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Abby Guido

Abby Guido is an assistant professor of graphic and interactive design at Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University.She’s got an MBA, her own design practice, and one piece of advice for her students: focus.

Teaching the Business of Design
Teaching the Business of Design

Teaching the Business of Design

Ep
129
Apr
14
With
Abby Guido
Or Listen On:

If you could learn something new, what would it be?

If you could go back in time and learn something new, what would it be? What thing would you study to better equip you for the world and you live in today?

In the business world, designers now have a seat at table. They do more than just make things pretty. Their decisions and actions have a direct impact on the bottom line.

Which means they have a responsibility to the business. Something that isn’t taught in art school.

Our guest in this episode, Abby Guido, is an assistant professor of graphic and interactive design at Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University.

She’s got an MBA, her own design practice, and one piece of advice for her students: focus.

Abby and Chris discuss teaching philosophies, the role teachers play in the creative process, and try to answer the question: what should we teach people?

The two don’t agree on every little thing, but they do agree on this portfolio advice: if they can’t figure out who you are and what you do in less than 60 seconds, they’re moving on to someone else.

Hosted By
special guest
produced by
edited by
music by
Appearances

Episode Transcript

Abby:
It's very hard when you're 22 and you're getting your first job to not just feel like, Oh man, this company is great because they want me, they're going to invest in me. And I just have to say yes to them. And this is an amazing offer. But actually you want to also look at that company decided that's somewhere you want to be, you're actually a value to them. They spent their time and time is money interviewing people and they're not going to just want to walk away because you asked for $2,000 more.  

Greg:
Welcome to The Futur Podcast, the show that explores the interesting overlap between design, marketing and business. I'm Greg Gunn. If you could go back in time and learn something new, what would it be? What might better equip you for the world that you live in today? Think about that question while you listen to this conversation, because today we're going to talk education, specifically creative education. In the business world, designers now have a seat at the table, meaning they do more than just make things pretty. Their actions have a direct impact on the bottom line, which in my opinion means that they have a responsibility to the business. And that's something that isn't really taught in art school. And speaking of, our guest today is an assistant professor of graphic and interactive design. She's got an MBA, her own design practice, and one piece of advice for her students, focus.
In this episode, she and Chris discuss teaching philosophies, the role teachers should take in the creative process and try to answer the question, what should we teach people? Now, they don't necessarily agree on every little thing, but they do on this piece of portfolio advice. If they can't figure out who you are and what you do in less than 60 seconds, they're moving on. Now, if I could go back in time and learn something new, it would be learning how to learn. I know super meta, but it took me too long to understand that concept. Think about what your answer might be. And in the meantime, please enjoy our conversation with Abby Guido.

Chris:
Hi Abby, welcome to the show. For people who don't know who you are, can you quickly introduce yourself, please?  

Abby:
Sure, absolutely. I'm Abby Guido and I am an assistant professor of graphic and interactive design at, it's called... it's going to be a long one, Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University. They just added architecture on and the PR press was like, you have to say it. So I'm getting used to saying it too.

Chris:
Well, we don't want the other PR team to get upset at you, so you said it and there we are.

Abby:
It's out there.

Chris:
Yes. Okay. I'm going through your bio. I'm reading all these things about you and I'm thinking, I'm going to geek out with you on just teaching and teaching principles and philosophies. Is that okay?

Abby:
Absolutely. I'd love to.

Chris:
Okay. So can you tell us a little bit about your background? Because that was a mouthful when you were like, this is who I am, this is what I'm doing, who are you?  

Abby:
Sure. I always cringe when people start with, I always knew I wanted to do design when I was two. But I will say that in nursing school a report card was sent home that said I use too much paper. So that kind of sets the stage, I was always a maker and I got into art in high school and had two great art teachers who were painters. So I said, okay, I'm going to be a painter. That's my life. I head off to art school. And I had one of those amazing moments with an amazing design faculty member in my freshman year who introduced me to the field of design.
And I thought I promised I would never sell out and be a designer, that was kind of what was fed to me, was selling out. But I loved it. I loved everything about it. I love the idea of being given a problem to solve, that really sat well with me. And I then went on to take a painting class and I realized, no, no, no. As a 19 year old, I don't have much to say. So painting was not my thing. I fell in love with design and kind of took off from there. I've worked in New York, in L.A. and now I'm back in Philadelphia teaching and have my studio and a few other projects going on.  

Chris:
Okay. Well that was very succinct. So you went into Art school, the Art?

Abby:
Yes.

Chris:
And then you found design, the dirty bastard child alert.  

Abby:
That's right.

Chris:
And he seduced you. Okay. So what year is this?

Abby:
So that was foundation year. And that was 1997 or '98. I don't remember if it was fall or spring semester, but that was my first taste of real design.  

Chris:
Okay. So you're a little younger than me. I just wanted to just establish the whole age thing here. Because I graduated from ArtCenter in 1995.

Abby:
Okay.

Chris:
You were in foundation year in '97, '98. So you were just a couple of years behind me. Okay, I get it. So what was it about design that besides the fact that you're like, okay, so who am I? What's my voice in the world as an artist? What is it else? What other things about design hooked you?  

Abby:
I don't think that there is one solution for a problem, but I do think that there are more successful solutions. And I think that's what really got me, was that immediate feedback I was getting. I can remember sitting in a sophomore level painting class and with a classmate who I knew. And I knew the hours in the studio were not equal to mine, but they got up and they talked about their painting as if that was all they did for the past two weeks. And I'm sitting there thinking that's BS, I know what you were really doing. And I couldn't wing it. I couldn't do it. I spent all this time and my painting got torn apart. And I was just like, this isn't for me. I kind of needed that connection that was made for me in design classes where we could have a conversation with the same vocabulary and come to an understanding if something was working or not.  

Chris:
Yeah. Okay. I think as two designers, we're going to probably offend a few of our fine art friends, but let's just go there. Why not? You have a point of view so do I. And I was just thinking about this. I had a roommate, he was a fine artist and we got along just fine but the worlds in which we lived in, even though we went to the same school, similarly age it was so, so different. And the designers would joke about the fine artists, it's sort of BS, you put two strokes on a canvas and you're going to can talk about the meaning of life and having existential crisis and friction of shifting plate tectonics and what? I saw two strokes of paint, that's really what I saw. And then I know my art friends would say like, Oh, you designers, and you're right. It's like, you just make pretty things and you're so trivial in your pursuits and you're about the money aren't you? And so the war between art, fine art and graphic design exists, do you see it differently?  

Abby:
I see it differently now. I think that there was much more of a divide when I was a student myself, 25 years ago. I think that there's been a new respect for design that has elevated it and folks understand. And then on the flip side, I think I understand that student more and I respect that student more who was out exploring the world and maybe their actual time to make that painting of those two strokes. I didn't at the time think it was enough work, but I don't know what work they were doing outside of it. And so my take on it has changed a bit. I think being an educator has impacted that and seeing how different students work. So I don't want to offend those folks out there, but I do think that there is a different type of drive in design students, different type of connection and a different community than there are in other fine arts.

Chris:
So you've gone soft on me. You've become an educator. You're working for the man now, you have to take a political answer.

Abby:
But I love it now. And I think you and I are going to have some great conversations about things we don't agree on because I do, I see the value in it all. As a 19 year old, I did not. And I'm sure I made a lot of enemies when I was in art school myself.

Chris:
Okay. I'm just giving you a hard time, I actually believe you. Okay. Now here's the part where I think I'm going to go a little bit deeper, now that we get a sense of who you are, what you're doing. I'm going to just jump right to it because it's not that often that I'm able to talk to a fellow design educator or someone who's passionate about teaching and education. So I'm just going to begin here. Okay. So people ask me this a lot, 21st century, what should we be teaching people right now?  

Abby:
I know, such a big question. So that as well has changed. I mean, I think we've all witnessed how quickly the industry is changing the past, within even five years. I mean, you could even say within the past one year, how different it is, and it's a conversation I have all the time within my department and other educators is, are we still teaching this Jack of all trades? It's there still craft? Do students still have to learn how to build the one inch by one inch cube? Is there a value in the discipline you learn when you learn handcraft? So what should we be teaching, to me is a lot of things. And it should be changing as time changes. So I think that we have to have that connection to what's happening in industry, in one sense.
We also have to lead that charge in another sense. But I think where we're getting at, and what I'm always going through my head is, it goes back to, what do you take out to put in? We can't keep adding more. We've seen what's happening with just adding more in life in general and more social media and more things you can get that you can't just keep piling it on. And so what do you trade off to start adding in some of the things that you push? Some of the business skills, which I have my MBA, I'm with you with all of that, but how do we do that and still teach the foundations of design and still create well-rounded designers. I didn't give you an answer, I don't have an answer.

Chris:
You didn't. I'm waiting for your answer. I have a pen ready right here. I'm waiting for you.

Abby:
I like to teach generalist at first, who then have the opportunity later in their college years of being specialist. So type is always going to be number one. I think having strong type of graphic skills, no matter where you go, even if you don't end up being a designer will serve you well. And then I think you start kind of thinking about what interests you and you dive in there. So whether that be UX or image-making, illustration, I think you can do a little bit of both and still get some specialty training while you're in school.  

Chris:
Okay. Well, I want to save the business part. You just kind of snuck that in there, but we're going to save that for a little bit later because that's obviously something I'm very passionate about. So I thought you were going to tell me something totally different.

Abby:
Really?

Chris:
Yes. So let's go with that. The whole specialist, generalist debate that often goes, I guess unresolved to this day. So you said something like it's okay at the beginning for you to be introduced to lots of skills, but you think type is the foundation of a lot of the way that we communicate to the world as designers. I agree with you, my hand's up in the air, like, amen. I get you. And then at some point, hopefully before the person graduates, they need to pick a lane somewhere, I think, right? Are we on the same page?  

Abby:
So I think they should but they don't, that's my experience, is that I'm seeing it's very hard because that excitement of a 20, 21 year old of all these things they're learning, I kind of sympathize with them. They make this great work and then they're told when they put their portfolio up to leave their packaging off because they only want to do UX. And they're like, but Abby, I spent my two years doing this and I can't show it. And so I understand and I see them more often not actually trying for the specialist approach, but I push them and I try to get them to do that. Especially their last few semesters, to really think about kind of building their portfolio around where they see themselves.  

Chris:
What's the argument that you make with them when they're showing you all this work. And you're trying to tell them, yeah, actually this might not help you get a job or launch your career.  

Abby:
That on average someone might spend five seconds on your site. And if they don't know who you are, as soon as they land there, they're going to go somewhere else. But that still doesn't really work.  

Chris:
Okay. So it's falling on deaf ears.  

Abby:
Fine, but we can hide it. So you can have your landing page to be kind of what you like to do, where you want to go and then you can have your illustration somewhere else so that it still lives there, but it's not what the focus is.  

Chris:
Okay. So you tell them what they need to hear, but they don't want that. They don't want to eat the spinach or the broccoli or the cauliflower or the brussel sprouts. They don't want to eat that. They're going to go out, they graduate, they put out this generalist website and then inevitably, I think they don't get work.  

Abby:
They redo it.

Chris:
They call you up and they're like, Abby, Oh my God, I should've listened to you. I'm not kidding. What should I do? And that's when you roll your eyes and you count to 10, you're like, okay. And then you tell them the same information again?  

Abby:
They actually usually get there. I've actually, this week met with two students who graduated last year, who were like, okay, I'm reworking my portfolio and I'm focusing just on UX and I'm going to learn Figma and redo all my projects and that's all it's going to be. And so they usually come to it and then they say, will you take a look and tell me what you think? So they've made that leap without me reminding them again.  

Chris:
Oh, okay. And do they send you a box of cookies or something?  

Abby:
I think just like a nice thank you, that's all it takes, have a beer with me once we can actually have beers together. Yeah, and that's that makes me happy.  

Chris:
See, I'd be really smug about it, I'm like, you see. So it's not working for you? But you're a better person than I am.  

Abby:
I wasn't always. So this is kind of evolved into this. I think before I definitely took the path of, told you so.

Chris:
I'm still not there yet. Okay.

Abby:
You'll get there, Chris, come on and bring out the kind Chris.  

Chris:
I'm not in any kind of school anymore, so I can just be as nasty as I want to be. And people could love it or leave it. But I want to recap quickly for people who are listening the five second rule, let's just call it Abby's five second rule. If I can't figure out who you are in five seconds or less, I'm out. Just remember that. And that applies to you as a young person just graduating school or a person who's run a company for 10 years. And you're wondering, why aren't I getting better projects? Because you're making it really difficult for people to figure it out. Just don't make me think so hard. That's the key to life. That's UX principle right there, don't make me work so hard for it. So that's the five second rule.
And hopefully people will hear this now, but I guess you and I, we don't care that much because you'll figure it out one way or the other, the market has a way of telling you yeah, pay attention here. Now the part where I'm a little surprised is I want to ask you what skills should we be teaching or learning right now? I thought you were going to say something totally different because I've been thinking about this myself. So as a parent of two boys and a person who is on the internet, always telling people, school's not really kind of keeping up with what's going on. I have a much more radical answers. I'd like to tell you what my answer is and then get your response to that. Okay?

Abby:
All right, I'm ready.

Chris:
I think schools, regardless of what major that you're going to pursue, but specifically in design needs to teach you how to be a better communicator, to be a better critical thinker and how to do proper research. And those three skills, I think will allow you to be a leader in the 21st century and to play more important roles in shaping the future. Your thoughts on that?  

Abby:
I love that. I'm going to add one more. I think that it's also, and I totally agree. And hearing you say that I'm like, I should have said that answer. But I think also that it's the responsibility of universities and academia to also instill the love of learning into students. And the understanding of how to get the information you need to learn. I think that those skills, we always get into the weeds of, okay, which software should they be learning, but it's not the actual software. It's, if I don't know something, where do I go to learn it? And what are the steps I take to get good at a thing? And I think that's our role to kind of inspire that in students as well.  

Chris:
Yes. So the reason why, I mean, usually I would say learning how to learn is a critical skill, then people are scratching like, what kind of doublespeak is that? That's why I reduce it down to research, learning how to ask the question and being able to parse fact from fiction, that's the critical thinking part. And then making decisions about is this the right way for me moving forward, something I do with my son ever since he was a little boy, I would say to him, do not ask me a question that you can get the answer from if you just typed in literally that same question to Google, you're just being a little lazy right now. You want dad to tell you all the answers, but you know what, there are better answers on the internet, just search Google, find out. And then when you're really stuck, try again, and when you're really stuck, stuck, I will help you, but I'll help you just by [crosstalk 00:17:55].

Abby:
I'm excited for those days, my daughter's just learning how to read. So I don't think the thing she would type in there are going to get her the answer, but I can't wait until I can say that too. I'm going to take that from you.  

Chris:
What's interesting will be that, I'm pretty sure with the kind of neural network and the artificial intelligence that's happening, even a young person who doesn't have all the language can just speak it to Google. And eventually Google kind of will understand relative to the person's age and kind of the things they're interested in to shape an answer that kind of feels about right.  

Abby:
I'm sure that'll happen. I know Alexa for anyone with kids spells and spells slowly, if you say spell slow, and that has been amazing because it limits all the, mom, how do you spell play? How do you spell this? Just go ask Alexa, she can give the answer.  

Chris:
That's fantastic. And then I have to ask you if we're kind of in agreement in general kind of philosophical terms about communication of critical thinking and research of learning, how to learn, learning how to love learning so that you become a lifelong learner is where the gaps that exists, maybe in general, not about your school specifically, between what is being taught today and what we need to have in the 21st century.  

Abby:
I think it's such a complex question and I can talk about it within design, more so than other places. I think that we are teaching a professional practice. So we're trying to give our students skills to actually get jobs which separates us from some other disciplines. There's also the pace of technology changing and design changing and new roles coming up that just cannot keep up with this system of how tenure works in academia and how people who get into the profession of teaching can easily and understandably kind of lose that connection to what's happening in industry. And so it gets hard to kind of think about these big kind of concepts and get folks out of the habit of the specific classes of I'm going to teach packaging, and I'm going to teach this, one intro to web and how to code whatever it might be. And how do I incorporate those three principles into those classes is definitely difficult for many people to think through, when they're focused too much on the finished product.
And I think that that has happened too much because we are professional practice. And we're always thinking about this portfolio and what are you going to make to get you to your next place, you lose that opportunity to teach all of those other important skills because there's mistakes there. And you're not always ending up with something to show for it because they're more conceptual ideas. And so I think that it's hard for folks in academia to consider those when they're thinking about their curriculum and what they're going to make in a class, because they're thinking about that object in the output instead of the learning along the way. I don't think I answered your question. I kind of lost track of what you asked me.

Chris:
Okay, I'll ask you.

Abby:
Remind me.

Chris:
Yes, thank you.

Abby:
And I'll sum it up for you.

Chris:
Yeah. So if we say the idea would be that schools like higher education would teach people these soft skills, but it seems to be, especially in design programs, the ones I've seen tend to focus a lot on the hard skills and how to make something, the crafts, the crafting of things, the making of things, which I think is important to have, but this gap exists. And what are we going to do about this gap? How do we close the gap?  

Abby:
Yeah. So I have ideas about how to bring those skills into the projects, and I think we can do it. I think when we think about some of the soft skills, think about how do you work with others, you can bring more collaboration into classroom projects. And that was kind of resisted for a long time in design, because it was about what an individual made for their own portfolio. So I do think we can bring some of those skills into projects. A good example, I can remember when I was a student, there was always this push that you're a student do whatever you want. There's no budget, there's no limitations, you made up the client, you basically made your own problem to solve, which gave you the opportunity to say, Oh, I found something I liked better. It looks a little better. So I'm changing my problem because my solution didn't match the problem anymore.
So I think that if we connect more projects to what's happening, we bring in clients from the outside, we have the students working with each other and working with clients and working with experts in different fields. We can bring those skills into the projects they're making, where they're still creating something to put in their portfolio, but they're learning the soft skills along in the process to let go of that, there's no budget, you can make anything, those projects are fun and I think we could keep some of them, but I think bringing the real world into the classroom is what could help that.  

Chris:
Yeah, I think there is a need for those kinds of design exercises and we should call it that, where people can stretch in their creativity and their imagination and they could work on the edges of technology, art, and design and thinking. That's really cool. But getting back to that thing and what you said really connects with me in that, there's a subjective nature to the way that assignments are given in school, where the student can move the goalposts to meet their design.  

Abby:
I can remember editing text being like, Oh, it didn't fit. I'm just going to change that sentence right there.  

Chris:
I still do that to this day, but they're my words now, they're not other people's words so as the writer I could do that. Okay. So there's a little bit of that. And then basically if students don't become aware or develop the skills to actually solve real creative briefs and work and make things for real people and users or clients, then we're not preparing them for the marketplace. So when they get out, there's going to be a brutal awakening and they're going to feel like, Oh, why didn't any of my professors ever prepare me for this moment? You're not king of the world or queen of the world. You don't just get to decide because you feel like it.  

Abby:
And I think the industry has to drive that a little too in that, we know you can send someone's design skills from a few projects. We don't need to have 16 projects in a portfolio. And so I think it can work both ways to help us spend more time with students learning some of the other skills and not focus so much on that completed piece.  

Chris:
Yeah. Well I'm for all of that, and I'm not sure that industry professionals are the ones saying, we need a lot of volume because you say the five second rule. I have a 60 second rule when it comes to look into your work. If I'm not interested in the first 60 seconds, I'm done. Because in my experience now looking at portfolios for over 20 years, it never gets any better. I keep hoping against hope like, Oh please, maybe the...

Abby:
There's a gem somewhere.

Chris:
The fifth piece is going to be amazing. And it's not happened, but if it does happen, my question is, why did you put all this crap before it? Maybe you don't know what's good. And so that's problematic. So I got my first job in advertising as a professional with literally four pieces of my portfolio, I put it in a FedEx box, I sent it to my potential employer and they offered me the job, four pieces. I can tell usually within three pieces, you're good. It only takes three because one you're good, two, you might be lucky, but three for sure shows a pattern you can do this time and time again. I don't need to see the rest. So there's an internal pressure then I think in academia to produce lots of things, because we have all these assignments and then we get away from the things that I think we really need to be doing, which is teaching the soft skills and integrating the business aspects of it. Right?

Abby:
I'm with you. I'm with you 100%.

Chris:
Okay. So you're the rule of the universe, how do you start to change this in education?  

Abby:
So it's rebuilding curriculums really, and it's working with everyone to understand the value of it. So I agree. I think that academia does drive some of it, that we're used to doing it this way. We've always done it this way. Like everything else it's always worked, so why change it now? So I think we can do some of that to help combat that. I think that as I mentioned, thinking about how to incorporate business into the classes, so we have a business of design class. You actually interviewed Emily Cohen who teaches for us. And it's a great course, I co-taught once with her and had my own section and it was wonderful to have that time focus. So I think that that type of course should be part of any design degree. But then I also think within our classes, I have a branding UX class and the students don't just be, they're not given a company. We actually spend the first month of the semester reading a book on design and they search out for a problem and create a client that they're going to build an entire project around.
So they're doing all their research. And while it's impossible for me to teach them all the skills of making a full business plan, they understand what a business plan is. And they think about it when they're thinking about their client, we have conversations around, okay, can this actually work? What is your structure? How are you going to make money if you create this new gym for people who want to work out by themselves in these mini rooms? How will that actually, you're using this building and you're limiting how much money you can make for how many members. So we have those business conversations around their projects. And I think by bringing that into the classes, it can then instill different, important lessons within different courses while you're still focused on whatever you're creating, but we need the educators who know that, and that's the hard part.  

Chris:
Well, you said something earlier, what are we going to get rid of so we can add something because in this case, it is a zero something. There's only so many hours and so many teachers and so many classes you can absorb. So I'm going to ask you a question that will make you probably pretty unpopular in school, which is what kind of classes are you going to get rid of?  

Abby:
I think that it comes back to that portfolio conversation. It is something that I do push back on quite a bit. And it's not that I don't respect and love my colleagues, it's just that I do think it's changed. And I think if we can get that mindset of three to six pieces in a portfolio, we're not thinking so much about every class having to make something for a portfolio. And so I don't think it's like, Oh, forget about packaging or forget about illustration. I think it's more, forget about the idea that this class is producing a finished product. And so in packaging, maybe we learn about building 3D models and we do some 3D printing and some of them might fail miserably and that's fine. So I think having that room for mistakes so that you can do more things within a class will be what could help that. So we're not totally taking away. We're just taking away that total finish beautiful polished piece.  

Chris:
Would that be enough?  

Abby:
I think it can be. Yeah, absolutely. I think so. And then there's bigger issues with academia. So like gen ed, probably when you were a student as well because when I was, there were not as many required classes outside of your major and that's changed throughout just universities in general, the idea of having the general education. So I am willing to take out some of those classes, if I can to add in some other classes that would help specifically design students.  

Chris:
When you say gen ed, what kind of classes are you talking about? What would you replace them with?  

Abby:
Obviously writing is important and there's math classes, but I think structuring those classes so that they are for what you're studying. So if you're to take a writing course that you have to take a comp one, it can be comp one for content creation. So while you're doing these classes outside of your major, you're still doing work that will help you in what you want to do. But that's the complex system of the ecosystem of a university and who's getting what money for what credits and it's very complicated.  

Chris:
It sure is. And I think we're just on the surface of it all. Okay, I get it. I mean, because for me, I think we could take away some of the classes that are the technical classes. Those should be done offline or online, I should say. And at home learning the tools and you could do that. That's a poor use of time and money and resources to have another person repeat a lesson that could be better absorbed via a video based lesson. Right?

Abby:
And we've been using tutorials as more often because I agree with you, I've in the past taught classes where I just print out tutorials and I'm reading them. I'm like, what am I doing with my life? It goes back to the time and how do you get students to understand the value of learning that software on their own? And it's hard for an 18 year old to have that discipline.  

Chris:
It is. Okay. So it's kind of interesting as I reflect back on my life and my career in terms of the education that I got, I got a fantastic design education, but some of the things I learned didn't actually happen in college, it happened somewhere else. And it happened even way before then where Mr. [Ezra Patty's 00:31:14] class in junior high was about building things. And we learned about aerodynamics and force and speed and structure in terms of how to create something that's really strong structurally. And he never lectured about any of those things. The assignments were so well-designed for woodshop that years later, I'm still remembering those lessons.
And in community college, I took a class in music history, art history, and philosophy, and the philosophy class, really, it wrecked me. It wrecked me in ways that I am not the same person post philosophy class as I was pre. And these are things that I think I'd be a different person today if I hadn't taken those classes on my own out of serendipity. So I think that's a problem there because the people who go to school expect, and maybe this is unfair in that the powers that be have arranged a set of classes throughout four years, for them to graduate as a whole human, not a human with a hole. And so, I mean, is that too much to expect universities to be able to do that for people?  

Abby:
No, no. I have this dream of a foundation class that is just teaching students the structure of higher education. I want them to understand what full time versus adjunct and what all that means, but also that to teach them how to kind of plan out their college years. I think we do get plenty of students in that have that expectation. Every class you make me take, you have a reason for making me take it and that's just not true. And so I think helping them understand that not picking the 8:00 AM because you don't want to wake up at 8:00 AM shouldn't be how you're planning your schedule. I tell my students like Google, your professors find out who they are, find people you want to learn from for everything. But oftentimes it comes down to time and just having that kind of approach, you mentioned, just let it all happen to you. And that's not how the world works.

Chris:
Time for a quick break, but we'll be right back with more from Abby. Welcome back to our conversation with Abby Guido. Now I want to go into my favorite part of potentially our conversation together. I think you had said somewhere before as I'm kind of reading some of the, not my opposition, my research on you is that getting your MBA really changed the way you thought about things. And I'm very passionate about business myself. So first question is why did you go and get an MBA? And what did you get from it? And how did that change you?  

Abby:
Absolutely. So when I at first was teaching full time, I was what's called non-tenure track, which is a really nasty way of saying you're not good enough for tenure. Now, it is just, you have no chance of getting tenure. And the only way to get tenure was for me to have an advanced degree and teaching in a university, I can get tuition remission. So I get to go to school for free. I couldn't go to my own program. So that was out of the question. Plus I a few times in my life applied for MFA programs and I always came back to this same decision that I've learned a lot on the job and I don't have that drive to go study design for two more years. I just didn't see what the purpose of that time and money and commitment would be.  
But I had a business, I've always been interested in business. And when you have a business, you get forced to learn everything on the job. And MBAs are a big name. Everyone talks about getting an MBA and how valuable it can be. So I figured I'd try it out. And I looked at it more as a means to the end. I needed an advanced degree, so I could apply for a tenure track position, and this would be an advanced degree, why not go for it? And I thought it was going to be just kind of going through the motions, I'd figure out statistics, which I never had to take. And I'd get through accounting and do some other classes.
But the way our program worked was the first week was an intense program. You went and stayed in a hotel and you got put on a team. You had a team project. And I walked in the first day thinking, okay, I just got to get through this week and I can get back to my husband and my house, and maybe I'll get to apply for a tenure track position. And I left that week and I literally said to my husband, I said, I could be a dean one day. I know I can do it. It just totally changed how I thought about myself and what I could do with my career and my impact on everyone around me.  

Chris:
Okay. So how do we introduce some of those concepts at the undergraduate level? And before I... actually, let me rephrase this question, why is it important for design students to learn more about business?  

Abby:
So I think that it's amazing that designers have a voice at the table now, and that's changed, design thinking, just having the terminology, the language around it. I even think UX and having a vocabulary now to kind of explain why we make decisions, have kind of pushed designers to have a seat at that table. And we have to keep that seat. We have to stay in that position, but to be there, you have to have the education. You have to know what you're talking about. And so prior to, let's say the past 15, 20 years where a designer and the assembly line was kind of the last person. You got things, content was written, ideas were rounded, handed to the designer, and now you make it pretty. We're not doing that any longer. Now we're in that first meeting, what do we need to accomplish? And what are we going to make to accomplish that? But you can't just throw an art school student in that room and expect them to know what to say.

Chris:
Well, first of all, why not?  

Abby:
Well, because they don't have the education yet, and based on what they're doing right now, they don't, you say ROI and they say what? They don't even know the vocabulary to be in the conversation and you need to have some of those foundations to be able to have those conversations.  

Chris:
Okay. This is becoming much clear now. Okay. A couple of things that you mentioned, I just want to make sure, because people will be listening to this from all over the world and they might not even know this expression. What does a seat at the table really mean?  

Abby:
It means being respected as a decision maker. So being involved right at the start of a project, whatever might be in the brainstorming conceptualizing, but being able to be there, making decisions that will have an impact on the bottom line of a business.  

Chris:
Yeah. So the way that I'd like to describe it to people, I'm just going to try this out. Hopefully this comes out right. The proximity away from the people who actually make all the important decisions, the C-suite executives, CEO, CMOs, CRO all the C people, your proximity to them is a measurement of your influence in what really, really matters. So if you're so far away that you don't ever get to talk to these people. And so this is what we mean at the seat at the table. I imagine a large conference room table and all the power suits are gathering around, Fortune 500 companies, Fortune 100 companies. And you're so, so far away, there's layers and layers of people between you and those people, your ability to influence and make meaningful impact and change will be greatly diminished, or the challenge will be really hard. And that's the problem.
And we know now today, that design is one of the key competitive advantages to companies moving in the 21st century. And they're realizing this, it's our time. It's a moment here for those that are brave enough, those that are smart enough to act on this. They're actively looking for you, opening the doors to invite you in. I like to think of it like this, Johnny Ivy is Steve jobs, when Steve jobs was around his right hand guy as a designer, now not a graphic designer, but an industrial designer and the decisions that he's making impact economies, impact resources and waste and environment. And hence he gets a ton of influence and an appropriate amount of compensation based on that and shares in the company.
He's probably, I'm just throwing this out there without any data, probably the richest industrial designer that's ever lived because he has shares at Apple and Apple's a trillion dollar company, a now $2 trillion brand. But wow. This won't have happened before we would have been in the back room. And I can imagine something from Brazil, the movie, Terry Gilliam something shoots on a tube and the designers in the backroom, they open the tube like, okay, what did they say? Make it shiner, okay, okay put it back.

Abby:
Make it a little bigger.

Chris:
Make it a little bit bigger, I can't read it, keep working on it. And now we are in this position, so this is what it means to have a seat at the table, but there's a requirement just like in school, there are prerequisites. Before you can enter that room at a minimum, you have to speak the language. You have to understand return on investment, lifetime customer value, customer acquisition costs, conversion ratios, a net profit, gross profit, all these kinds of things. And these are things you learned by getting your master's degree.  

Abby:
Yeah it was amazing. And I was running a business for 10 years before that, and I kind of laugh and cringe a little bit thinking about all of the mistakes I made. But that definitely has driven me to make sure my students aren't in that same position when they head out into the real world.  

Chris:
Can I can ask you to help us relive those laughable cringey moments? What did you do as a business owner, as a creative entrepreneur before you learned actually how to run a real company, can you share one or two things?  

Abby:
Saying yes too quickly, I think that's always a given, that you get a question if you can do something and you just say yes, without really understanding what their needs are and knowing whether or not you can actually fulfill them, which can lead to disaster. So that was a big one. Undervaluing, I mean, I think that's huge. And I did that plenty because I didn't have that vocabulary to explain my value. So I was looking at myself as that last person, getting that message down the tube. And I really wasn't selling myself. I hate that idea of sales, but I wasn't, I wasn't helping educate my clients on to why I was the perfect fit and what I could provide to them.  

Chris:
Okay. Those are two big problems. Those are two monster problems. What's the solution? First one was saying yes too quickly. It's because you're walking away, not fully informed as to what the real problem is. And you're too quick to execute only to have your heart broken 1,000 times at the end because we made too many assumptions. What's the solution?  

Abby:
Don't say yes. Now I think design research has helped us a lot. And I feel like if you have the ability of talking through a problem with a client and sharing what you've learned when you go out and research and do your discovery, but also using their network and their expertise to better inform your decisions and trying to get some of that down before you dive in too quickly. And also some of that for me, was just saying yes to a client that was a wrong fit, just kind of desperate for money. So you say yes. And I think some of that is following your intuition. Just kind of knowing if you see some red flags, they're there for a reason and you can either say no, or raise the price really high to make up for it, but that there are things you can do to counter that. So that's kind of how I approach not saying yes too quickly.  

Chris:
Okay. And is this something that you teach in your class?  

Abby:
I'm trying to, I'm battling the same thing where it's still this kind of machine, how to get things through. And as I evolve and learn more, I can also share more. And so I would say that more so recently, yes.  

Chris:
Okay. And then the second one about, and this is a biggie, undervaluing, selling yourself short.  

Abby:
Yeah. That feeling when you send someone a price and you're like, Oh my God, they're going to look at this and be like, she's crazy. She's not worth it. Every time I would put a big number with an extra zero, it's like, there's no way they're going to say yes to this. So I'm going to take it off before I even try. And that really is the mistake is a few things, one is not asking someone for their budget. There's no shame in saying, do you have a budget? I was always scared that if I asked too much about money too early, it would scare them away, where actually it's the opposite. If I bring it up earlier, they know I'm a respectable business owner and they respect that. And I didn't know that I thought they'd run away if I said a number too early. So get that done early, have the conversation.  

Chris:
Okay. So I have a question to ask you then, if you could go back in time and tell your younger self, Hey Abby, in the future, I got an MBA and this is how you're supposed to do it. And your younger self is going to hear this and look, Oh, I don't know. I don't know. How could you convince them? Because there's so many people who are going to listen to this and say, yeah, easy for you two to say, you've got this experience. You've got the degree, you've got the body of work and the clients. But I can't do that. I can't bring up money early. What can you tell them?  

Abby:
That there's so many resources out there. I just think that I didn't realize that as a designer, that there was value in learning about negotiation and doing my research and teaching myself how to not undervalue myself. Because I think when you just say it, it's just, no, who's this Abby person telling me to charge more money? But when you actually do your own research and educate yourself, I think it helps you build that confidence. And start small, start with a little project that is not that many hours and is not going to cost that much and price it the way that you think you should get paid. And if you lose it, you won't be so upset. If you start out small with a small risk, then you'll build your confidence to ask for more money for those larger projects.  

Chris:
That's good advice. One thing that I share with people that I coach is that if you want to try a new pricing philosophy or a new mindset, approach a client that you just could care less if you win or lose, you'll be shocked at a, your mindset and your mentality, the vocabulary that you choose, how you hold yourself, you'll be a whole different person. You'll be really confident because you're not trying to get something from them. And you're not desperate. You're not quick to say yes. So try that out everyone, find a client that you're like, you know what? This is kind of a major pain in the butt. This is not a project I'm even interested in and act as if you don't need it or want it. And then just talk to them and take a note, take note of how you conduct yourself and how they feel afterwards.
I don't mean for you to belittle them or to point out to them that this is a dumb project. I mean, just try to be of service to somebody where you don't want anything from them and see the nature of the relationship. I've done this before when I'm coaching. And what happens is people will come back and say, I've never felt more respected. I've never felt more in control. I've never felt that the clients had valued me as much as when I didn't want the project.  

Abby:
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that applies too to jobs. And I talk to students a lot about negotiating salaries and they're so scared to not just say yes, they get a salary offer, okay, yeah, that's my first job, I'll take it. And I think again, if you just have that practice and do a little bit of your research, a company expects you to ask for more. And so going into that, knowing that, you should be ready for that. And also it's very hard when you're 22 and you're getting your first job to not just feel like, Oh man, this company is great because they want me, they're going to invest in me. And I just have to say yes to them. And this is an amazing offer. But actually you want to also look at that company decided that's somewhere you want to be.
And you need to think about that. You're actually a value to them. They didn't just pull you off the street and give you a job. They spent their time and time is money interviewing people. And you may have an interview with 16 people think about all of their time and their hours and that money. So they already spent money on you. And they're not going to just want to walk away because you asked for $2,000 more, they probably have already spent $10,000 or more just even trying to hire someone. So I think it goes the same for full-time jobs.  

Chris:
My general rule on this is that if two parties are interested in working with each other, regardless of the dollar amount, they'll find a way to make it work. So I always will approach a client and I kind of get a feeling we do want to work together and I'll float a relatively high number and they'll come back, Chris, that's a little bit too much. And if you came in here, we could totally greenlight this and I don't have to get 15 people to approve this budget for us. And I say, okay, let's look at this. We can make this work. So if they're willing, if they have a genuine desire to work with you and they want what it is that you make or do or think or say, they will find a way to make it work financially speaking.  

Abby:
And I think the hard thing is thinking about, and if they don't, you probably don't want that job or that client and that is hard when you need the money.

Chris:
That's why we say practice this idea on a project you actually don't want anything to do with and see what happens. Okay. There's a big opportunity here for us to talk about business as it relates to design curriculums. So you and I, for different reasons, you got your MBA first kind of just so that you can get on that tenure track and me, because I have to survive on the streets. I have to learn business and we both learned it in different ways. I learned it on the job and hiring a coach, you learned it in school and then applied it to your job. What can design schools or design curriculums do to include more of this business dialogue or these fundamentals so that we can better prepare the students of tomorrow to be able to have a meaningful conversation with the people who make the decisions?  

Abby:
Absolutely. I mean, I think when you think about projects being a professional designer, you're going to create a creative brief, you're going to have a proposal and there's nothing stopping you from doing that for in class project. It doesn't have to be the main deliverable. It doesn't even have to really have an impact on the grade, but just walking through how you would treat a project if it was with a client and having your students experience that I think is really valuable. Even having them track their time, I'd love to have them track their time and just to see what they're spending time on, but then make an invoice, pretend you're billing me for this so that they get to make an invoice because I can't tell you, I mean, how many students they graduate and they get their first freelance and they're like, what is an invoice? And that kind of blows my mind that they can get through that much school and not know what an invoice is even. So I do think that if we structure our projects with some of the skills that we actually use when we're working, that we can bring that skill into the classroom.

Chris:
I think it would be interesting if schools had a partnership program for local companies and organizations that had a cause. So cause-based companies to work with design students to solve real world business problems so that the students aren't writing their own creative brief, and they actually have to interact, engage with real business owners or organizations to solve a real world problem, using their creativity and have equal parts, business guidance, and design guidance along the way. And I think they would learn so much from doing that. You might not have this terrific portfolio piece, but you'll understand this business owner had a problem running marketing campaigns or needed to get the word out to communities that are in jeopardy. And this is how we did it. And these are the results that we got. Here's the before and here's the after. And there are metrics associated with the effort and not just, it looked better.  

Abby:
Sure. And I think that's happening. I've been talking to different folks teaching in different universities all over, bringing in non-profits. I think that that's the important key is using the companies that need it and don't necessarily have the funding. And I think business schools do that. They have those systems and you do finish your MBA capstone, working with a real client on a real project. And that does have a different impact, different value is put on the work, but we also teach the students then how to talk to a client and how to respond to feedback. It's not just your teacher that you know well and you can kind of blow off a little bit, you have a real client. I think some educators are hesitant because they're worried the client becomes the art director and that as an instructor, you lose the power to then lead the visual direction of a project. But I think that's worth letting go of, for the experience with real clients.  

Chris:
Oh, you brought up something I didn't even really think about, is that a thing? Are teachers concerned that students should not be working with businesses because the clients will become their art director?  

Abby:
In a way, the art director term is definitely contested. I've had a lot of conversations around that, whether professors are your art directors or not. But yeah, I think there is that concern of someone outside of design influencing the design and maybe they don't know much about it, which is crazy to me because that is what we do. It is our job as designers to help educate those outside of design and to help bring them along on our journey and understand decisions and be a part of it. But I do think that it brings a level of complexity sometimes to teaching that maybe not everyone wants to take on.  

Chris:
Oh, okay. So you're pointing out something that I've been talking to other speakers about, which is the level in which the clients should be able to engage with you, are the high level strategic goals, not the tactical executions of these goals, because then now it's just like that visual of their hand sliding over your hand and moving your mouse hand around. Nobody wants that. But in terms of having clearly identified business marketing awareness problems, we understand that. And then we can strategically say, well, in order for this to be effective, we have to develop a three-part campaign that runs on social media, on these platforms to achieve these results. Are we clear, everybody sign off, like in Mad Men, Don Draper was like sign here, client. They sign, we sign, everything is good.
And now the student can go away and work with their professor to make sure that this is happening and to be accountable for the results. Because a lot of times the things that drives creatives is because it looks better, because it's more aligned with our aesthetic and it has nothing to do with, well, the client has an end user in mind, and this is not speaking to them. It's not your aesthetic that matters. It's the aesthetic that matters and resonates with the end user.  

Abby:
Yeah. No, and I agree. I think that that is the worry is how does the professor get in between? Because we're all going to have those clients that do want to hold your hand and move your mouse. And then whose role is it? And how do you then jump in as the kind of person in charge to say, Hey, that's not what we agreed upon. The students are going to be doing it this way. And that it brings just more complexity to something that a lot of people aren't used to doing,  

Chris:
But I think it's worthwhile to solve that and to set up the structure. So the students actually get a sense of what it's going to be like in the real world and then make meaningful impact.  

Abby:
Absolutely. I can't agree more.  

Chris:
Okay. I'm just being mindful of time here. I only have a few more minutes with you. Is there something that's hot on your mind that you wanted to talk about?  

Abby:
I'm curious about this because listening to you talk in different interviews, I want to know what your take is on competition in design school. Because I think that that has changed a lot since you and I were students. And I kind of want to hear how you feel about some of old school practices, like ranking top portfolios, and that idea of the all-nighters. I hear about you sleeping in the studio when you were a student, what's your take on that in this year, 2021?  

Chris:
So I think you're bringing up so many different things, competition, a ranking, and then the hustle grind mentality.

Abby:
See, I think they're all connected.

Chris:
Really?

Abby:
Yeah, because I think the competition is what drives some of that kind of the commitment to the craft and maybe putting in too much of your time. And the ranking for me connects just because the idea is to be the best, who's going to be that number one, the very best?

Chris:
Yes. So you're talking about, I think our desire to gain social status in the context of a classroom. And I had this internal drive, this internal competition that I looked at the top two or three people in my class. And I always said, in my mind, not out loud, I'm taking you down and more often than not, I'd be successful. And sometimes I'm like, God, I just couldn't do it this semester. I remember one time there's a teacher that everybody loved and looked up to, including myself. This person could walk on air as far as we were concerned. And at the end of the semester, that instructor, as hard as I tried, turned to my friend and said, thank you for taking this class.
And everybody was just turning to this person like, Oh, what I would not do to be the recipient of that comment. Oh my God. And I just felt happy for my friend. And I was thinking, I'm going to keep working on this. So that internal drive, the competition that exists, the trying to curry favor or attention from your professor, it's a very real thing. It's not going to go away. So is it entirely healthy? As long as the instructor doesn't abuse students emotionally, I think it's fine. What's your take?  

Abby:
I think it's very hard to not bring in some of that abuse. I think that it... I don't know if you had this experience, but I could remember teaching when I had my first child, my daughter, and looking at a student who was just driving me crazy, not doing the work, but doing all the complaining about why they're not getting where they need to be, all those things. And I had just a moment of, hopefully there's someone out there who just thinks your shit doesn't stick. There's someone who sees something in you, how you look at your kids smile and it's just like, no one has ever smiled before.
So I used to have this reputation that I was really hard and not so nice. And that moment really changed me, having kids changed me. And I think we can still create great designers and have a little spirit of competitiveness without pushing the drive of competition that I think did exist. And maybe you were able to keep it healthy and it was internal, but I don't think that many students out there right now have the mental health to also keep it healthy. So I see a little bit of an issue with some of the competition that does happen in the industry.  

Chris:
Yeah. This is a complex, nuanced issue to be talking about at the end of our conversation, but let's stay here. You have a few more minutes then?

Abby:
Yeah, let's do it.

Chris:
All right. So there's the dark side and there's the positive side. So let me just be clear of a couple of things. One is, I think we are naturally default to perceive competition. So for example, I was in a class where I was easily better than most of the people. And I started to take my foot off the gas pedal. So I'm thinking my bad days are better than their best days. I know it sounds super cocky, I was cocky back then. I'm not saying I'm not anymore, but especially back then. So then I would just, it didn't work out. I want to go to sleep. And I spilled ink on this, I'll just BS my way around it, like why there's ink everywhere? I just make up random stuff and the teacher's going to be okay with it. The students are like, Oh, it's so experimental. No, it was a mistake. And so there's that part of it.
But then there's there's the dark side, which is students who don't have the mental fortitude to deal with hearing really strong feedback, especially because some instructors will make it personal. And that's where I draw the line, do not make it personal. Don't make these personal attacks because you don't know what each person's dealing with. They might need a little bit more kindness, generosity and grace to be able to get there. And their timetable is very different than what can be contained within an assignment or even a semester. And for those people, I'm a big fan of what Subhajit Mitra said in his talks, which is everybody needs a grandma in their life. Your teacher should be a grandma, like grandma looks at your work and is like, how'd you do that, Billy? That's amazing. And they're just there to support you. And you could do no wrong in grandma's eyes. Grandma loves you all the way through and we need that.
And he was talking about a radically different way of teaching. And I think about that. I am not that person. I'm Joe thrifty, when it comes to handing out the compliments and my wife will walk behind me and push me. And is like, why didn't you say something nice about that person's work? I'm like, it didn't occur to me. I'm trying to get them to a standard, it didn't occur to me. And then here's a weird thing, I remember one time I came to class, I didn't say anything to the students, but I was more effusive and less thrifty with handing out compliments. And the students looked at me like I made them swallow a lemon or something. And I'm like, what's wrong? They're like, Chris, this feels so fake. Go back to being your spirit itself because we just can't handle this. I'm like, there's no winning with you guys, I either make you cry or you feel like I'm fake.  

Abby:
I should try to go back into the classroom and do the opposite, go back to my old days and just tear things off the wall. And we're not hanging up as much but you used to be able to tear it off and fold it and write all over it and see what the response is. Now, it's funny, you're talking about some of this because when I think about competition, it always goes to the competition for the best visual execution, what aesthetically is attractive and works really well. But we also talked a lot about the business side of things. And so I think another shift for me internally was, while I'm teaching in a BFA program and it is for visual artists that I don't have to make all the students be the star visual designer.
And so to me, that's where some of the competition can stifle a student because just as we talked about, there's so much else to this business, sometimes you just have to be visually good enough, but you have the business background and you have the other language and you can sell ideas and you can talk to anyone. And if everyone is focusing on that competition of being this the very best visual executer, then they might miss out on learning those other things. So I've been trying to tamper down my competitive spirit because I had it too. And I was the same way as you, I was looking at the wall and seeing whatever everyone else is doing and patting myself on the back saying, I know I did the most work and mine's the best. And I try not to push that any longer in the classroom.  

Chris:
Yeah. I am in total agreement with you. It's not the volume of what you do, and it's not even to the level of polish in which you can create, but the strength of your idea of married with a really interesting visual solution. And that's the perfect synthesis of those two worlds coming together. Because otherwise we fall back into that world of fine art, just to look in our conversation there, it's like, conceptually, I buy everything you say, but I look at the thing you just did and I see zero connection between what you said and what's on the wall and I'm not standing for that either. Now there's this other way of looking at it though, oftentimes we're using subjective ways of looking at work and saying, that's a really dope design. That's really fresh, interesting combination of colors, type, texture, whatever it is, but there's a show and I'm not going to lie to you. I watch a lot of TV. There's a show called Forged In Fire.
There's blacksmiths, blue collar people coming together and they compete. Four people vie for the Forged in Fire championship. What I find really interesting is there's so much art and craft in making a weapon like a knife or a sword, but they take all of the subjectivity out of it. And they design a strength test, a kill test and a sharpness test. And if your blade breaks, we don't even care if it looks good, or if you use an exotic Damas technique or Damascus technique, we don't care. And so I find it's quite interesting when it comes down to the end, the decisions that the judges make as to who becomes the champion becomes fairly logical. And then we have to just accept their answer because it's based on a very clear criteria, oftentimes design is not looked at like that. It's like, Oh yeah. It's like, I never thought of flipping the types upside down and now it's super cool. And the student's like, yeah, hell yeah. So if we could maybe tie design and how we look at performance to metrics that are quantifiable, then some of this subjectivity will go away.  

Abby:
Yeah. And I love what you just said, it is true. It makes me think of, I like reality cooking shows. It's the same thing, it can look beautiful on the plate, but if you don't want to eat it, you take a bite of it and it's disgusting that person's not going to win. How do we do that with something that is a little bit more subjective in design? I think one way and one of the things I love about UX is user input. Is that the class and the design professors shouldn't be the only ones kind of judging the success of the piece. It should be who it's for and usually we're not designing for ourselves. So thinking about how to incorporate some of that into critiquing in students would be really helpful too.  

Chris:
Yeah. At the end of the day, a site or an app that you design is a tool. It exists in the digital space. So things like usability, heat maps and tracking eyeballs and all it's very measurable. Did you get a conversion? Did they go down to the bottom of the page? Did they do what it is that you wanted them to do or were they really super frustrated? Is that confusing? I remember back in the day, I know you were in the same era, but flash, all these websites like Web 2.0, everybody's designing these crazy interfaces that you have to kind of chase the menu around on the screen. I'm like, God, sit still. I'm trying to chase you down. And it's like, Oh.  

Abby:
I had my portfolio, my website was designed as war and things were dropping like bombs and they landed in a spot and you had to click on it there, but we loved building those, that was fun.  

Chris:
The wild, wild web, that's really what it was.

Abby:
I miss some of those things, but I think what you're saying about heat maps, why can't that be applied to a brochure? Why can't we watch people observe them looking through, are they actually stopping and reading the headlines you think they're going to? Or are they flipping through and ignoring it all? So I think we can bring some of that into showing the success of a project that isn't just based on if they flipped the type and made it look cool.  

Chris:
Absolutely. Okay. I think that's a wonderful way to maybe wrap up our conversation. And I really enjoyed having this dialogue with you and comparing notes about how you are as a teacher, myself as a parent, and what's happening in design education. We're just nerding out here. Is there any final thoughts?  

Abby:
Any final thoughts? This was great, I loved it. No, I can give a little shout out to some of my things I'm working on now. I have a podcast I started called Design Together and it's all about design collaboration. So everything we talked about and how do we bring some of these skills into the classroom? And so if anyone's interested, you could find that in all of your podcast platforms.

Chris:
Design Together, I was listening to it on Spotify. So it's available wherever you listen to podcasts, everyone. So be sure you check it out. Abby, it was wonderful chatting with you. Thanks for doing this with me.

Abby:
Thank you so much, Chris. This is Abby Guido, and you are listening to The Futur.  

Greg:
Thanks for joining us this time. If you haven't already, subscribe to our show on your favorite podcasting app and get a new insightful episode from us every week. The Futur Podcast is hosted by Chris Do and produced by me, Greg Gunn. Thank you to Anthony Barro for editing and mixing this episode. And thank you to Adam Sanborne for our intro music. If you enjoyed this episode, then do us a favor by rating and reviewing our show on Apple podcasts. It'll help us grow the show and make future episodes that much better. Have a question for Chris or me? Head over to the futur.com/heyChris and ask away. We read every submission and we just might answer yours in a later episode. If you'd like to support the show and invest in yourself while you're at it, visit the futur.com. You'll find video courses, digital products, and a bunch of helpful resources about design and creative business. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

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