I think my favorite part of design I have experienced so far is the versatility of the tool that is design and visual communication. I love that communication of an idea is first and foremost, but the possibilities are endless in the ways in which you present an idea, the emotions it conveys and the story it can tell. In my career goals I am particularly intrigued by the ability for deliberate design to be a tool in provoking contemplation of new concepts and positive change. I hope to bring my loves of publication design, typography and illustration into my work in the future. Outside of design I am passionate about travelling, learning French (and more new languages soon), interior design, the color yellow, eclectic music playlists, my plants, animals (all of them), hiking up mountains but also the beach, postcards, boots, fried okra, spring rolls, paprika, and tea, just to name a few things. I grew up constantly surrounding myself with dance classes, playing flute in band, piano lessons and taking every art class I could. Creativity in many different forms has always been a value in my life. I look forward to developing that side of myself even more and use my passion for creative problem solving throughout my career.
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Glowforge is a company that makes 3D laser printers for anyone and everyone to be able to create. They focus on creating magic at the touch of a button and I can truly say that it is a magical experience to laser cut your design for the first time. Creating something in real life that you just envisioned in your head and see it come to life is a really gratifying experience. Glowforge started in 2015 after setting a 30 day crowdfunding record. Based in Seattle the start-up has been growing steadily since it’s beginning. “A world where anyone can print anything” is the goal that Glowforge is working towards. In order to get there they hold themselves to their four cornerstones; Hire diverse and amazing people, take care of each other, delight our customers present and future, build value for ourselves and for our company. It can be easy for a company to say they value certain things publicly, while not necessarily practicing said ideas, but Glowforge is an exception. Almost each week in the company wide Friday meetings an image of a plaque with the cornerstones is shown and at least one of those values was talked about or referenced in relation to a current project happening in the company. It is obvious how much they care for each other as well as their customers by the genuine, close knit environment that the people of Glowforge have intentionally created.
Throughout the process of creating designs at Glowforge in a medium I was not used to, I was often reminded of advice I have often received as a designer but struggle with practicing; to not hold on too tightly to the very first idea you have and always be open to new possibilities. At one point I remember Shell mentioning to me that my first test prints were really more prototypes than the finished product. This was so true, no matter how much you lookover and double check your illustrator file there is no way to truly see how a print will turn out until you try it out for real. Some perfectionism and fear of uncertainty often presented itself in the form of not wanting to try printing something until I was convinced it was perfect, but over time I realized that sometimes the only way to really succeed in the end was to try it out and fail first. I discovered that often time I actually ended up enjoying the puzzle solving aspect of printing something out and then having to figure out how I could design it in order for it to be constructed in a better way or be more streamlined. I appreciate how my time designing with the Glowforge helped me practice experimentation while becoming more comfortable with uncertainty and being open minded about the outcome.
My favorite part of my time with Glowforge was the ability to design things on the computer that ended up coming to life in 3D. Throughout school and the design world in general so much of our work never strays from the confines of pixels and screens. That combined with the summer of 2020 being more confined to the indoors than ever, made my internship with Glowforge a very welcome change of routine. My general routine for designing prints involved talking with Jack and Shell about what the theme would be for our next set of designs. I would then create a pinterest board of images and ideas relating to that theme (wearable accessories, party decor, etc.). After that I sketched different ideas I had so we could then all meet and decide on which to pursue. The next step was creating the svg files and after that the test printing would begin. Finding the correct material and measurements for pieces often took some problem solving and a “try try again” attitude but figuring out a design in the end felt very rewarding.
During a time when interactions can seem so impersonal through computer screens, slack messages and emails it can be difficult to feel like you actually get to know people without ever even shaking their hand. From the beginning of my experience the people of Glowforge really made me feel like they were genuinely interested in creating space and getting to know me. On my first day I had a meeting with the founder and CEO of the company, Dan. Meeting people like Dan, Bonny and Miriam on the first day was such a warm greeting and that energy of genuinely wanting to create a friendly community turned out to be something I quickly saw was paramount to their values as a company. Shell and Jack were my design mentors and general go-to people throughout my internship. They both made my experience at glowforge truly enjoyable, always willing to lend a helping hand and made brainstorming, planning and everything in between an enjoyable experience . The kindness and genuineness to help me out and be both resources and friends throughout my time at Glowforge is something I really appreciate.