Summary: Revision Path is a showcase of the world's Black graphic designers, web designers, and web developers. Each week, Maurice Cherry interviews these designers and developers about their work, their inspirations, and more.
Marco Rogers is the engineering manager at Clover Health, a unique health insurance plan focused on driving down costs and producing improved health outcomes. Marco also writes small novels on Twitter (his words, not mine!) on everything from the current state of the tech industry to issues dealing with inequality and social justice. That's quite an intersection! We talked about the work he's doing at Clover Health, touched on the always hot topic of diversity in the tech industry, and learned how he's changed in the past year as an engineer and as a manager. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to speak with Marco, and you can tell that he takes an immense amount of pride not just in his work, but in ensuring that his work affects change. Dive in and enjoy the interview!
You may know about Justin Edmund from one of two places -- his turn as a child actor in the 1996 holiday classic "The Preacher's Wife" or as Pinterest's first design hire (who USA Today profiled last year about being Black in Silicon Valley). What more is there that you could know? A lot! We talked about his shift from acting to technology, his time at Carnegie Mellon, the early days of Pinterest, and his focus on using design to solve big problems and help the less privileged among us. Justin's also on the crossroads of a pretty big life change, so I'm really glad for the opportunity to talk with him about what he's got in store in the future. Enjoy!
When it comes to design, Gus Granger is no stranger. As the principal of Dallas' premiere brand communications agency 70kft, Gus works with clients and oversees a team focused on providing design, public relations, and digital marketing services to their clients. We talked about how Gus started his company from the ground up, the current climate surrounding diversity in the technology and design communities, the importance of AIGA for students, and his recent project from Studio 360 which involved designing a new symbol for the South. Gus is a really positive and inspirational example of excellence in our field, and I'm really glad to have the chance to share his story with you all. Enjoy!
I was introduced to Sheila Owens through a fellow Morehouse alum, and wow -- what a discovery! Sheila has over 30 years of software development experience to her name, and she's currently doing Android development using Java. We talked about how her entry into computer science was a bit of a fluke, her work for the United States Government, the experience of teaching computer science, and her advice for up and coming programmers. Sheila's got quite a story, so make sure you check out what she has to say!
This special interview with game developer Olivier Madiba was a real treat. Olivier is the founder and CEO of Kiro'o Games, the first video game studio in central Africa (Cameroon, to be exact)! We recorded this interview during their Kickstarter campaign to raise money for their first title -- African-fantasy RPG Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan -- and I'm happy to report that the game is now fully funded! Our interview talks about how Olivier first came up with the idea for the game, how he managed to garner support for building a game company in Cameroon, the next steps of growth for the company, and about the challenges of game development in Africa. It's a short interview, but I'm so glad for the chance to talk with Olivier and share his story and his work. I'm really excited to see what else Olivier and Kiro'o Games has in store!
I met Vanessa French-Harris when I spoke in Raleigh this month for the Hopscotch Design Festival. We spoke a bit before and after my talk, and I knew she would be fantastic to have on the show. Currently, she's the graphic design manager at Meredith College, and she has decades of experience in this industry. We talked about her time at Parsons in NYC and her work in the NYC design scene, her illustration work, and her priceless advice for designers in the field right now. I'm so glad I had the chance to connect with Vanessa, and I think you'll get a lot of gems out of this interview. Enjoy!
I had a blast chatting with Ire Aderinokun, a UI designer and front-end developer in Lagos, Nigeria. You may have seen Ire mentioned on CSS-Tricks for her writings over at Bits of Code, a blog she created for self-taught web developers. We talked about what Ire's learned since launching Bits of Code, how she got into web development after getting degrees in psychology and law, the booming tech and startup scene in Lagos, polyphasic sleep, and her advice for budding developers. Keep an eye out for Ire!
"You can create your own path. Trust yourself." When Tiffany Mikell told me this before we recorded, I knew we would be in for a great conversation. Tiffany is doing a ton of work these days as CEO of Black Star Media and technology director of Trans*H4CK, a hackathon and speaker series for the trans and gender non-conforming community. Tiffany and I first met in person at SXSW, so that's where we started things off. From there, we spoke about the successes and future plans of both Black Star Media and Trans*H4CK, their recent grant endowment, and the power of educational technology solutions for communities of color (specifically, Black communities). I'm excited to see what she'll have in store in the future!
Theresa Stewart is an interaction designer for gravitytank, an innovation consultancy in Chicago, Illinois. Her enthusiasm for interaction design is deeply rooted in her love of problem solving and she has helped companies craft meaningful solutions in a range of industries including consumer electronics, retail, and healthcare. We started by talking about her work at gravitytank, and then moved into discussing the concept of play in design, the type of health data wearables should track, and her recent time in Iceland attending DesignMarch part of AIGA's Spring B'Reykjavik. Thanks to Amy Schwartz for the introduction!
Kaya Thomas' star is on the rise! Maybe you've heard of her because of her popular iPhone app We Read Too. Or maybe you know her as one The Root's 2015 Young Futurists. Or maybe you've seen her on stage at Black Girls Rock being honored by First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama! It's all in a day's work for this Dartmouth computer science sophomore. We talked about her work and the importance of visibility for Black developers (specifically Black women), combating unsupportive company culture, and what it means to be supportive of diversity. There's no sign of things slowing down for Kaya, and I'm so excited to share this conversation with you. Kaya Thomas is a superstar!
Harlo Holmes is someone I've wanted to have on the show for a long time. I first heard about her work when she was a research fellow with The Guardian Project, and now she's a digital security trainer with the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Throughout her career, Harlo has been solving all the puzzles that new media presents in a number of different ways as a software developer, media scholar, and activist. We started off talking about her past and current work, which then segued into a great discussion about metadata, the Internet of Things, and some of the current and new problems that we're all facing with data security as we live in a digitally-connected world. Harlo is definitely someone you'll hear more about in the future, and I'm super stoked to have her come on the show.
School might be out for the summer, but learning never stops when Tamika D. Williams is around. She's a photographer and a working designer, and is an associate design professor at Alabama A&M University who is responsible for coordinating the graphic design program for the school's visual art department. A large chunk of our conversation is about design education at HBCUs, but we also touched on diversity in design academia and talked about what students need to do to succeed as professional designers. Tamika's enthusiasm and dedication to the craft of design is really inspiring, and I'm thrilled to share this conversation with you all. Enjoy!
I'm ending off June with an absolutely amazing interview with design educator Silas Munro. Over the years, Silas has collaborated with some huge names in the art world, such as MoMA, the Walker art Center, and GOOD. (He even taught one of our previous guests on the show -- Ariana Farquharson!) We spoke a lot about design education and pedagogy, touched on diversity in the field of design vis-à-vis competitions like ADC Young Guns, and explored the notion of an African-American/Black design aesthetic. I love his idea that designers can operate along several different modes of creativity, and his work is living proof of that. It's an exciting time to be a designer thanks to people like Silas!
Seun Erinle definitely has her hands full. She's 1/2 of the Chattanooga-based design company Grid Principles, she teaches students ages 12-18 about website development through her program A.I.R. Labs, and she's the creator of BlerdNation, a growing social network for the Black nerd community. We talked about how she managed to juggle it all, what she's learned since becoming an entrepreneur, and the bustling tech scene across Africa (particularly Nigeria). Seun's upbeat attitude and persistent nature has definitely set her up for success. Learn more about her in this week's interview!
I first heard about Alpha Bah from an introduction by Michael Rain. Alpha is the creator of ZNews Africa, an Android app that provides the latest news content from across Africa. We spoke about how he got the inspiration to create ZNews Africa, what he's learned from his time at Columbia University, and the importance of creating platforms for Africans to tell their stories. If you want to learn more about what's going on in Africa, check out what Alpha is up to! Thanks for the intro, Michael!