#6: Visual Design & the Starving Artist

Episode Summary

The podcast discusses the evolution and importance of visual design in the business landscape today. They talk about how visual design creates emotional connections, improves usability, conveys ideas, and is crucial for branding and marketing.

Key topics covered include:

  • How visual design has shifted from reputation-based businesses to more engaging, personalized experiences that connect with modern audiences. Visual design shapes perception and experience.
  • The influence of social media platforms like TikTok on how we consume information and what we deem as truth. Visual media allows for quick digestion of ideas.
  • Three core principles of visual design: color, typography, imagery/graphics. How these elements evoke emotion, guide the eye, simplify complex ideas, and resonate with audiences.
  • The balance between aesthetics and function. Good visual design improves usability, accessibility, satisfaction. It creates a harmonious user experience.
  • Strategies for developing visual identities for clients through design questionnaires, understanding target users, collaborating on inspiration boards. Balancing creativity and practicality.
  • Why some parents may discourage artistic passions due to ‘starving artist’ stereotypes. But design careers can be profitable with business knowledge. Supporting children’s interests.
  • Personal stories and experiences with discovering artistic talents and trajectories in school subjects like writing, drawing, chemistry, debate, and more.


Monique Jenkins: Welcome to another episode of the Design Imposter podcast where we delve into the fascinating world of design. Today, we’re going to be shifting our focus to visual design, an essential element that encompasses everything you see and interact with in a digital space, from graphics to imagery to typography and color. Visual design shapes our perception and guides our experience.  

Monique Jenkins: Jessica, tell us, how has visual design evolved in the business landscape? 

Jessica Valis: I think there was a time when businesses could run solely on reputation. For example, you use your parents’ accountant because they’ve been using them their whole life and there’s never been an issue sort of thing. But now it’s more about connecting to your audience. 

Jessica Valis: If someone has a website that guides me through the steps in an engaging way or an ad that doesn’t look like it was designed in Microsoft Word or publisher, then I’m more likely to give it my attention and I’m not having that brand or company business loyalty. It’s not that I don’t not like my family accountant. It’s simply that I don’t feel the personalized connection. And that’s what modern design is all about, connecting. That’s why social media right now is just so influential. We are these visual creatures who want immediate answers. And if we can follow someone on TikTok or LinkedIn who regularly provides information that is easy for us to digest, then I’m going to go with them. 

Monique Jenkins: Yeah, I think I’ve read in an article somewhere that a majority of this generation gets all of their news from like TikTok and gets a bunch of their like medical like diagnosis and stuff like that from TikTok. Like they don’t go to like, I don’t know, WebMD like I probably would, which I find to be super interesting that that is the catalyst for what we think is factual information because there’s so much, you know, people can kind of post whatever they want to post online. So I think that’s super interesting. 

Monique Jenkins: But yeah, visual design is not just about creating something that’s pleasing to the eye. It’s about communicating messages. It guides our user interactions. It sets the tone for our brand and our product and visual design is more like visual language. And it’s about conveying ideas and emotions through visuals. It connects us to the product on an emotional level to make you feel a certain type of way. So as someone is looking at visual design, what are three core principles that they should keep in mind? Kind of as they’re like ingesting content that they see online or if I’m a designer, I’m a new designer and I want to understand visual design. What are three core principles that I should be looking for? 

Jessica Valis: All right, the first is color. Color is very powerful. It can evoke emotions, grab attention, and even influence behavior. Think about the color red is for urgency, or blue is for trust and calmness. And I even say this with my kids all the time. “Red means stop, green means go,” and then I’ll say “yellow means slow.” And then because my kids are just so random, when we go on walks, they’ll see blue lines on the sidewalk, and they’ll be like, “that’s the water line,” because blue represents water. 

Jessica Valis: I also heard yellow is a horrible color for a nursery because it activates the anxiety center of the brain and will cause your baby to cry and freak out. So, color influences everyone across age, demographics, and industries. 

Monique Jenkins: One of the things that I’ve heard about color is about the amount of research that companies do when they market things towards children, like how much investment they have in color theory and how colors evoke emotions, like you were saying, and how different colors kind of push children towards them. Like it’s placement on shelves, so they place things for children lower so that they have the ability to see it, but also colors apparently, our colors can invoke a child, like picking up something or influencing them in some way, which I think is so cool, but also so incredibly dangerous at the same time that you can get a kid to do something that you want them to do with just a little bit of color and branding. 

Jessica Valis: The second type of visual design is typography. Typography is more than just choosing fonts. It’s about readability, hierarchy, and creating a rhythm in the text. It helps guide the user’s eye and can set the mood of the content. 

Jessica Valis: Take a look at script-y cursive fonts, for example. It’s not very professional, it’s not very legible, and therefore it’s not appropriate or like a logo or header fonts on your website. But it is very appropriate for a wedding invitation, which is supposed to feel very elegant and personalized as if you’ve received a handwritten invitation from Her Majesty. You know, so again, it evokes that emotion, what that we were talking about.

Jessica Valis And of course, then there’s imagery and graphics, which tell a story without words. They can simplify complex ideas, add visual interest, and create an emotional connection with the audience. But they also help your audience identify with the content immediately. If you are a retail store and all of your images are of phones, then I’ll immediately know that you’re a cell phone provider or you’re a YouBreakIFix type store, and I’ll know this without even reading the content. 

Monique Jenkins: Right, I think it’s about finding the right balance and ensuring that visual elements align with the content and the goals of the design. But what about the impact of visual design on overall user experience? Like I’m a UX designer, so I’m all function over aesthetics, but I think that visual design is just one side of the puzzle. So how do you kind of merge those worlds? 

Jessica Valis: First of all, UX and UI are not just for website design. It can be used for documents and client -facing side of your CRM forms and emails and newsletters. So George is starting kindergarten and as part of his onboarding process for kindergarten, the parents were sent out this form for like bus approvals and you approve who gets to pick up your child from the bus stop, their name, telephone number, relationship to the child, all that stuff. When I received the form, it must have been a scan from an early 2000s form and it had the old desks specs from where it’s been scanned repetitively and you had to print it out, re-upload it and it’s just not ideal for a busy parent. So without even asking, I recreated the form and I made it fillable so you can make your edits on the phone or computer and then I changed the font from comic sans to monster up because the audience’s parents not children. So sometimes UX is as simple as that and I always try to offer this same experience with my clients. 

Monique Jenkins: Yeah, I think visual design directly affects how users perceive and interact with the product, and it helps to create a coherent and consistent brand image, like making products more recognizable and trustworthy. And in the circumstance that you were talking about, I think that we think about categories often when we design. This is for an elementary school, so it needs to be simplistic. But kids aren’t the ones who ingest the website. Parents are. And parents, although want to see some popsicle or things like that, a set of things that technically, they’re not aligned with reading and comic sales, and no one should be, guys, no one. 

Monique Jenkins: It’s just not about the aesthetics. Like, good visual design improves usability and accessibility. It helps with overall user satisfaction. It creates a harmonious experience that resonates with your audience. So whether you’re a designer or a developer or just someone interested in the world of digital design, understanding the importance of visual design is incredibly crucial at driving what you need to drive for your business. 

Jessica Valis: Absolutely. Visual design is the foundation of any digital product or brand. It’s what sets the stage for everything else and creates the first impression that lasts. I have an example of visual design and it’s my personal favorite. 

Jessica Valis: As you know, I love LinkedIn and I love LinkedIn carousels. Essentially, they are little slideshows with maybe 10 to 20 slides designed to make digesting information easier. It’s branded and follows a company’s style, but it’s essentially a visual step-by-step process or overview of one aspect of a specific topic. I follow a few marketing gurus out there and I don’t watch their videos and I don’t read their text-based posts, but I am scrolling through carousels and I’m saving them and bookmarking them to go back later because I can digest that information so much quicker and get exactly what I want through just scrolling through a couple of slides, then I am perusing paragraphs of text. I make carousels too to explain what I consider the basics of design, such as logo placement, how to use photography, layout, typography and all that.

Jessica Valis  So for my clients, I’m trying to get them away from doing their own marketing and by showing them how much thought goes into these seemingly simple concepts, I either empower them to do it the correct way or I convince them that they need somebody like me to do it for them. It benefits me and my client, but it’s just another visual representation and it provides a better user experience because now they don’t need to read an article or sit down and put their headphones in and watch a video or, you know, read the subtitles. They can just scroll through and see examples. 

Monique Jenkins: I’m sort of like, “cool. How do you, because I know that this, when I started out as a designer, this was probably pretty difficult for me. I think you get better at this over time. But how do you create visual identities for all of your clients? It feels exhausting to have to think of new colors and typography and font. I’m typography and font is the same. But imagery and things like that in order to specify a brand for this specific company. So what are some ways you handle the stress of crafting a new visual identity for your clients? 

Jessica Valis: Um, well, first I set boundaries for myself. I’m not going to allow myself to reinvent the wheel by starting from scratch for every single design element. I might be downloading assets from Envato or finding inspiration on Pinterest. It’s about knowing how much time something is going to take me and to price accordingly, which we talked about in a previous episode. So if my client is paying over $10 ,000, I’ll make sure to be more creative, um, because that’s what they’re paying for. But for smaller budgets, the opportunity cost just isn’t there. So you have to know your limitations pretty early on and to stick with them. And then also by having, I have a design questionnaire that I sent out and, you know, there’s different examples of typography and I’m just updating one now that has examples of color. So I can ask my clients or potential clients to click through and see which ones appeal to them. And then I’m not going through all these exercises that are very intensive to figure out, you know, what resonates with them. It’s very much like a quick, click, click, click. And they know, I know, and, um, they’re excited because they’re getting started on this project a lot sooner. What about you? What do you, what would you say? Um, 

Monique Jenkins: I have a similar questionnaire, but I always ask clients to create a Pinterest board with me with inspiration from other companies that they like or are interested in. I ask them if there are any fan favorites out there so I can get a better understanding of expectations. I think like, and I want to run through them with the client because I think they’ll show me a bunch of different work, but they can’t articulate why they like or do not like something to me. Even when you go through their existing website, like I go through it with them and I say, what elements about your site are absolutely non -negotiable? You don’t want to change them. You love this color. You love this font. You love this whatever because this is their website and I have opinions, but like it is theirs at the end of the day. So I might give them some directional idea, but I go through their website with them and I say what elements are absolutely non -negotiable is what elements would you throw away today if you had the opportunity to. I also go through any websites that they think they’d like. So anything on Pinterest or anything else in their industry or potentially not in their industry that they resonate with. I want to understand why they are seeing those things or why they’re making those determinations. Some of them might be appropriate for their brand. Some of them might not be appropriate for their brand. That helps me really to navigate what they’re aesthetically what they like and content -wise what they are comfortable with as we are going through this design process. And I probably asked them maybe way too many questions about why they chose colors and things like that. Funny story though. I met two guys this weekend at the design conference that I was at or was that two weeks ago at this point. And I asked the developer, the CEO and the COO or CFO. I asked them why they chose the colors that they chose for the app. And he was like, I don’t know. And I was like, what you mean you don’t know? Because it’s a very stark purple. And I was like, what is this purple that’s to do anything? And he was like, I don’t know. I just like the color purple. And I saw another app that I liked and I figured purple was an OK color. And I was like, yeah, but how does purple resonate with what you’re trying to get your audience segment to do or what they’re used to in other contexts about similar applications? And he was like, yeah, I don’t know. And then I was like, what’s these gradients happening with all these buttons? And he was like, I like gradients. And I was like, that is not a reason. That is not a reason. And the two other girls that were standing right there next to me were like, Moonee, you just like crunched that man’s whole dreams. And I was like, I wasn’t trying to. But I was making a point, which is like, as a CEO of a company, it isn’t necessarily going to be what you specifically like as a color treatment. It’s about what your audience is going to resonate with. So him telling me, I like the color purple, so we use the color purple or I like gradients. So we use gradients. It’s not a sufficient answer to those questions because he’s not his audience. 

Jessica Valis: Yeah, one of my very first clients, I had this very simplified design questionnaire and I asked him what websites he liked and he put Apple for one of them. And as I, of course, everybody loves Apple. It’s very sleek. You know, got great graphics and everything. So I build out his website and it’s got a lot of white space, a lot of big graphics. And he was like, I don’t like this. Why did you build it this way? And I said, well, because you said that this is how you liked it. This is how you liked it, not how your clients would like it. So he ended up paying for a redesign and we went from there. But I think, again, understanding your client is going to dictate how much time you spend on a project. 

Monique Jenkins: But I think that that’s typically the problem with most businesses is that they are having a designer craft something from their own perspective and not from the perspective of their client, which is why I think user experience and UI are so important is that most people, and this is of no fault to any particular person, but most people, when they think about what they want in their business, they think about it from the perspective of themselves. And although it is your business, you are not the audience. And I mean, as a designer, I think I tell myself that too. Like, I personally hate comic sales, wouldn’t use it in anything. Sorry, it’s never appropriate for me. But if I was working on something where it was appropriate, I’d have to get past my idea as a designer that that font is horrible and I don’t love it and use the font that’s most appropriate for the audience segment that I’m actually trying to design for. And I don’t think that my personal opinion should come into effect when that’s happening, even though I will cringe for the entirety of the rest of the project. I will do it because it’s most appropriate for the audience segment that I am trying to reach. But please don’t ask me to use Comic Sans, anybody. 

Jessica Valis: I think, um, so since I’m not doing like a full UX UI experience with my clients and I’ve already talked about having this design questionnaire, as I have grown my business, I’ve added to the questionnaire or refined it. So now the questionnaire is a lot less about why did you form your business and it’s now more about who, what clients are coming to you, what’s their age, what’s their demographic, what kind of house do they own, what do they do on the weekend. I want to understand your client and I’ll go through this form usually like pretty in depth by client because they don’t themselves necessarily understand like, well, my clients every age I said, but what age do you want them to be? What age bracket? Because this will again, it sets the tone for all the visual elements and the brand. 

Monique Jenkins: Yeah, I was thinking as a red flag when clients say like, my clients are everyone. I want everyone to purchase our product. I’m like, no, you don’t. Cause not even Apple wants everyone to purchase their product. Like that’s not their business model. If you took a look deeper inside of the motivations of why they do the things they do, I’m pretty sure they don’t have anywhere on their bingo card that they want to appeal to every single person whoever wants to buy their product. They probably have a specific segment of people. And it’s fine if people outside of your core demographic of clients buy or purchase your product or services, but that doesn’t have to be the attention. Like you don’t have to have every single person. You don’t have to market your services to every single person out there to market to the demographic that you actually want to touch. And everyone else that comes is just a bonus. Cool. I’m going to pivot a little bit into something else that I think is important, which is what do you say to parents that don’t think that design is a viable path for their children? Cause this is a topic that I think has been brought up to me a couple of different times and we’re parents. So we understand that, you know, different folks have different expectations of their children. 

Jessica Valis: I don’t think I’ve ever run into a situation where a parent has said no to art school, but I will say as someone whose best friend did go to school for fashion design, it’s important to make sure there is a practical business side of the course or program. What is the point of learning how to sketch, sew, and create if you don’t know how to market yourself and don’t understand the principles of business operations? And this can be for any field, really. But if you decide to study art or design, you need to understand the whole picture of the industry beyond the history that, you know, cave people drew stuff on the walls. Well, yeah, we know that. I don’t need to take a history lesson about that. What I should be learning about is how do I apply graphic design and visuals to real -world application? I remember considering studying Egyptology at the University of Pennsylvania in high school. But even then, I thought, I love the study of ancient Egypt, but what will I do for actual work? How will I make money? I can’t be a Tomb Raider, and I’m not going to find the next Lost Pharaoh or make a fortune reading here. I were Glyphics, and I’m not going to be featured on, you know, the National Geographic. There needs to be some kind of practicality to it. And if you can’t find that angle, then I don’t think it matters if you’re going to school for graphic design, art, fashion, or Egyptology. It’s all about what you do in the real world and how you can apply that to make money. So what would you say if Zuri wanted to enter graphic design? 

Monique Jenkins: I would say go for it, but my context is a little bit different. And I know that there is value and good design. I think that most parents though have heard of the starving artist’s mentality. And you would be hesitant to let your kids pursue a degree in art just because of that, you know, ideology that we have. I gave a talk at some local Baltimore school. It might even have been the Baltimore school of art about pursuing art a couple years ago. And I got an exorbitant amount of questions from parents who were not interested in their kids going to art school. And they were surprised to hear that I made over six figures and it gave them a sense of release. Because I think that the mentality was I’m always going to be taking care of this child. They’re never going to be able to like step on their own and have the things that they need. And I think that’s a genuine concern for some parents is that if your child is an artist, they’re going to be like living on the street. They’re not going to have money to feed themselves or to care of themselves or to care of any kids that they’re going to have. And I think that’s specifically prevalent in minority families. Like, you know, there are some families that are like, it’s you going to be a doctor, you going to be a lawyer, but those are your options. Like art is never even a occurrence in some kids minds because like that is not a feasible path to elevating yourself and elevating all of the kids that have to come behind you. So I sometimes think like, you know, yes, if if I probably grew up in a different upbringing with a different race of parents that that would have been a consideration. But I will say when I went to undergrad, I was never on my bingo card. Like I was going to be in business and marketing. And that was going to be my field. And I thought about what my life looked like from that perspective. But I never thought artists is going to make me a bunch of different, you know, a bunch of money or I’m going to be like, you know, I was living in a high rise in Manhattan or something like that. I made those associations and I correlated that lifestyle to being in a more financially secure field. And art was never a part of that for me. 

Jessica Valis: Now the starving artist cliche, it’s like, you kid can paint pretty pictures, but can those pictures make money? And I think that’s why you should go to school, is because you need to learn beyond the visual. You need to understand the science of it. So, I mean, if you do like building websites, or, you know, oh, this is really cool, I’m gonna sketch this out. Why are you sketching it out? Who does it relate to, and how can you make that profitable? Because, you know, everyone has a different idea of what pretty is, but you have to apply it to an audience. 

Monique Jenkins: Yeah, and I think that we have to think about like the different types of artists out there. Like, you know, we’re graphic designers, but you can be a photographer or a painter. Tattoo artists are designers, illustrator, tactile artists, cinematographers, sculptors. There are a variety of career paths that, you know, kids could potentially take. It doesn’t always necessarily mean like design with a medium, because your girl can’t paint. I can’t paint. I can’t sculpt. I can’t even draw. So like, that’s not my gift. And I would hire someone who has the ability to be able to do those things. And I think when we think artists, we usually think about one of those tactile mediums and not necessarily the other side of the house that, you know, is very profitable. I’m sure if you’re a photographer in the NFL, you make a good amount of money. It might be repetitive, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t net you some type of wealth. And I do understand going to school for art, but having a practical or having a more practical side of that, like understanding business so that you can understand how to market yourself as an artist. But I think that some kids and even myself at that age, that was not my thinking. Like, I was, if I was going to be an artist, like I was going to be an artist. I never had the thought in my head that as an artist, I needed to understand how to better market myself so that I could be more effective as an artist. And I don’t know that that sentiment is commonly shared by, you know, people who are just experiencing college. 

Jessica Valis: And I thought kind of the opposite, or maybe it’s kind of similar. Like I never thought that going to be a graphic artist, I need to know about cave paintings and the history of art and design. Like that just didn’t feel relevant to me. I just wanted to know how to use the latest technology and to learn the best application and best practices. Everybody goes into it for their own reasons. 

Monique Jenkins: You have never met a mom who was like, my daughter is not gonna be an artist because art sucks and she can’t afford to live. 

Jessica Valis: All right, so when I was in high school, all right, Egyptology, that was on my mind, but I also wanted to be an interior designer. And I mentioned this to my art teacher, and apparently I guess she was a failed interior designer, and she’s like, don’t do it, you won’t make money from it. And so then I was like, okay, well I’ll go to school for business communication. 

Monique Jenkins: I’d have been like, girl, you’re supposed to lift these kids up. You ain’t supposed to drag them down. They’re just depressing things. 

Jessica Valis: But you know, I do love to renovate a house and I’ve even had friends in England be like, when you come over next time, will you do a room in my house? Because I just love your style. And I’m like, or like, I sold a house in Baltimore, my favorite house, my first house. And when we sold and we went to settlement, the new couple buying were like, your choice of colors. And also I left the paint hands labeled in the basement for you. Here’s a map of the garden that tells you where all the plants are right now. 

Monique Jenkins: That’s beautiful. Like the color matching that I had to do with these walls, I hated it, I hated every second of it. Like I was like, what is this color? I was like, cause it’s not white. I was like, it’s kind of like a tan. I was trying to find a tan color in a paint store. Oh, worst experience of my life, sir. But yeah, like I, first of all, I would have said to you, guidance counselor, first of all, manage business, this ain’t your life. But, but I’m a mean person. But I don’t think that like, I think that encouragement at that age, like it is my wish for Zuri that she pursues whatever her heart truly desires, and she will find her way to profitability. Like it is my goal as a parent to set her up in a way that like she doesn’t have to think about money, you know, with all I can do to set her up so that she doesn’t have to think about money. And I just want her to go out there and thrive in whatever capacity that she sees fit. Cause I think like if you’re, if you go to school for business and you start your own company, you have to think about like how long it took Jeff Bezos to like get to the place that he is now. Like it took a long time. So like spending, I don’t know, 10 years figuring out, I’m okay with that as a parent. I’m pretty sure that like, that is not a sufficient path for like some people’s children. But like, I’m gonna be like, yeah girl, go ahead, paint them pictures, baby, you got this, you can do it. And I’m gonna be on the street corners in New York with my daughter and be like, you want to buy this, it’s two for five. Like I’m gonna be there with her the entire step of the way, letting her know like art is okay, or you know, she want to be something else. I’m gonna be there, you know, helping her do all the stuff. But I think, but I do think as a minority that it’s very hard for parents to look at art as a viable field and encourage that for their children because they don’t know or understand it. And it’s not a paved out path. Like you can’t say, if I’m an artist, this is how you get to be an artist and this is how you get to profitability with an artist. It is, this is, you know, this is how someone did it. This might be the way that you can make that happen, but it might be a completely different like trajectory. It might have nothing to do with like how they got to the place where they need to go as far as like profitability is concerned. So every time I see an artist on Instagram who’s like, you know, I started this business in 2020 and in the first month I made negative $600 and then the second month I made $2 and then the third month I made $60. And then for the next year, I didn’t make more than $100, but then, you know, two years later, I’m making $40 ,000 a month. I’m like, hey girl, share the secrets because that’s the stuff I want to know so that my daughter can be an artist online too. And not that it works for every single person in the same way, but like, I think that like them having a better understanding that like there is profitability here would, you know, make people a little bit more vested. And I know like in our last episode, we talked about AI and if AI can do a lot of things, but it can’t do art just quite yet. So you still need an artist’s objective. So you still need people to be able to like make elaborate paintings of like butt cheeks or something. I don’t know. And it was just helpful for people. 

Jessica Valis: I think as parents, it’s important to recognize your children’s passions very early on. So my children are not literal players. As in they watch Bluey, they love Bluey, but if you get them Bluey figurines, they’re not going to play with it. They would rather you get them blocks or magnets and they’re going to build based on that. So, Gorge can, he’s going to be an engineer. I’m just calling it right now. We’ll go back to this episode in about 20 years. We’ll see if I’m right. But he loves Legos and at five years old, he’s building a thousand he’s Titanic Legos set by himself with minimum guidance. So I started getting Kiwi box for him just to like, it’s a stem box program instead of like stitch fix, you know, the kids get, I don’t know, an activity. But, you know, like when he starts school, if he’s struggling in English or art class, I’m not going to get on him about that because I know first of all, those aren’t going to be applicable to engineering, which he’s going to do. But, you know, those aren’t his passions and strengths. And the more I can support him, the better he’s going to be. And then when he gets to graduation, he’s like, I’m going to choose a university that lets me do this. I’ll be like, well, you know, the ins and outs of it. You’ve been doing this for a long time and I support you. So I think it’s important again to just recognize the passions. And okay, very random question. I’ll give this, I’ll ask you a question and then I’ll give my story. When you were a little girl, what was your favorite subject in school? 

Monique Jenkins: Hmm. Precessed. 

Jessica Valis: No, a real subject. Or like, what was a project that you vividly remember? 

Evan Dvorkin the 

Monique Jenkins: of them girl. I mean, I think maybe a debate class or something like that. Like I think I was good at this from the womb guys, but like I liked arguing and making a point with a person and having like converting someone’s idea around to like what my idea was or convincing someone of something that’s still true to today. My mom was very surprised I did not become a lawyer. She was like that was unique. I was like, yeah, the whole blood and guts of it. I don’t think I could do. But like that was my passion. Like being able to like advocate for a specific position. I love that in school. So like debate class was probably like my thing. 

Jessica Valis: Okay, but you still find that like, you’re very argumentative or like, you know. Okay, so- Every single day of my life. I’ll have to find a way to connect it to you. But one of my first elementary school memories is in first grade, we had to write a story and we had to design the book cover. And I vividly remember what the story was about. I remember the front cover and then there was another class. I think it was like second or third grade. There were a couple like creative writing classes or, you know, creative writing things we had to do. And I vividly remember those stories and what I talked about. And, you know, fast forward, here I am in a creative field. And so I think it was indicative of what I was gonna become. Or my brother, he loved chemistry class. That was always his passion, stalactites, stalagmites. That was always his science project. But he was very much into the sciences and he went to college for chemistry and now he’s a food scientist and he uses science to build the flavors of, you know, different chips or pretzels or, you know, steak seasonings. So, could we see him as a, you know, a food scientist? Maybe not, but we always knew he was going to follow that science chemistry trajectory. 

Monique Jenkins: Yeah. There is too young for me to know that about her. The only thing she likes right now is eat an off of your plate. Okay, food critic. Being crying. Food critic. Yeah, you know what? That might be very accurate to where she ends up in life because the way that girl will steal off your plate is fast and in a hurry. Thank you. Because that is her love language. 

Jessica Valis: Our producer, Evan Dvorkin, has a couple things to contribute to the conversation since he is a producer, photographer, videographer. So here he is. Evan, our producer, what was your favorite subject in school? 

Evan Dvorkin: I mean, I was particularly good at math, and I even went to college for coding originally. But honestly, the reason I think I’ve made a video on photo now is such a silly thing. My handwriting is complete trash. I had this AlphaSmart thing before kids like carry laptops around and all that. And I saw type up my notes in front of the Mac, whatever. But I would ask instead of doing written work if I could just make a video. And that’s kind of what pushed into the, and then I went to college for two years, and I left and moved to Maryland, worked my brother for a little bit, and I just kept the photo, video just for fun. This is a fun thing for a while. And then it’s like one of those things, like one time I got paid to do a photo shoot, and I was like, oh, okay. I was like, I guess I can get paid to do this? Not that I didn’t know that there was professional photographers, it was just weird getting paid to do it after just doing it for fun for a while. And then I went to photography, then video, and so on and so forth. But yeah, my schooling was so like almost irrelevant to what this is, just because it was so math and science and whatever focused. There were some film classes, but I think everyone takes film classes. And a lot of film classes are like theory and stuff. It’s not like lighting and how the camera works until you go like, yeah, I’ll specialize schooling or something like that. So it was very different. 

Jessica Valis: like a family class. See? Different. I had a choice between film and photography. But if you did photography, you had to use the black room. And I was not about to do that. So I did video. And I don’t remember a darn thing from that class. 

Monique Jenkins: I can see everything class right now like a 10 page paper. I don’t think so. I can make your 30 

Evan Dvorkin: teachers were they were down for they’re like that’s a weird request all right fine 

Jessica Valis: differently. Yeah, I think that’s kind of. 

Evan Dvorkin: three out of ten times, see if you’re like, fine, don’t write the thing, just make a video. So yeah, it’s like, all right. 

Jessica Valis: But again, that’s about like, you had teachers that were embracing your passion and embracing what you were good at. So what’s, I mean, you’re not going to write, you’re not going to be the next author, you don’t need to worry about writing these big professional emails to, you know, corporate CEOs, then sure, but, you know, go ahead and make these video recordings of your lessons. I think it’s all about just embracing the passion. And it’s great when you can work in a career that is your passion, that you actually enjoy it. So for a parent to go back a little bit, for a parent to say, no, you can’t do art, you’re going to go be a lawyer instead, you’re going to hate the first semester and you’re going to drop out. So 

Monique Jenkins: I will say as a minority of this conversation, you won’t finish these 17 years of law school like your parents told you. It is not really optional. It is not a conversation that they’re having with you. It is a dictatorship in this household and you go into college. Now, 10 years later, you might not use that law degree, but you won’t use it on the opposite, just FYI. But yes, let your children pursue their passion so that they become better and more whole people in the world. Well, that’s a wrap on this week’s episode of Design and Poster. Thank you all for joining us and we’ll see you next week.