I’m a big fan of design. This is, in huge part, to a club at UC Berkeley called Innovative Design — a creative family of designers in graphic design, web development, photography and videography, banding together to make Berkeley beautiful by doing projects for on- and off-campus clients. Over the years, we’ve designed hundreds of logos, posters, flyers, and websites.
In addition to supporting our own designers, we’re big design evangelizers for the student community at large. Every semester, we organize several events that reach out to all students at Cal, for all design ability levels. Earlier in the semester, our club’s wonderful VP Education Yudi Sun organized the semesterly HEX, a series of design workshops led by our members. On November 5th, months of work culminated to CMYK, our annual Designathon, this time organized by me and my co-VP External, Sonia Hung.
A rousing success! With over 100 attendees of all levels buzzing with creative thought on a weekend at Jacobs Hall, I was extremely glad with how smoothly it ran! Organizing events such as this, I realized, is an inordinate amount of work that cannot possibly be done alone. I am immensely grateful for all the help I received from my fellow officers, as well as our Marketing Tier for assisting with so many design assets that made the event beautiful as well as fun.
What is a designathon? It’s a hackathon, but for design. This year, we took on the client Games of Berkeley, a local popular board games business. Teams of five banded together and tackled one of three design prompts that Games of Berkeley brought on, and presented their creations at the end of the day.
One of the main challenges of organizing this event is making it your own. Being the fifth annual such event, there was some precedent in how it would be run in general — but every set of new VPs of External bring to the table a unique perspective that brings with them a fresh new outlook. A full day’s competition requires programming such as space reservation, food and drink, judges, workshops, registrations, itineraries, and a mountain of other responsibilities. Sonia and I looked to bring a bit of ourselves into every corner of the event.
One of the focuses I wanted to bring to this year’s CMYK was interaction and product design in tech. Tech is such a popular industry in the bay area, and I knew I would be able to entice a broad audience by more closely integrating tech into the world of design in this event. It’s an approachable and accessible window into the design world, as more and more Computer Scientists turn their eyes to presentation as well as functionality in their apps.
Berkeley also doesn’t have a dedicated Design program, which makes designers at Berkeley remarkably diverse in terms of their fields of study and breadth of skill. I greatly admire this aspect of our design community — all designers here are, in this sense, double-majoring. To this end, I found guest speakers who worked closely in that industry who could offer insight to interested designers here at Cal: Travis Neilson, who spoke about his interview process for design at Google; Sahana Kumar, who detailed her experience working with all sorts of clients adjacent to tech at Frog; Ben Zweig, who talked about his alternative route into the design industry through attending and organizing Hackathons of his own; and more.
Our workshops were also aligned to this end. We hosted a total of four workshops for people of differing skill levels — Intro to Design Sprints with Andre Tacuyan, Design Empathy with Fiona Yeung, Intro to Illustrator with our Decal team, and How to Freelance with InnoD officers Christian Le and Brandon Chau. We made sure they were streamlined to be a good use of a competitor’s limited time, so that they would acquire skills not only to help them along with their own projects, but also to help them along with their own design journeys in the future!
Outreach and education have been passions of mine for as long as I can remember. I absolutely love teaching people what I love about all the things I love. Being able to organize such an event, with a whole board of officers behind me to make it absolutely special, was empowering, moving, and so fulfilling.