A few words on Volume 2

Welcome to Volume 2 of RECOGNIZE!

2020 has definitely been a year for the history books. From climate disasters to worldwide protests for social change to the U.S. presidential race, we have experienced events this year unlike any in modern history. (And yes, that includes the coronavirus.)

We started out 2020 with a lot of plans for RECOGNIZE, but once COVID-19 became a reality, we had to unexpectedly change course after a series of issues threatened whether or not we could even publish a second volume. For starters, we did not get as many submissions this year because our deadline overlapped with the beginning of lockdown procedures in many states. Some authors asked for their submissions to be pulled completely from the anthology for various pandemic-related reasons. We lost funding for this year, and then I lost my job (which meant losing backup funding — my paycheck.) In many ways, we had to start from square one for this volume — pretty ironic, considering this year’s theme for the anthology is “fresh”.

After a three-month planning period and reworking a few deadlines, we managed to keep RECOGNIZE going and come through with this year for you, the design community. In this year’s volume, you’ll learn about a straight-ahead method to design inspired by the sounds of jazz. You’ll read about how an unexpected trip to Europe created a new way of approaching problems and solving them through design. (I also started writing an essay on design recruiting, but didn’t have the time to finish it before today. Blame it on my head, not my heart.) All essays this year, like the year before, are accompanied by the brilliant art of illustrator Robert Liu-Trujillo.

The illustration for my not-finished essay.

If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s this: many of the systems and practices we took for granted can be easily manipulated, hacked, or dismantled. How will designers use their skills to contribute to this change and bring about something new? I hope this year’s essays provide you with some food for thought towards realizing that we have the unique power to create the reality that we desire.