is bonus ways, you know, different ways of thinking about research different ways of how to present to your clients, but things that they're already doing that maybe they can just improve a
bit. So powerful, right? I mean, you update I asked you for one, you gave me two,
yeah, sorry, I can't it's like, for me, it's like they, they work in tandem with each other. Because the reason that the word map method works so well, is because every single person's are different, because our brains are all different. So those word maps, if, like I said before, with like the other example, if we're all working on the cake, right, they're all going to look different. And the same goes for this word map, I've done this in workshops with two dozen people, where I give them the start, you know, all the things, they need to start the word map. And every person comes up with a different concept. And therefore a different design, even though the, the starting parameters are the same, because everybody's brains work differently and make those connections in different ways. In that word, map. And so that's the beautiful thing about how that plays into our experiences, our creative voices, and takes that once you take that and work in your own uncommon inspiration, understanding what you what you see in the world that inspires you capturing those things, and then being able to access those, like when you need them for your projects, instead of just getting on Pinterest or Behance. And going, I'm designing a cake for a 16 year old girl help, like basically is what we do. And then it's like oily that one, I'm gonna do something like that. And this takes that out of the equation, and it puts you and your voice, front and center to solve your client's problem to appeal to their audience.
I love that. I love the idea that we're not looking at other things to be inspired by, or to potentially steal, you know, and not on purpose. But obviously, when you look at inspiration, sometimes it just creeps into your brain. And you're trying to empower us to be more of us being the person that's really dictating understanding the needs and using our own voice first. And that's a really powerful thing that I think our listeners should really understand. So as we start to, like, you know, finish off our conversation, I just have some final questions that I want to get into and yeah, learn some more insight from you. So as a designer, podcaster educator and business owner, what is something new that you'd like to explore creative wise?
Yeah, man, I actually have a list of things that I want to learn this year. One of them is NF T's, which is probably something that a lot of creatives are trying to understand right now. I I really want to I haven't worked with Premiere Premiere Pro, like editing video since I was in college, even though that's, you know, that's my husband's thing. And he usually edits my videos for me, but I really want to be able to do that on my own if I decide to so um, if he's not able to do it, because he's at work and I just want to throw together a quick video. I want to relearn I guess, the premiere pro stuff so that I can be a little more self sufficient. On the pro side of video editing, I can edit just fine on on tick tock on the little apps I have on my phone, but I really want to learn some more of that. And I really want to get better at copywriting. That's something that I'm, I've never been great at, I can write. I'm writing a book, I know how to write things. But copywriting for marketing and business purposes, is kind of a whole other level and a different approach. So I think that I know how to strategize. I know how to direct creative and things and then understanding how to use that in a in a more copywriting sort of sense that those are like the top three things that are on my list for really getting better at right now.
Awesome as a creative What are you still inspired by?
Why are you giving me softballs I am inspired by this is gonna sound goofball but if people follow me they know this is true. I'm inspired by everything I have. I this is the other thing when it comes to the odd This is what uncommon inspiration is uncommon inspiration is finding and seeing inspiration in every thing and everywhere, even over the pandemic, when I am, I'm a high risk person. So I wasn't really able to go anywhere for almost a full year, just having to stay in my neighborhood. And thank goodness, I have a nice house that I was pulled up in. But that really challenged how I find inspiration everywhere, whether it's movies, and I see a color palette that I really appreciate, if it's if I'm out for a walk, and I see shadows that are creating an interesting pattern, I capture those, and I can save that for later when I travel. So I guess the one one thing that I love the most is travel. But in that, there's there's really no difference between that and using those same methods of like awareness when I'm traveling, and using that at home. So if I go downtown to my own downtown, which compared to New York, or had been is a completely different downtown, but switching on your awareness, goggle and being ready to receive inspiration, everywhere. So that's the other thing where the whole finding a concept. And having those parameters really impactful in your design. ideating is that if I have a concept, and I know my colors ebb, I know sort of the kind of graphics I'm looking for, I can then if I have the opportunity, take a pause, go visit or I've definitely gone on trips, while I'm like at that point and a client project. So I've got my, my parameters all set, and then it's like okay, taking a break, I'm going on a vacation for the weekend, I have now tuned in my awareness Perceptor to that concept, those colors, those sorts of graphics and images and patterns and textures and things that I need to be on the lookout for. So now I can go out into the world and go, Oh, I don't know what was it shiny unicorns or something? I'm looking for shiny things. Okay, I'm going to take pictures of reflections on water, I'm going to take pictures of maybe how the sun bounces off these windows in this high rise apartment building. So to answer your question, I find inspiration, literally everywhere, I could look around in any given space, and tell you what I find inspiring and why. And that is really the key is not just feeling inspired. But knowing why it inspires you thinking about how you can use it later and capturing it. So you have your own little inspiration library that you can access. I think
one of the big things I just heard, right is the the being able to receive inspiration, right? I think being aware that there is inspiration all around us and two things, one, just noticing that your surroundings are there to inspire you. But then also being very strategic and knowing that if you have something that you're working on, you have something to go to, to look out for those things, right. So there's almost like two things going on one being just allowing yourself to take in the world and not be so focused on just like our phones or this or you know, all the crap that's happening in the world, but actually being inspired by all this, but then also saying, if you are working on a client project or your own work, now actually going out and looking for the things that will make it, you know, beneficial for you. So it's no longer just computer based. But yeah, so which is so empowering, because I think we're so used to saying, Well, how can I use the outside influence to gain inspiration? And you're giving us the tools, right? You're just letting us to say that you understand? You see it, but you have to now understand it. Right? That's like a thing,
understand it and then use it because a lot I think I think again, going back to the we're we often think because we are artistic that we we fall back on these art based methods that don't help us and then we get frustrated because we go Oh, well. I'm feeling really stuck. Okay, I'm just gonna go for a walk. clear my head. Okay, great. Um, you're probably still going to be stuck when you come back. Because that's great. You got some fresh air and maybe, you know, sometimes clearing our head that way does like bring some sort of clarity. But how often do you come back and just feel a little bit better about being stuck? You're just like, oh, man, that felt good for coffee. Talk to some friends around the water cooler. Like, all right. I feel like I can tackle this being stuck thing. A little better now, but you don't have any way to get unstuck. You're still just stuck.
Right? So dealing dealing with that right now the conversely of what you consider the softball quit the inspiration is what do you still struggle with?
I think that I I struggle with my time, more than anything. So what I have found is beneficial. And this, this is something that I tell people all the time. And the process is the reason that this strategic process works so well. And the reason that it, I think has something that I have needed over the years is each step, you can put time parameters on them. And or so in the research base, because I, depending on if I'm searching for style references, or lucky enough, like an era or something like that, if I'm searching for style references, I often go through my own photos of things that I've taken, and also use some lovely books that I have here on my bookshelf. And even that I set parameters of, I'm only going to look at five books, I'm going to choose them very specifically for whatever the project is that I'm working on. And then I'm going to stop because otherwise, I can look at all because of the tendency to find inspiration everywhere and finding things interesting about just about anything, setting time parameters has been really key. And that is probably where I struggle the most. So I use everything from the Pomodoro timer, depending on the project to I have set playlists for each step in the process. So there's a there's a playlist for working on, you know, figuring out the design brief, after I have the conversation with the with the client, like making sure all my things are filled in, I have a playlist for the word map, which is like an hour and six minutes. If I'm not done with the word map, and an hour and six minutes, which is a long time, and I usually don't need that much time I stop. So usually the the time stuff is, is not great, I need like an assistant to tell me like the stop signs that stop working.
I love the idea, though of setting playlists where it's like you using, you know, one part of your brain but also, you know, figuring out a time or within that but also not just having this like weird, ambiguous like clock ticking down and having that like pressure of time versus like, at least still enjoying yourself and saying, hey, when it's over, then that's my, you know, time to spending on it. That's a great technique. I really think that that can empower a lot of people to kind of utilize music as a way as a timing method versus just, you know, Oh, here's another little app, I need to get on my computer or set a timer on my phone with this really annoying, you know, alarm? And I think that's a great way to adjust that.
Yeah, well, I've written a lot and talked a lot about how do you like to hack your brain, because not only is it something that you can use music is a huge part of my process. It's sort of like the the underlying contributor to, to the process is it can act like Pavlov's dog. When I turn on, when I start the playlist or the word map, my brain immediately shifts into we're using words for things right now. And all of that music is strictly instrumental, so that the words you're hearing are impacting what you're working out on the page. So for the word map, I have this certain playlist that is this, as soon as I turn that on, I know that's what I'm working on. So it also eliminates the trying to get into the zone and like trying, which is something that's also super hard for creatives is like getting into that creative space. And if you have a playlist that, you know, works, that, you know, inspires you that you know, you know triggers something, use that thing. So then when all the way you know I have all these different playlists. So by the time I'm actually designing and creating something on the computer, it's time to do that the playlist that I have there is very upbeat, it's songs that I know well, that I don't feel the need to try to listen to the lyrics to. But there are lyrics. And as soon as I hit play on all each and every one of these playlists that I have set up for these steps in the process very strategically. My brain knows what it's working on. And it knows what it's supposed to be doing. So not only is it a good timekeeping thing, but it's also a really great brain hack. To just like, okay, brain. This is what you're supposed to be doing right now. Let's do this.
Love it. Love it. That's a great brand hack. And so one last question. What advice would you give a younger brandy entering the industry today?
A younger brandy. Ooh, no one's ever asked me that. They will ask me what I would tell young designers. Oh, boy, what would I tell young me? I would tell young me that it doesn't have to be perfect. Before you share it. What whatever it is. That is definitely still that's a struggle that I've gotten a lot better at sort of that we talked about before. But even right now as we sit here I'm sitting on three completely finished To design projects that I've been wanting to share with people on Instagram or wherever, and thinking, how am I going to share that as what's going to be best? Like, should I talk about it on YouTube channel? Should I put it on on a reel or a slideshow, like, even though I'm not worried about the work being perfect, there's still a level of like, just do something, just share it, just say something. And so I would tell young brandy, it doesn't have to be perfect to share it.
Agreed. Agreed. I think the the the perfection thing does get a lot of designers and especially when you're putting stuff on social because that aspect of social as a place where everything looks polished. And we get so caught up in that. And I think what we do you know, what you're doing with process and mind maps, and what I'm doing with talking about, you know, the the reasons behind the stuff that we do, you know, is to get into those conversations and those uncomfortable moments that we all know happens and elevate those more often than just the perfect finished, beautiful thing that we see. Because too much of that means that people are focusing on that goal, and not really focusing on producing great work. And I think there's a big difference in between those. So that is definitely something that affects all of us, right? Just like impostor syndrome. That is amazing. That is amazing. People it's
not practice makes perfect. It's practice makes progress, because perfection just isn't even a thing that exists. So exactly, there's there's that.
So lastly, where can our listeners find out more about you design speaks podcast or the strategic process?
Yeah, you can basically find all of my firstname.lastname@example.org and it's brandy with C like the body of water SCA. If you just search brandy C you can find all of my stuff connect with me on basically any social thing. I'm I primarily do a lot on Instagram and Tiktok. But I do interact a lot on LinkedIn as well. My course is linked on my website, it should be linked in the bio of my Instagram account. And the podcast is called Design speaks podcast and is available anywhere you like to get your podcasts. So I think that's everything My YouTube channel is Brandy. See, so again, if you just search me on almost any platform within reason, you'll probably find me
definitely right and when I was doing research for this right when you look just type in Bernie see that's all you get you just to get Randy's information in the podcast and everything cuz there's only one me. Exactly. So you're doing a lot of a great job in controlling that that content. And you know, once again, thank you so much for, for taking the time to chat and really, you know, shed light on how this process really unlocks people's creativity. And, you know, I can't wait to see more how you're shifting the podcast from, you know, strictly auditory to you know, video first. And what else heard it here first, folks? Yes, you heard it here first. And we'll hopefully we'll get this episode out by the time it's actually going live. So, you know, to kind of be a great Kismet moment. But I will continue to follow your journey and support you and your creative community overall. Thank you so much again for being on this episode. This has been works in process.
Thank you for having me
I'd like to thank my guest brandy See, I can't wait to find out what's in store for the podcast and its transition to a more visual content. If you want to learn more about the links the people and organizations mentioned in our conversation, please check out the show notes of the podcast player or visit our website WIP.show. The works on process podcast is created by me, George Gatto state you junior, and the content and transcriptions that we reviewed by Or Szyflingier. You can find works in process on all media platforms such as Apple, Spotify, Google and more.
And if you liked the episode, feel free to give us a rating on Apple podcasts. It really helps. I appreciate you taking the journey with me and I hope you enjoyed this conversation. Until next time, remember, it's not always about what you create, but how you create it