I am a designer and constantly reevaluating what my niche is. Maybe it is the naive child in me, but I still believe that one can design their own career based on the crossover between their passions. I had a realization that designing for pharmaceutical companies isn't exactly why I went to art school. But, when I am designing something that I love, my life is a little closer to perfect.
Back to the crossover between one's passions, I chose the subject of my side project based on a Venn Diagram. Imagine drawing a Venn Diagram where one circle represents your career, and every other circle represents each interest that you have. Now make all the circles touch, but in real life. For example, I love craft beer, I like playing with typography and I enjoy games. So, I started a passion project that involves craft breweries, typesetting beer quotes and playing the I'm gonna guess your favorite beer game.
I started by pairing my favorite beers with a quote about beer to strengthen my typography skills. It got interesting when I pondered if the person responsible for the said quote was alive, what beer could I imagine him drinking? When drawing characteristics of that brand and forcing the type into the parameters of a coaster, a new challenge came into play. How could I create a system for the beers that belonged to Chicago, while hinting to the brand enough to be recognizable?
I have other interests too. Volleyball, blueberries and...meeting new people! When I bartended, I found that if persistent enough I could eventually find a subject in common with every customer that walked through my door. My point is, that there is naturally a crossover between design and socializing, so I may just have a backup career! In fact, there are several platforms available today that were designed for meeting people - dating apps are an obvious example. But other designers are using some form of my Venn Diagram analogy for innovation too. I recently listened to Joe Gebbia's TED Talk about how the city of Seoul is connecting students with empty nesters. What an incredible way to fill the needs of two people who may not otherwise cross paths. Is it possible that technology could empower humans to rediscover relationships that had been lost due to the technology movement? I simply love being alive in an era where we share and trade our goods through an app.
Oh, this isn't a blog post about self-realization. I simply am going to continue playing in my beer, social and technology sandboxes when it comes to side projects. I enjoy the new colors that are created where my Venn Diagram overlaps and thought it might encourage you to cross your passion for the symphony orchestra with your desire to eat crickets while snowboarding, or whatever. Design won't solve all of the world's problems, but if it can make a difference in our happiness, what else can it do?