Prompt #5
Janice Pang

D/D | ?/?

  1. My dream project is to create a fully sustainable and ethical practice design firm.
  2. I think the only way to completely secure agency and responsibility as a designer is to answer for yourself, and for your team. In the dream firm, I would be working with a team of friends — friendship equates to accountability and responsibility. Combine that with the tendency for collectively similar interests in friend groups, and you have a formula for success!
  3. The direct clients of our designs are underrepresented people with needs, and also the functional systems that they exist in. The latter is to consider the ways in which designs will create agency for clients.
  4. I think trust building is a huge part of gathering reliable research. Trust building develops a mutual sense of respect that drives teamwork that drives design. A huge part of trust building is communicating in an understandable way and knowing how to audience segregate. Any piece of information about the client is useful in speaking with references, which in my opinion, are a tangible way to gain trust.
  5. Treating your client with respect and holding space with them instead of for them is a key to involving clients. For it to be true involvement, clients need equal agency to designers in the decision making process. For anyone you provide a service for, being heard and felt is one of the main ways to give agency.
  6. I think the biggest blocker is my own lack of initiative in making this happen. My fear in trying to start a firm is being perceived as a “leader”, when the intent is to start a family and alliance — something that won’t break and is driven by emotion as it is intention.
  7. I think the best way to test success is to observe and gauge the initiative that the recipient of the design is exhibiting. Truly empowering people is driving them to action and helping them build confidence in their own ideas.
  8. Not sure if this entirely applies, but I think implicit in a trustworthy relationship is the ability for clients to report feedback much later in the process because of their belief in your ability to provide or improve the service.

Make it happen

Making a firm has been an underlying life work, because making friends and sharing ideas with them is the first step. The process of creating a firm is similar to making friends, because it is driven symbiotic exchanges that finally make the leap from ideas to action. It’s only in that mutually trustworthy and respectful relationship that confidence takes shape. Friendships are also driven by empathy, as should be design. I only know one of the steps to this process concretely.

  1. Be good to your friends.
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