Julia Zeltser

Founding Partner & Creative Director at Hyperakt

Julia Zeltser

Founding Partner & Creative Director at Hyperakt Episode 13

Episode Notes

Episode Transcript

Gary:
Hello, and welcome to Episode 13 of Design Edu Today, the podcast series discussing topics concerning the state of interactive design education at institutions of higher learning. I’m your host, Gary Rozanc, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Today’s guest is Julia Zeltser. Julia is a Founding Partner and Creative Director at Hyperakt. With over fifteen years of design experience in print, brand development, visualizations, and interactive media, Julia has been instrumental in establishing Hyperakt’s visual voice. Julia leads a multi-disciplinary team of designers in a wide range of assignments. She has advised clients such as ACLU, Ford Foundation, and UNICEF to extend their brand in print and interactive media. Julia initiated and leads Lunch Talks at Hyperakt: a monthly event to ignite collaboration and idea-sharing among the design community. Julia has received accolades from organizations such as Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, Brand New, and How Magazine for her design work. She was born in Ukraine and graduated from Parsons The New School of Design in New York. She lives with her husband, Lenny, and her two kids, in Park Slope.

Welcome, Julia.

Julia:
Hi! Thanks for having me.
Gary:
I’m excited to have you. But before I start the discussion with you, I wanted to mention, this is for the listeners. I want to mention today’s episode is special to me because it represents the half-way point in my research project in regards to the number of episodes I want to produce. While I may keep going beyond the initial plan which is twenty six, this seemed like a perfect opportunity to reflect on what I’ve learned from the interviews to date, so I went back and I reviewed Episodes 1 through 12. Having done that, I started to see a lot of common themes or repeated patterns; a lot of great answers from my guests that I didn’t fully investigate like I should have; a lot of new questions that arose from the conversation and a lack of me explaining how and why educators approach curriculum design before asking a question. So, my biggest realization is just how different the process is between print design and interactive design.

While good design fundamentals are key to both, what constitutes a print design fundamental may not apply to interactive design fundaments. Or a key fundamental to interactive design such as movement or animation used to reinforce hierarchy doesn’t have a print design parallel. So, Julia, based on your fifteen years of experience, have you seen changes in design fundamentals between those two mediums?

Julia:
The answer is a yes and a no. Yes, you have to have fundamentals, the basic understanding of design. Everything that you’re being taught in print you could easily apply to web. Now, it changes; it changes. The approach changes, the process changes but the thinking about design still applies in both mediums. One thing we don’t think about when we think of web is how it would interpret itself on paper, right? But this is a question of production so the same fundamental questions you would ask: how would it live in intended use? So, in print you would consider the paper; you would consider the technique of printing. In web, you would consider everything associated with web and today, about ten years ago, we looked at desktop as our main goal and our different browsers; whether it works in all of them. But today, we’re looking at much smaller devices: the phones. I have to say that my patterns of looking at and consuming information has changed over the past five years. I am committed to my phone: I read, I review everything, I respond to everything on my phone and it is my biggest tool right now. So, when we’re designing for print and we’re designing for web, we do use very similar design fundamentals but we do need to change the process a little bit and know what that product requires in terms of final deliverables, how the users are going to interact with it…
Gary:
Oh, go ahead…
Julia:
…No, no, sorry Gary: you had a question?
Gary:
No, I just…I’m going to jump around because I had a bunch of questions that I wanted to follow up with, first one, but you mentioned, so the process has changed. Can you describe that change in the process?
Julia:
Yes. OK. So, when you think of…I want to start by saying what hasn’t changed.
Gary:
OK.
Julia:
And we’ll move on to talking about what has changed. One of the things that I think has not changed is the IT generation; so, you take to pencil and paper and then you sketch out ideas and that is not even, it doesn’t take any artistic expressions yet; it’s more about organizing your thought; it’s more about writing your ideas down; it’s more about organizing. It’s basically an outline and that takes its form in print and in web as well. And then you go into the process of figuring out how that content lives in its intended use. So, in print you would start creating wireframes of pages, spreads; if the idea, how it travels, how the pagination works, where the highlights of the graphics are happening; how the main idea is carried across and in web, it takes a similar form in wireframes. So again, some of the wireframes do happen on paper. But all of this is very much sketch-like and not quite presentable to client and I think that very quickly, we start sketching, shortly after our thumbnails are formulated on paper, we start sketching in digital tools, in print you might go into Illustrator; you might go into InDesign. In web, we actually use Illustrator quite a bit in designing our wireframes, so we become so proficient in Illustrator that we find no other tool mimics it. Or, not mimics: doesn’t give us as much freedom as Illustrator does so we move so quickly through it that all over our wireframes or all over our thinking is done in art boards in Illustrator. So we start designing our organization of wireframes in Illustrator; sometimes high fidelity, sometimes low fidelity wireframes the same as in print. You just quickly throw content in just to see where it lives.

My process of designing for print and designing for web has been very, very similar. I throw a lot of content on pages just to figure out where everything lives and then after all that is present I start molding it into what I think it should be. After wireframes, we take into style and I think this approach is called the Waterfall Approach, where you go from Step A to B to C to D until you arrive to final; however, in every step you need to get experts in so when I talk about experts is, we are a design agency and as a design agency, we concentrate on strategy, on design; we don’t do development in-house. We have partners that produce development. So, it becomes very, very important to bring these experts in, in the planning phases, in the wireframing phases and the same goes for print as well. When you’re designing a print you want to make sure that you are able to fit within the budget of what the client has desired to spend on the project. You can’t come up with the most brilliant idea that would cost thousands and thousands of dollars in print and then the client is just not going to go for it. It’s better to realize that much earlier in your process than later and that’s why some of these ideas, some of the interactions need to be discussed up-front with some of our developer partners, to make sure that we are adhering to the budges, we’re adhering to the plan for this website.

Once the skin design has been finalized, the interaction components have been figured out, we start handing off to a developer and it’s very…we try to think it’s a seamless process but there is always the back and forth between us, between the client. It is important to make sure that our clients are involved in the beginning of the process to the end; it’s very much a collaboration. I think of when I was younger I think I thought of design a little bit more about, just like the artistic expression: yes, there’s an audience; yes, there’s a client but it is my artistic expression and I think that notion has changed in me very, very quickly. I realize that I’m much better in team thinking and team planning and team execution than I am on my own and that has been across all my work, whether it’s brand, brand strategy, print and then web.

Gary:
Well, I love the fact you brought up the fact there because I’m stealing a quote from Andy Mangold. He basically said, “Design is a team sport” and I love the fact that you kind of touched on working in teams again.
Julia:
Yeah, absolutely! I honestly can’t think of any other way of doing this today. And there are designers who are independent and they don’t ever want to change and that works for them, just it’s not for me, I don’t think, any more.
Gary:
I want to follow up on the process. Thank you, that was a really great stepping us through the process. I want to focus on one little part of it and it has to do with a struggle that I’m having in the classroom is, I came to the realization that I’m spending a lot of time teaching students how to do layouts in HTML and CSS and I’m not doing it so they have a basic understanding of HTML and CSS so that they can better work with a front end developer. I realized, I’m teaching them HTML and CSS so they can visualize how a potential design will look on varying screen sizes that I don’t think can be accurately replicated in existing tools like Photoshop or Illustrator. So, how do you do that? What is you process for rapid iteration of those compositions so you can have a critique on what it looks like in a mobile view versus a large display view?
Julia:
Yeah, it’s…you know, it’s interesting because in this new way of thinking of how everything looks on the mobile device, we have to really consider this first. Just recognizing how my…I’ve been in the industry for so long now, how my habits of interacting has changed and we need to modify how we approach design and starting to think from the smallest device first is sometimes very freeing. It’s limiting at first; sounds like the canvas is way too tiny. You might not be able to express everything you want to express in the smaller device but it has helped us to think of everything small first and then grow it to a larger screen and identify mid-points, what interpretation they have.

So, we do not start our work in…we don’t do the HTML and CSS in-house. This might be limiting for some other firms. We found that it works for us well; maybe in the future it will change but for now, it has worked well where we start to think large and small right away and while we’re designing, we’re designing in parallel oftentimes. A lot of the thinking needs to happen on the fly, so you think how the composition will look on a large screen and it’s a significantly different experience looking at it on a small screen, so right away, you’re thinking of a modular system, you’re thinking, do you trim the content? Do you eliminate some content? Do you need to have everything on the page? Do you hide it? So you’re starting to think of, I don’t want to call them tricks, but techniques used in a smaller canvas. And we found that presenting both these uses helps our client understand how it would live. We no longer think of one; we need to right away think of multiple.

Gary:
Have you started, or have you thought about…there’s a proliferation of tools like Sketch and InVision and Adobe is now, just had a big announcement, coming up with Comet; have you investigated any of these tools for coming up with those visual comps?
Julia:
Yeah, yeah. Once our designs have been figured out and the thinking has been figured out and we have put it together, it could be a very rough layout, we do take it into InVision. Nothing compares in presentation when you are looking at almost live, in a browser window, an experience that you meant to have and we have been using InVision. I think that there are many other tools out there that have been highly praised and I think most recently, there’s…do you know the work of Khoi Vinh?
Gary:
Yes, that’s how I found you kind of!
Julia:
Oh, you did? OK, thanks. So there’s a designers’ toolbox survey that Khoi put together and it is looking into what tools designers use today and it was so interesting to see how people are using various tools and it really piqued my interest in certain ones that I wasn’t aware of at all and going into this project, I didn’t know anything about UXPin; had no idea. Apparently it’s not a very popular tool; there’s only based on the Design Tool Survey, there’s only one per cent of people using it. I found it very surprising that Keynote is being used for wireframes; I’ve heard of people using it: I always think of Keynote as more of a presentation tool but it is so intuitive that why not? Why not, if you have something to show, a quick transition: why shouldn’t you use Keynote? That’s totally acceptable. So yeah, there are so many and I’ve toyed with Sketch before; I found that it was a little clunky for me. I’ve done Omnigraph before also. The fluency we have in Illustrator: everything else pales. Everything else pales in comparison.
Gary:
Yeah, and I think that’s…well, to back that up, OK, I have two questions on there and the first on is, again, I’m teaching HTML and CSS and so the fundamental…I’m teaching HTML and CSS not so they can be front end coders but that transition, that animation, I don’t know how else to get them to be able to visualize, how do you show a client or how do you show a developer an animation, a transition, when none of these tools really are rock-solid at doing it yet? At least, maybe they are and I’m just behind the times!
Julia:
No, no, no, no. I think if the students are savvy enough to put together their animation in HTML and CSS, that’s wonderful. But I think that as an idea of animation could be shown in various ways and I think there is, you could leave room for interpretation in every step, just enough. When I guide our designers, you can’t prescribe too much: you want to leave some room for exploration and I think it goes the same for developers. You want to show what the intent is but how to get there, you want them to figure it out and we found that when we’re designing and there’s a certain animation transition that we are keen on, we either have a sample; we saw it somewhere. Or if we didn’t come across a sample, we’d animate it with After Effects. We might animate in Keynote. Whatever tool you think would work for you to get your idea across, I think that’s all that matters. The only, I think, issue I take is how quickly you could get to that idea; that’s what I think becomes really, really important and if the programming the HTML and CSS is the way you could get there: wonderful. If there are other ways and tools that you have used, by all means use them.
Gary:
So that, right there, is the key and that’s my struggle. In a curriculum, to teach somebody who has no prior knowledge of HTML and CSS enough so they can get proficient enough to create an animation so they then can critique it, refine it takes a tremendous amount of time so that to teach a student, so that makes me have to go back and sacrifice something and that’s what I’m struggling with.
Julia:
Yeah. But what I like about you teaching this is that what happens in College, it’s kind of your playground, right? You are figuring stuff out, you’re learning; you’re very young. You enter College when you’re eighteen, you graduate when you’re twenty one, twenty two: you are still a young individual so you have a whole lot to figure out and the more exposure you have to various tools, you might find yourself taking it further and if you don’t have this exposure, you might never get to it and I think that’s why the four year College experience is so incredibly important; there is a lot of playing around and figuring out you have to do, and I do like that you’re teaching this. I don’t know if animation is…introducing students to HTML and CSS through animation is the only way of introducing them to it, but I think it’s kind of the funnest thing that people could relate to quickly, right?
Gary:
Yeah. Well, personal bias, yes!
Julia:
Yeah, but I have to say that a lot of our designers who are working on web design today, they never coded HTML, right? They have a basic understanding of it but they’re still doing the work, they’re still understanding what needs to be done; the big picture, what needs to be done to get to the final and they’re using other tools to get there and I think that’s kind of like the human nature of adjusting to professional needs.
Gary:
So, this is a good segue into some other questions that I wanted to ask but the first one is, for me it’s that balance and so I’m frustrated that I don’t feel that I’m teaching…I’m not spending enough time teaching on how to design for interactions. Rather, I’m spending more time teaching all the different tool variations so they can create something and then by the time they’re ready to create something that we could critique, I’m out of time! And so I’m guessing from maybe your perspective, what would be the ideal for you? Would you rather have somebody who can…I’m going to have to offload something, so would you rather deal with a student that maybe their visual acuity is not up to snuff but they can get in there and they can start working, or vice-versa?
Julia:
This is interesting because I struggled with this myself. I tell you why: I found that when we get students, young designers coming in from just graduating, becoming interns or still while they’re in College being interns, they are being taught skills and because they’re still very young, I don’t know if they entirely formed some of the other basic skills of critical thinking, ability to express their thoughts and we get different kinds of students as a result and I think that everyone has strengths, right? And some students gravitate a lot more towards the visual and the nuance of design and others gravitate to understanding the tool so well and then it’ll take them time to craft their skill, the aesthetics. I think what happens is that by the time they graduate, they all have different skill-sets and I think what is important for me is when an individual comes through our doors is that they are intelligent, they’re smart and they’re critical thinkers; they are able to design well and this comes with the understanding that you need to grow in all of this so sometimes we feel like, hmm, presentation skills are lacking, then we start crafting, we’re starting to ask these young designers to present more, to express their ideas more in a studio-wide critique.

If they are not as skilled in some of our tools, maybe it’s Photoshop. Illustrator, whatever, we start giving them projects that are a little more application-specific. For example, if someone is not as well-versed in Illustrator, we’ll give them two hundred icons to design and you will very quickly know how to move around Illustrator and how to get that to work. Someone else might have had a very rigorous academic background but their aesthetic is not as well developed. Well, with a few more projects, you will start to figure out…you get the guidance from the creative directors, art directors, to figure out what isn’t working. And yes, what’s important and what I kind of didn’t realize when I was still in College is there’s room for every single person in this market-place; those who are very, very strong visual designers will find a spot but those who are maybe not as strong on the visual aspect of the spectrum, they might find more…they might find themselves more in a strategy component of the creative phase: there’s so many opportunities in the design field. So, I understand your struggle, but different students will take differently to different…they observe differently. I think what’s important is to provide them with variety so they, as they’re growing, as they’re becoming older, understand what they’re gravitating towards more.

Gary:
No, that makes perfect sense; I never stopped and thought about that they’re going to find there is a niche for them and that they just need to find that niche.
Julia:
Yeah, absolutely and it will take a little while. I think through your twenties, you’re kind of lost. Heck, you know, you go through life. But that’s the pursuit of knowledge, right, the constant curiosity, figuring out what is that my next step? Where am I? Asking these questions: these are good questions to ask throughout your professional life.
Gary:
Yeah, we should actually do that a little bit more in education because we get so caught up in let’s make this project that we don’t stop to, or at least I don’t feel I stop enough to reinforce it. I’ll re-phrase that. I do tell them, you should be learning this, you should be learning that in addition to what I’m teaching in the classroom but I don’t enforce it; I don’t put in a mechanism that it becomes ingrained in a daily process, I guess. So I just realized that we’re coming up on time, so there’s one question that I wanted to ask before I let you go, and it’s kind of we’ve already been talking about and I’ve asked this question before with varying answers or non-answers and that’s, what type of work in a student’s portfolio gives you the best indication that they will be successful as an interactive designer at your agency?
Julia:
Mm-hmm. I think what’s most…I think my answer’s going to be very similar to how a lot of professionals answer this. I think when I get an inquiry or application, the very, very first thing I do is I read that email; I glance at it. It needs to be very sort, snippy and give me a sense of who you are, why you think you’re a good fit for Hyperakt and I will look at your résumé. The résumé will be, I understand that young designers might not have a whole lot of experience but I’ll look at things like, how is it put together? What are your hobbies? What were the most exciting classes to you? If you end up putting it on your resume, that’s great. I also think that if you end up doing a whole lot of internships, I think it’s a big plus; I think it’s important for me to see that you had other work experiences in professional settings because you’re not only being judged on your skill, on your aesthetic but also how well you are versed in a professional field. I understand the students have a whole lot of pretending to do; it’s kind of like, fake it until you make it. I want to encourage them and tell them that it never stops! You have to fake it all the time!

Because if you are curious, you’re definitely dealing with issues that you’ve never deal with before. You will be learning and when you are learning, you are selling these ideas to clients and ultimately you are faking it until you’re figuring it out, until you finally figure it out and then you move on. So, then the last component, once my interest was piqued in their email, cover letter, résumé, I’ll look at the work. It has to be part of the link; I prefer…today there’s no excuse for you to send a pdf; I think it’s better…there’s so many tools out there. You don’t have to code the website: you could just use a service, pay for it, or maybe get a free one, I don’t care: I just want to see your work online and what I’m looking for is breadth of work to give me a sense of have you done some branding projects and how these brands move on to being in their online environment, and it could be mock-ups. I want to make sure that those who are applying for these positions think of presentations. A very polished presentation is a reflection of you; it’s a reflection of how proud you are of your work and I think it’s incredibly important for you to spend the time documenting your work, documenting your process, knowing how to talk about your process. It almost does not matter what exactly your process is: it’s how you showcase it, how you think about it and how you speak about it is what I count and I want to see, I want to have a glimpse into your head, into your processing, to your ideas.

So, portfolios I oftentimes there are thumbs of people’s work and that sometimes gives me just enough of a sense together with the résumé, together with just how the page is put together; what service you end up using in putting this page together and then I’ll click on one or two projects; I’ll click on branding project, I’ll click on interactive project. I longer click on print projects because I do think that we evolved. There’s just no pressing need for print as much as it was a decade ago. So yeah, once I get a good holistic picture of the work you’ve submitted, I’m fully informed and then there is an interview. Nothing beats and in-person meeting.

Gary:
Oh, of course.
Julia:
And that is very, very good for designers to get these information interviews almost. Don’t come in for a professional interview: I think that might be scary. Oftentimes I think people might not consider you for a position but they will certainly give you an information interview where they’ll just share what is expected, how the company works, what are the opportunities for a young designer and I think that’s a good foot in the door for a young designer. Start when you’re maybe Sophomore; if you’re not sure where you’re going, start internships. Limit yourself to three months of an internship and jump around. You’ll learn different approaches; you’ll learn about different processes; you’ll learn how to work with different people; you’ll figure out what you like and don’t like and it will help you become a better professional. You’ll learn what not to do if you clearly see things are not working, that’s a good experience. You might find mentors in the process. What School offers is wonderful; it’s a wonderful playpen but what happens in the professional world is a little different and having these exposures are really wonderful for young professionals.
Gary:
And you know, I’ve just one comment…I cannot stress to students enough when I’m telling them make a portfolio site or I’m telling them make their résumé, any of that material that they’re going to hand off, I try to explain to them that, when you’re applying for a job, you’re not applying for a senior level position: the person hiring you knows you are a student. Be a student! Be proud of that; don’t try to make yourself look like something that you’re not because they’ll see right through it and they just are so scared that they just can’t, we have to throw everything at it because they’re so scared.
Julia:
Well, I think they shouldn’t say straight out, I am a student, right? I think that it goes as a bit of an under-current when you’re young, you’ve just graduated, you’re looking at your…I always check the graduation year of a student, just to get a sense because no matter how skilled you are, when you are entering the field, if you have no work experience, you’re a junior designer, you are just starting out, you have so much to learn about the other aspects of being a professional. I think it’s important to sell yourself as a professional; I don’t think you should hide that you’re a student. You shouldn’t necessarily advertise it either; you shouldn’t say in your biography, you’re a student at such-and-such University or such-and-such Art School because by the time you’re graduating, you’re no longer a student: you have graduated!
Gary:
Well, they try to cover up their lack of experience.
Julia:
How so, how are they….
Gary:
Like, for example, I see a lot of…they’ll put, and OK, you know what? Maybe this isn’t bad. But for, let’s say, a portfolio website, they instead of just putting their design pieces, they’re starting to put in everything; it’s a kitchen sink approach because they’re not…it almost feels like they’re not confident in their design skills so they want to put in photography pieces; they want to put in if they took a pottery class, they’ll put in pottery pieces; they’ll throw in everything to make themselves, to try to brand themselves as this expert or this…
Julia:
Yes, yes, I understand what you mean. Yeah, you have to edit out, you have to curate your work for a little while and you might not be the best judge of it either. So you have to get…that’s the teamwork that you have to adhere. It’s not about you. You know how sometimes people during photo-shoots, people who are being photographed should not be judging the best photograph, the best portrait of themselves and the same thing goes here: you should not be the best judge of this. Someone else needs to help you and whether it’s a professor or a friend or someone in a profession, you need to be open to asking for help and knowing how to do it so it doesn’t become creepy, it doesn’t…it’s not too imposing but you really need help and people in the profession realize that; they kinda know it. But yeah, editing is important. It’s a skill also to be studying.
Gary:
Yeah, and it comes just out of a sense of nervousness because they don’t feel like they are the expert in what they do so they try to mask that by any means necessary, they’ll go through that.
Julia:
Yeah, I think sometimes better to concentrate on one project and really walk the viewer through the process instead of putting their pottery or photography. I think that becomes important somewhere else but if it’s not honed in, it’s not this useful.
Gary:
Not center-stage but at a nice little by-line somewhere down at the very bottom that you know that it shows their personality, if it’s their interest, but OK.
Julia:
Oh yeah, yeah, absolutely. I love seeing people’s hobbies; I absolutely love it because it gives me a sense that you’re not a design robot! I really want to know how many languages you speak. I really want to know if you’re into sports, what kind of sports? I don’t know, it gives me a glimpse into character a little more.
Gary:
No, I mean I think that’s important. So, Julia, before I let you go, is there anything you’re working on, you or Hyperkat…to…Hyperakt…oh, I can’t believe I did that!
Julia:
Oh, no problem!
Gary:
…like to share or something you want to promote?
Julia:
Sure, yeah, there’s one project that we started last year that’s been on-going and kind of interesting for the design community. We started a project called On The Grid. It is a neighborhood guide to…
Gary:
Oh yeah!
Julia:
Yeah, yeah. It’s a neighborhood guide curated by designers in various cities across the world and we started this project when we were moving from one office in Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn which is a very residential neighborhood to a completely different neighborhood, but very, very industrial called Gowanus. When we moved into that neighborhood we had no idea what was going on and how exciting this neighborhood is, so we started thinking, OK, where are we going to go for lunch? Where are we going to go explore this neighborhood? And we started one of our designers started collecting locations, figuring out what would be a cool place to put down on a map for our neighborhood and from there was born the idea of On The Grid. We put it together, we launched it as a Gowanus Neighborhood first and we approached a couple of design studios, friends of ours and asked, do you want to curate your own neighborhood? They said yes and very, very quickly over a number of months, it exploded. There are now about three hundred and eighty neighborhoods in…I’m sure I’m going to get the number of cities wrong…but our goal is to get up to a hundred cities worldwide; there are ambassadors now for every city. They know the local community really well and so they are asking people to curate their neighborhoods and it becomes this kind of a guide for a design traveler, so, anywhere in the world. I was recently in London for the first time; I had nowhere…I didn’t know where to go. Where would designers go? And I got in touch with the Ambassador there, interestingly called Hyperkit…
Gary:
Mm-hm
Julia:
And they pointed me to a couple of cool spots. At that point the city wasn’t launched yet so it was not available online but it becomes this community of designers, a community of people and that to me is so incredibly exciting. We, as designers, we’re social creatures and having a community is very, very important and we find that to be a really fundamental need in our profession so now I’m really excited when I travel that I could reach out to any design team…ambassador design team, and get pointers to where to go.
Gary:
I’m actually really excited about the project and a while ago, I was looking at it and I saw, I’d moved to Baltimore and I was like, oh, Baltimore should be on here. And then I was like, you know what? I wanted to apply to be an ambassador and I was like, you know, I just knew that I didn’t have the time commitment.
Julia:
Yeah…no, it definitely takes a commitment but you are really becoming part of the community and that to me is really…and really getting to know the neighborhood and really going from, you know, you’re working on global brands, you’re working with clients who are dealing with global issues and now you’re getting down to the ground to the people who are in your neighborhood; I think that kind of scale is exciting to be connected from the professional to kind of with your hands, walking around photographing and documenting your neighborhood. To me, it’s kinda cool.
Gary:
What’s the URL on that, so that people listening to it can look it up?
Julia:
Sure. It’s onthegrid.city and then you could navigate to your city.
Gary:
Right well, and so are there any…is it self-sustaining at this point or are there any things, anything new coming out of it?
Julia:
Well, so On The Grid is part of what we call Hyperakt Labs projects and these are all self-initiated projects. These projects don’t have revenue generation and it’s entirely based on donated time, volunteering, but we hope down the line there might be corporate sponsorships that will allow us to develop it further, to invest more time. Right now we’re sponsoring the development of it and thank goodness for generous support from the design community who are willing to devote that time but it’s an incredible amount of time and we’re not able to compensate people for it, nor is it meant to do that, but we hope down the line that we can get some funding to maybe design an app or be able to improve the website or maybe go back to some locations and maybe edit copy with a professional editor: just kind of polish some of the stuff that we couldn’t get to do without the right amount of money. So is it self-sustaining right now? Right now, yes, because of the generous support of the design community.
Gary:
That’s fantastic. All right, well that’s all we have time for today on Episode 13 of Design Edu Today. I want to thank today’s guest, Julia Zeltser of Hyperakt, for being so generous with her time. I want to thank the audience for listening and I want to thank the Design Edu Today hosting sponsor, Digital Ocean, and CDN sponsor Fastly, for making the hosting and distribution of these podcasts possible. Finally, I want to thank the AIGA and the AIGA Design Educators’ Community for their generous support of my research that led to this podcast series.

If you want to discover more about the Design Edu Today podcast and read the session notes and transcripts, visit us on the web at designedu.today. You can follow us on Twitter @designedutoday, like our Facebook page or subscribe to this podcast through the iTunes Store.

Thank you for listening to the Design Edu Today.