How, exactly, designers can make big culture shifts possible.

A wise teacher once told me Black Lives Matter is not a “movement” (nor is Me Too or any other for that matter) as that implies it is something that will come and go with time, that what it really represents is a sea change, a significant cultural shift.

Too often, we designers take for granted that we are the key crafters of culture, and thus we play a critical role in such shifts. We create imagery and the experiences that shape how people understand and respond to the issues before us. Those of us creating these with data have…


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Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

Since I was a little girl, I’ve known I am and always will be an artist. I also have always known that, unlike other passions, careers, and paths, this would not be sufficient in the eyes of my society and economy. I knew I would need to not only keep making in order to keep living, but also that I would need to find other ways to earn a living. I’ve spent my life thus far juggling part-time gigs, running a creative consultancy business, and working inside organizations as a designer and creative intrapreneur.

I thought my greatest challenge as…


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Workbooks from Dismantling Racism (link to access)

To say that the first time I saw the 13 characteristics of white supremacy culture (from the research-based Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun) was a major lightbulb moment for me is putting it too lightly. I was immediately drawn to the workbook for three important reasons:

  1. The authors recognize that white supremacy isn’t about a group of radical individuals. It’s about the cultural norms that affect us all. …


Let’s face it: All of us struggle with feedback. We generally avoid receiving it unless we have to, we frequently deny it when we do get it, and we rarely use it to make any substantial changes.

It’s horribly tragic because when we turn to one another, we always have the answers we are looking for. To get these answers, we not only have to be open to feedback, we have to actively invite it in. This is the only opportunity we have for real, lasting success.

Have you heard the saying about how success happens at the speed of…


These known biases are especially relevant in data visualization, and staying alert to them can help us avoid harmful designs

Our lives are plagued by uncertainty. We rely on design to navigate the twists and turns. When designs incorporate data, they can illuminate knowledge we may need.

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Chart from CDC.gov

Designs incorporating data are best used when the context necessitates some important decision-making and when there is data available for guidance. For example, right now, the world is awash in charts meant to explain the pandemic, in part so we can better understand the risks and make decisions accordingly.

Whether they are aware of it or not, the designer often approaches such problems with a set of heuristics. These are broad rules, general…


With social distancing in full swing, virtual meetings are on the rise! The good news is that they are generally cheaper, can allow for more participants, and with many technology solutions to choose from they are easier to plan for and arrange than ever.

But they don’t come without some risks and potential downsides. Groups may already be facing difficult communication challenges, and distance can create even more obstacles for team culture and progress.

Just as with in-person meetings, visuals can play an essential role in supporting individuals and groups with building relationships and getting results.

Here are some basic…


When I meet people and they find out I’m an artist, I often hear the same responses:

  • “I don’t have any artistic talent.”
  • “Why do/did you choose a creative profession, or this work in particular?”
  • “How did you get to where you are?”

The answers are never simple. I’ve learned that the journeys of creatives rarely are. I believe that, like everyone, we were told when we were young that our art was poor, self-centered, and/or pointless. Those of us who think of ourselves as creatives simply chose not to believe that. We chose to keep making. …


I have a secret to share with you. For the last decade I’ve been exploring the mysterious, methodical, magical world of marketing. I know so many people find this space to be daunting, distracting, or even distasteful, and it is for similar reasons that I find it to be exciting and promising.

So I’d like to pull back the curtain and give you a glance from the other side. And I’m recruiting some favored characters to help me out.

I think the scenes of Oz from the classic movie Wizard Of Oz provide excellent metaphors for both the process and…


Anyone with an interest in data visualization who searches out insights and best practices, whether online or in their networks, will certainly discover two trends: one, most discussions are about quantitative data, and, two, the focus tends to be on presenting data.

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Although there has been more dialogue recently about data visualization used for exploratory purposes, the field has yet to bring qualitative data visualization to the fore. This is unfortunate because there is so much qualitative data we need to understand better, and because qualitative data helps us understand certain things much better than quantitative data does.

Whereas quantitative…


As an unapologetic health and healing “nut,” I’ve developed many practices over the years. It’s taken me decades to realize that the best of all of them predates any investments I’ve made in yoga, psychotherapy, naturopathy, or body-based therapies. The most potent practice of all I started as a very young girl: using and creating visuals.

I don’t share about this often, but my first career was as a massage therapist. Those precious years that I spent in the healing arts at the start of my work life has had a powerful, lasting influence. There are so many things I…

Lydia Hooper

Sharing experience, knowledge and practical tools for creativity & collaboration so we can recreate our world to support all beings. www.lydiahooper.com

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