Strands of Genius: 6 Non-Binary & Transgender Artists We Love, Alt-Text & Ambiguity: A Poetic Approach To Image Description, Dysfunctional Systems: Why Are We Designing For Addiction?
Guest curated by John Voss
Each year we aim to highlight 50 creative thinkers that have inspired us by giving them the opportunity to guest curate this newsletter, Strands of Genius. This edition is guest curated by John Voss, Senior Design Manager, Design Systems at Stitch Fix.
:: A BIT MORE ABOUT GUEST CURATOR, JOHN VOSS ::
LOCATION: Sea Ranch, California, USA
PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT: Stitch Fix
Hi, I'm John. I am building the UI & Design Systems team at Stitch Fix. So I spend my days thinking about how to inspire my team and help them build style-forward products at scale. I also co-founded Queer Design Club, a community that celebrates all the work being done at the intersection of queer identity and design.
I am passionate about building a more thoughtful, responsible, and inclusive world. If I’m not thinking, writing, or talking about that, I’m probably fawning over my dog.
Editor’s Note (Team Genius Steals): We were connected to John through the wonderful Kaitlin Maud! We, too, are fawning over your dog. Wily looks beautiful in the photo below. We hope our paths cross in person one day, John. In the meantime, we are so grateful for your insightful links!
:: THE LINKS ::
6 NON-BINARY & TRANSGENDER ARTISTS WE LOVE
The rights of transgender and other gender diverse people are under constant attack around the globe; but their voices are often drowned out in the public debate. It’s important that cisgender people actively seek out and listen to gender diverse voices. Here is a short list of non-binary and transgender artists. Spend some time looking at their work and see how diversifying your sources of inspiration can open your mind. (TheArtGorgeous)
ALT-TEXT & AMBIGUITY: A POETIC APPROACH TO IMAGE DESCRIPTION
Disability is one of the most essential topics people should consider in their day-to-day life. We all have a role in making the world more accessible and inclusive—whether or not we ourselves are disabled.
One of the most common ways individuals can support accessibility is including alt text with the images they share to social media. This descriptive text can be read out loud by computers to help convey whatever visual information is captured in the image to blind and low-vision users.
But what about art? How should you describe something with a deeply personal emotional layer beyond what color is used where? Alex Haagaard and Liz Jackson, both disabled designers, offer some thoughts for how we can help make creative visual works accessible. (Alex Haagaard and Liz Jackson)
DYSFUNCTIONAL SYSTEMS: WHY ARE WE DESIGNING FOR ADDICTION?
I wrote this piece on the addictive mental models behind the digital products designers help create. I encourage anyone who is involved with consumer products to think about the impact of framing your work in the language of addiction—getting users “hooked” and creating “addictive” apps.
By adopting the language of addiction in how we think and talk about our work, we make addiction not just a risk of our work, but the goal. Harmful patterns of thought become harmful patterns in UI, become harmful patterns of behavior. Forgive the self plug, but I think this is an essential conversation for everyone to join. (John Voss)
Looking for more from John Voss? Those enrolled in The School of Stolen Genius will receive a deep dive from him in their inbox shortly! You can access all our expert interviews for SOSG here.
:: AND NOW… SOME FAST FAVORITES ::
:: Game :: Scrabble
:: City :: San Francisco
:: Book :: Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design by Kat Holmes
:: Podcast :: I almost never listen to podcasts
:: Album :: Fiona Apple, Fetch the Bolt Cutters
:: OFF-LEASH BEACH TRIPS ::
My dog, Wily, enjoying the freedom of her first off-leash trip to the beach.
Keep designing and shining,
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It's called Genius Steals because we believe ideas are new combinations and that nothing can come from nothing. But copying is lazy. We believe the best way to innovate is to look at the best of that which came before and combine those elements into new solutions.
Co-Founders Faris & Rosie are award-winning strategists and creative directors, writers, consultants and public speakers who have been living on the road/runway since March 2013, working with companies all over the world. Our Director of Operations is nomadic like us, our accounting team is based out of Washington, our company is registered in Tennessee, and our collaborators are all over the world. Being nomadic allows us to go wherever clients need us to be, and to be inspired by the world in between.
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