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It was awful. It was really weird. It was awesome.

One of my recent goals is to try new things and essentially, just go do stuff. I’ll stop thinking, filtering etc. and see how much more I grow in the new year. So, I recently showed a friend my very hidden ‘comedy routine’.

With comedy, I mean everyone thinks they’re funny, so the only way I thought I could get the truth is to ask my friend to be my audience. So I did the short skit in front of him albeit nervous, and asked his honest opinion. He smiled and said, “it was ok.” So then I asked, “what do you really think?” and he said:

“Ok, honestly? It was awful and it was really weird. No one will understand what you just did.”

On hearing that I immediately felt awful and really weird and that no one would understand what I just did. I face-palmed myself for thinking it might be any good, did I just lose a friend?, why am I so weird, is the sky falling? etc., etc.

But… at the same time, I didn’t regret it because I put the most embarrassing part of myself out there and it was fine. I just got some honest feedback, which is something I considered an accomplishment.

Our fear of failure

As we know, it’s rare to see the the behind the scenes and the struggles in people’s lives especially today on social media. For a lot of us, this difficulty stems from:

What we dread:

1. Expressing true authenticity takes an incredible amount of confidence

2. Other people’s perception of us holds a lot of weight

3. Certain failures are something we may not recover from

But are these points above really true? …

Look at the positives:

1. Expressing true authenticity some would say, is how you find your purpose in life

2. Other people’s perception of us seem to hold a lot of weight (this might be more true for certain folks)

3. Failure is just a nugget of knowledge closer to reaching your goals. Knowledge equates to power.

The sooner you choose to start failing, the sooner you will realize what’s working and what’s not. The truth will come out at some point, and it’s more beneficial that it comes out sooner than later. The amount you’ll learn from trying new things far outweighs any of your fears.

Just break through

“The moment where you should be terrified, is the most blissful moment of your life.” - Will Smith

I just turned thirty(another terrifying thing) so I’ve been reflecting on my twenties. A memory that arose was the beginning of my design career. At the age of 25, I had little experience and my work was rough. Going to work wasn’t discouraging because I worked under an accepting designer who wanted to help me succeed. And I realized it’s easier if I don’t have to go it alone.

With time, and nothing to lose, I grew better and learned when I leapt I created the net on my way down. If I had never put myself out there, I wouldn’t really be doing what I’m doing today. So, advice for new designers and first-timers: Go fail. And then fail again. Your future self will be glad you did.

Try again, fail again, fail better. - Samuel Beckett


Will Smith’s explains his experience of fear while sky-diving:

Betsy Mary
What Coco Chanel can Teach us About Branding

Leaning Tower of Clothing

I opened my closet the other day and wondered why I am so obsessed with clothes. I'm building something, but what is it? 

"In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." - Coco Chanel

I realized fashion has the same principles as branding. For me, my closet is a visual display of who I am, the first impression people have of me, the ultimate form of silent expression, my own unique display.

The Last Thing Someone Will Notice About You is What You Say

This poses the question: "Is everyone judging us?"

The average person will take note of your clothing, appearance, then body language, how you speak, and finally, what you say. 

Let's apply this to a brand. Someone searches for you online and sees the description, this is their first impression. They then check out the site . . .

At any point in time this process can be interrupted by something off-brand. From the visuals, to the office entryway, to the call waiting music, it's ideal that everything convey the same cohesive message to build trust. Having a strong brand can back up your copy, but not the other way around.

"Pure, intense emotion. It's not about design. It's about feelings." - Alber Elbaz

Betsy Mary
It's November 12th -- It's World Usability Day!

Ever yelled at your phone? Ever pulled a door handle when it's meant to be pushed? Ever got your head stuck in a railing? (that only happened one time.) The list is endless and that's why usability is more important  than you think.  

Usability is the ease of use and learnability of a human-made object. Usability is removing roadblocks --The ability to do something easily. Usability is good design.

It's shocking that design has been around for so long and usability is a relatively new field (around the 1980s). Luckily it's making up for lost time, growing like wildfire among designers and businesses alike. 

I have three core rules around keeping user-friendly design in mind.

It's never the user's fault

Designers must aim to understand and accommodate. Every designer should have a solid understanding of usability. Often at work I feel more like a researcher and problem-solver than a visual designer.

Usability takes priority over aesthetic appeal

Ideally, there is both! But if forced to forgo, studies have shown, and most would agree, that something easy to use always trumps something beautiful to look at (just think of the last time you yelled at an inanimate object).

Design for the user, not for yourself

This is where research comes in, which could be a book in itself. Remember your audience, how would they interact with this product? 

So next time you can't enter a building without feeling like a fool, or want to throw the remote across the room, remember, it's not your fault. It's the designer's responsibility to make it easy to use. And at the rate usability and technology is growing the future looks bright.


If you hate doors as much as I do check out these 'Norman Doors' coined after Don Norman, the father of human-centered design.

Betsy Mary