Inspiration in Action with Meaghan Dee

Episode 460 LIVE on Wednesday, Feb 7, 2024 at 7:30pm GMT / 2:30pm ET / 11:30am PT / 9:30am in Hawaii.

This month we focus on how our inspiration directs our path, our process, and our work in different ways. We talk about the people, places, and things that have inspired us.

This week Meaghan Dee, an educator, type lover, and adventurer in design is sharing where she draws inspiration from and then shows us how it ends up in her work in different ways.

The hope is that you will start seeing all the things that are influencing your creative decisions and share the love this month with others.



Take someone to coffee, bring someone a coffee or soda or big bottle of water.

This year you could buy someone a coffee card. Have you seen, Maybe some of your friends have this set up?

Be positive energy for others in meetings this week.

Here are the prompts for this week, try and do one of these this week. Snap a photo and use the hashtag #loveondesigners when you post it. Post an energizing quote and tag a friend who could use some energizing (remember to use the #loveondesigners tag)

I hope you will join us as we lift up the design community this month and spread the love.

Here is how to enter to win one of the five giveaways this month

GIVEAWAY TIME! To enter the giveaway subscribe to our YouTube channel, then like and comment on any Creatives Ignite YouTube video, yes even old ones. When you comment make sure you use the #LoveOnDesigners2024 to be entered to win.

One lucky winner will be selected each week and five individuals will win a few of my favorite art supplies and cards to send to friends and people who inspire you! Let’s spread the love.

Five winners will be randomly selected. The fifth winner will be selected during the live show on Feb 28. You have to comment to enter and each comment during the live show is another entry.

Questions for Meaghan

  1. Meaghan, can you give everybody a little background about your art/design and what you do? 
  2. How has your work changed and evolved over the years?
  3. Can you see a direct correlation to what you make from who inspires you? in terms of materials? style? process? or is it more subject matter?
  4. I can’t wait to see what you have made and what inspires that. I am excited for you to talk about your process of getting ideas and executing on them in ways that are new to you. You seem to always be adventuring and trying out something new in technology or new materials, etc. 
  5. If you could tell someone how much their life or work has inspired you (dead or alive) who would that be and what would you tell them or ask them about?

Connect with & Follow Meaghan

LinkedIn: (not always good at checking)

New Book:

Bonnie Christine’s Free Workshop Starts Monday, Feb 5

I took a course last year that changed the trajectory of the art side of my business. Bonnie Christine is offering a free workshop this week. If you are an illustrator or a designer and want to know new ways to use your art, and dip your toe into surface pattern design I encourage you to sign up for this FREE course.

Listen here


[00:00:00] diane: Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode. I don’t know. I don’t know why. Let’s start again. Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of Creatives Ignite. I am excited because my friend Megan is here and she always inspires me. So this is what we’re doing different. This is Love on Designers month. So we are, or love on creatives, but it traditionally was called Love on Designers.

[00:00:27] So we’re just, uh, gonna keep it [00:00:30] there. Um, but we are. Um, talking about things that are inspiring to us, and I asked, Megan always has blown me out of the water of things that she’s, she’s done and she’s been on the show before. She’s talked about some of these other things that she’s, um, has inspired me.

[00:00:49] And I was like, okay, well this month, um, one of our other friends back when Mina was on, I can’t remember when, but last year sometime Mina was on and she, in her presentation she [00:01:00] talked about how her people who have inspired her or people who have guided her things, people that she’s really looked up to, um, that maybe she didn’t know ’cause they were gone already or she just didn’t know them.

[00:01:13] But they have inspired and, um, infected is not the right word, um, influenced better than Infected. Infected. Her work now influenced her work. And so I was like, you know what? We should do a whole series that talks about this. And I think that this is [00:01:30] really. Interesting and neat. So if you are new, uh, or you’re over in the chat, and I, you can always make your, your two say to everybody instead of to host and panelists.

[00:01:43] Then everybody can see and y’all can all have a conversation together. Um, but you can change your two in the chat to everyone and then tell us where you’re coming in from and I’m glad to have you. You can always join us live. If you’re on YouTube watching or you’re listening, you can always come live.

[00:01:58] It’s free. All you have [00:02:00] to do is get on the list. You can go to creatives and you can get there. So Megan d is on the show today. Megan, give them a little bit of your background, um, who you are, where you are, and what 

[00:02:12] Meaghan Dee: you do. So I’m currently the chair of graphic design and an associate professor at Virginia Tech.

[00:02:20] And I have been here for what feels like forever. So I’ve been here since 2011 and my first three years I started off running a student run, faculty led design [00:02:30] agency. Then transitioned into a more normal faculty role after that. And that’s where I’ve been since. And, uh, but I feel like the presentation, I’m kind of gonna share my life story of places I’ve lived and people that have inspired me and things.

[00:02:44] So I don’t know how much more background you’d need, but, uh, no, that, 

[00:02:47] diane: that’s good. Yeah. Did you, did you, um, you did work as a designer first, which I’m sure maybe we’ll get into. So. Working as a designer, you’ve continued to work. You are always, yeah. To me you do [00:03:00] like to do things with your hands. You also like to Yeah.

[00:03:02] Push technology and see, hey, can I cut this out of the laser or can I do this, can I send this as a Christmas card? Or, um, all these other things that you’re doing. You’ve done, um, at Virginia Tech, you have access to, um, applied to have, uh, shows in this round or the cube. It’s not really round, but it is kind of like you can have immersive things above you and you’ve done things there.

[00:03:27] So you’ve really pushed, um, [00:03:30] technology. Do you think you were really, ’cause you are so hand, you do like things with your hands to make things with your hands. Do you think that, 

[00:03:38] Meaghan Dee: um, 

[00:03:40] diane: the tech stuff and your hand stuff, like if you do too much tech stuff, do you get like sad with your hands and you have to get back busy?

[00:03:50] Or do you have a really good balance of. Doing both because you really have amazing ability to be able to do both. 

[00:03:57] Meaghan Dee: Thanks. Uh, I’d actually say a lot of the [00:04:00] tech stuff, I feel like I end up doing varying making based things with it. Whether that’s illustration or sort of typography and motion graphics. So even if something’s on the computer, it often still feels makey, although my shoulder and neck hurts a lot more when I do things on the computer.

[00:04:16] Uh, but I’d say I do kind of need to switch brains from, I’ve done a lot more writing probably ’cause I’m in academia land than I used to. And uh, if I am not spending some of my research [00:04:30] time with the making, I do really miss it. Um, and so whether that’s a client project or a personal project, like it’s something I find myself really compelled to come back to.

[00:04:41] I think that even 

[00:04:42] diane: with illustration, you were talking about doing a book for your daughter and um, did you, was that digital or was it. By hand first. How did it start? So, 

[00:04:54] Meaghan Dee: the, I just finished a little, what I was telling Diane before we came on the air was I’ve been playing [00:05:00] around with, uh, making a board book for my daughter.

[00:05:02] One of those hard books. Um, we got the Idea and the Hungry Caterpillar. There’s this scene at the end where the Hungry Caterpillar turns into a butterfly. Spoiler alert. Uh, the butterfly’s not quite in the middle of it, but like, kind of ask skew. But when we get to it, we sort of flap it. So the wings flap.

[00:05:20] So my idea was to make a whole book that was things with wings where you could flap the middle of it so she could kind of play with the book as you read through. Oh, that’s [00:05:30] cool. So I did all the thanks, uh, all the illustrations for that. Were done using procreate on the iPad. So, uh, but part of that is ’cause I was really wanting it to be symmetrical and you can do Cheaty thing where it just auto does it.

[00:05:44] Which 

[00:05:44] diane: makes, but again, that’s using technology to your advantage so that you can spend more time with your daughter instead of being behind 

[00:05:50] Meaghan Dee: the computer or behind the, 

[00:05:52] diane: uh, iPad. Okay. So, um, I’m gonna ask you some questions as you, so I probably will, [00:06:00] um, interrupt you a lot, but if you want to go ahead and start, we are gonna Okay.

[00:06:05] Plop in and, and I’m making all these bad words choices today and I think I might have to take my shirt off. I mean, my jacket off, not my whole shirt. I’m giving a little 

[00:06:17] Meaghan Dee: more. That would be a different kind of 

[00:06:18] diane: show. Yeah, different show. Now that my mom’s not here. I’m going naked. I’m just kidding. Not really.

[00:06:24] Meaghan Dee: You’re really working on those ratings. I’m just kidding. 

[00:06:26] diane: Let’s get some likes people. Okay. [00:06:30] 

[00:06:31] Meaghan Dee: Just kidding. Anyway, so, yeah, di Diana invited me here and asked me to talk about people, places, and things. When I was starting to structure the talk, I feel like places, things and people was a better organization for me.

[00:06:45] So that’s where I started. But in kind of framing this, this quote from the writer, Rebecca Wells, has resonated with me for a long time, but it’s about using everything in your life to create your art. So whether that’s where you’ve lived or people you’ve been [00:07:00] around, or experiences you’ve had. So I’m thinking about places that’s both places I’ve lived and moved and traveled to.

[00:07:08] Uh, so I was born and raised in St. Louis and later on, sort of more specifically, Kirkwood, woo-hoo. 

[00:07:13] diane: Say say the states. We got a lot of people who aren’t just, who aren’t from America. We got iron represented, I’m sorry. Thank you. In Norway. 

[00:07:20] Meaghan Dee: So, yeah. So St. Louis is, uh, in Missouri, which is the smack dab middle of the country.

[00:07:29] [00:07:30] So, um. It’s very Midwest, very nice people. Uh, and so not spending kind of too much there, even though I think spending the first 18 years of one’s life probably impacts a lot. But I think beyond just living in that place, you know, having, I. A stable home and parents who loved me and encouraged me and teachers and parents that supported the fact that I loved drawing and art and design and wanted to pursue a career.

[00:07:58] I think it was hugely influential. [00:08:00] So, uh, I just sort of threw this in here since while I was talking about St. Louis. So a few years ago I was invited to participate in Type Pike, which is or was, I don’t think they’re still active, um, group that raised money for national parks by having designers make posters about those national parks and then the proceeds would go back and be donated to them.

[00:08:23] So the, uh, arch that we just saw, that is actually a national park at the base. And so when I was making [00:08:30] this poster, it was kind of a fun revisiting of things I loved as a child. You know, going to baseball games, watching the Cardinals, having Ted Grus frozen custard, and. Then Crest Emos Pizza and people outside of St.

[00:08:42] Louis hate this pizza, but I love it. Uh, and all those kinds of things. So this was my little tribute and all those old Rick red brick buildings kinda made me think of it. And they have these stars that are, the steel rods kind of go as support beams for it. So that was a piece there. [00:09:00] After I graduated from high school, I ended up not going too far from home about three and a half hours away to University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana.

[00:09:08] I chose this picture because it looked cold, and that’s what I think of when I think of going to Champaign Urbana. And again, many things about that experience shaped, I think, who I am, got to work for their newspaper and kind of have those journalism roots with graphic design, uh, and did work for their alternative news weekly, things like that.[00:09:30] 

[00:09:30] But mostly I was like, I’m scared of tornadoes, uh, and not because of the tornadoes. I think just, uh, not really knowing where I wanted to go, but thinking I might want to leave the Midwest. Uh, I checked this little box on a couple of my portfolio sites that said, willing to relocate, and a company reached out to me, an architecture and design firm from Las Vegas called Mene Creo at the time.

[00:09:55] And they were like, Hey, we’ll fly you to Las [00:10:00] Vegas for an interview. I had a seven hour interview and at the end of it they offered me a job. So I moved there just after graduation, having never been except for my interview, I never in a million years would’ve thought I’d live in Las Vegas. 

[00:10:12] diane: Did you wait real quick about that.

[00:10:14] Did, were you hired, ’cause this was architecture and design firm, were you doing environmental design? Were you doing just regular print graphic design or what was your job role there? 

[00:10:26] Meaghan Dee: Yeah, well good lead in question Diane. [00:10:30] So, uh, I did, uh, I was talking actually to a former student just the other day about how, when I talk about my time there, because she’s sort of struggling in that she’s got.

[00:10:41] A job that’s nice, but it’s not always exciting. And I think she’s very ambitious and wants to push herself. But, um, for me, I think I tend to show the cool stuff that I did, not necessarily the smaller things. So this was a really large firm, so they were design build, which means they [00:11:00] had architects, uh, interior designers, and a couple graphic designers as well as a whole construction company.

[00:11:08] So there was a little bit more overlap in the architecture with the construction, but they were also doing the graphics at the same time as the architecture, which really speeds up the whole process. Um, and so the main project I helped with during my time, there was one called the AM Resort, which was a $2 billion project.

[00:11:26] And so I did all sorts of random things. So [00:11:30] for instance, I did. Some textile designs for the interiors groups. So the like lobby fabric that they had. ’cause they couldn’t find one, they quite liked for it. So I came up with some designs and um, I also assisted the interiors group with coming up with a brand standards manual for the overall resort.

[00:11:47] So we had a brand for the big resort and I can’t take credit for coming up with a brand, but I made the book. Uh, but then each of the different like restaurants or spa or whatever area you are looking at [00:12:00] had a sub identity. Mm-Hmm. So that’s kind of like thinking about a family with a brand. They’re all related in some ways, but you might have that quirky uncle or like very fancy cousin.

[00:12:12] Uh, but they still have their identities that connect. What do you call that? 

[00:12:16] diane: Because I call that something that’s probably wrong. 

[00:12:21] Meaghan Dee: I just think of that as being a brand family where you can have your sort of sub identity, but what do you call it? Dang, I call ’em baby brands. [00:12:30] No, I like that because I think of 

[00:12:31] diane: it as a family too.

[00:12:32] I’m like, well this is the, yeah, the, the main thing. And then everybody else, but sub-brand sounds really much more professional. But I’m always like students, I like baby 

[00:12:41] Meaghan Dee: brands when 

[00:12:42] diane: all my students are talking, well that’s really one of the baby brands. I’m like, oh my gosh, they’re gonna go out of school and they’re gonna still use this terminology that I just made up.

[00:12:50] And I’m like, I don’t know 

[00:12:51] Meaghan Dee: if you should really use this. But anyway, keep going. Well, somebody made up all of the terms at some point. That’s true. We can do baby brands. [00:13:00] So, uh, I did a couple murals and super graphics for them as well. This was 128 foot mural across two walls, uh, in the Red Cup Cafe. They want it based on this.

[00:13:11] diane: Um, like as somebody who’s just recently graduated, you didn’t have very much experience. Was this exciting? Or were you like, oh my goodness, I am in over my head. Like even the 

[00:13:24] Meaghan Dee: carpet stuff? Uh, yeah. I mean, a lot of what I did didn’t happen to, you know, so [00:13:30] you kind of didn’t know, like there were, for all the logos you see done, you don’t see the ones that didn’t get done.

[00:13:36] This one, it bugs me, like the way the signage company made it work, so it structurally stays on the building. You know, there’s little things along those lines. Mm-Hmm. I think process wise, because there wasn’t a big team of graphic designers, I wish I was learning from people more. So I don’t think I was approaching things or pitching things the way I necessarily would.

[00:13:56] Um, the murals and things I think were really fun. [00:14:00] Uh, and it, this one was maybe a little easier since it was based on all of these famous posters. It was a little bit. Less just like pull something out of thin air. Right. Um, if I was doing it today, I would be more considerate of making this a more diverse illustration than what it was.

[00:14:16] But it got torn down anyway. And it became a hashtag at Gogo, so it was only up for two years, even though I think it took me like maybe not two years to drop. Wow. But I feel like it took me forever. Wow. Um, so when I was living in [00:14:30] Las Vegas, uh, I was there during the big recession of 2008, 2009. And so Las Vegas’s housing market, I think was hit third worst in the country.

[00:14:41] So houses that were half a million dollars or worth half of that, uh. And my stepmom is an Antarctic and architect explorer, or was, and so she and my dad had wanted to take me on a trip to Antarctica before she [00:15:00] retired from doing that. And so we did. Uh, so these were all pictures and videos I took during my trip with them down there.

[00:15:07] And for me, this was just such a strange contrast. And, uh, like I literally still cannot think of two places more different than Las Vegas anti Antarctica. Yes. Whether that’s temperature or, you know, people. Uh, but so, you know, kind of using some design reflection and made a book because I like making books and things, [00:15:30] but my roommate at the time in Las Vegas had been let go and she’d been working at the same company as me.

[00:15:36] So it was a very weird time just in the world. Very stressful. Like every Friday you didn’t know if you were gonna be let go, those kinds of things. Mm-Hmm. So there was a little bit of this nice moment, so Antarctica for me, but also a clear night where you see the stars, or even just like the sky where you kind of feel a little smaller.

[00:15:58] Like it makes me feel [00:16:00] small in that good way. Mm-Hmm. Like, oh, ’cause I’m an anxious person if you’re going to tell. Uh, but like, uh, like feeling small. Like it’s not that my problems are insignificant, but, or like they’re insignificant in the best possible way. Like in the scheme of things. Mm. Okay. Or like right now, like literally right now while we’re having this conversation, there’s whales swimming around Antarctica and penguins just like bopping around and like, [00:16:30] that’s kind of nice to think about.

[00:16:31] Same thing with space. Space is cool. But, uh, I was also the weirdo that decided to quit my job while everybody else was getting fired and go to graduate school. So I moved. From one half of the country, from Las Vegas all the way to Virginia and Richmond, where I went to Virginia Commonwealth University.

[00:16:49] So I packed all of my belongings into my car, did across the country trip. Got to see a lot of beautiful things like this. 

[00:16:57] diane: Wait, I have a question. So why, [00:17:00] why, um, some people feel called to teach. What was your reason? 

[00:17:07] Meaghan Dee: Yeah, I think as pretty well, as long as I can remember, and I know this to be true, because I found a 10th grade essay I wrote, um, I’ve struggled between, oh, should I be a graphic designer or should I be a teacher?

[00:17:19] ’cause it was a compare and contrast essay. Um, and even as an undergrad, I had doubled with art education. I got the chance to teach some first graders as well as high schoolers. But I [00:17:30] decided if I was going to do design, I wanted to focus more on the college level because I wanted to be able to push people to that next level.

[00:17:39] And I feel like high school, at least at that time especially, was more of a like introduction to graphic design. Mm-Hmm. Not necessarily getting to push people to the next level. So, um, yeah. Was it important for you to work first before you taught? That was the advice almost. It was almost [00:18:00] aggressively the advice that I think I got from people.

[00:18:03] So I don’t even think I’d applied to grad school. Yeah. I don’t think I applied to grad school till the year that I went. Uh, and then I did apply to a lot of places because, um, I was like, I wanted to, but also it worked out well because by applying to a lot, I think, well, some I didn’t get in and then VCUI had a full ride.

[00:18:24] So it’s also nice to know, oh, one place might give you a full ride and somebody else might [00:18:30] not like you. So it’s a little bit of that rolling the dice. Yeah. Okay. But, and then we 

[00:18:35] diane: might see some stuff like this’s, what you were about 

[00:18:39] Meaghan Dee: to say. Welcome to grad school. So, uh, back when I was there, the graduate students had, uh, spaces in this old nunnery that, uh, had a really sketchy basement.

[00:18:52] Like once we found someone sleeping in it, like it was a very sketchy basement, but it had all this old stuff, like we found this photo sensitive [00:19:00] paper and. Um, I did a lot of these photograms and kind of played with some other classmates and making things, so I’d build something out of like toothpicks and marshmallows and let the light sensitive paper capture that.

[00:19:13] And, uh, just a lot of iterations I’d do other things like find a leaf and cut it up and be like, okay, I’m gonna do that like a billion times. I love this. Or maybe make thanks, uh, like make some marks with wax or keep doing it. Kind of see if something interesting [00:19:30] happened. I think there was a Jasper John’s quote at the time that was a little bit my motto of, take something and do something to it.

[00:19:36] Do something else to it. And so like for this wax, I ended up turning ’em into posters that were promoting bands and events in Richmond at the time. And this one was for strange matter. And so I was like, oh, literally makes strange matter. But I think even more than the place of it. So yes, I was in the place of Richmond and the place of VCU, but I think it was also just [00:20:00] time.

[00:20:00] Like I didn’t have clients anymore. I didn’t have a boss. I, other than like my graduate assistantship and I was not a very good office assistant. I cannot transfer a phone call apparently through my life. Uh, but so I was filling sketchbooks in a way I had never done before. I think my first hurdle was I used to think if I do something ugly, like that sketchbook was ruined and like I kind of got over that and was like, all right, it’s fine to have [00:20:30] something ugly.

[00:20:30] And also if you have a bunch more things, then it doesn’t matter if there’s an ugly page in it. Uh, but I didn’t really like showing ’em, it felt kind of naked. Mm-Hmm. I got over that. But I posting ’em on issue I-S-S-U-U. mm-Hmm. Or scan ’em in and share ’em and. Then I kind of was like, ah, but I only have 34 followers on issue.

[00:20:49] No one’s really seeing ’em. And so like, maybe I’ll mail postcards to strangers. So I started, I love this one. Uh, thank you. Uh, individually designing [00:21:00] postcards and mailing them to strangers. And sometimes I’d be writing my own things and sometimes I’d be quoting people like Bruce Miles in complete manifesto for growth.

[00:21:11] Uh, or just from books I’d read. Other things kind of feel like beginnings of posters to me. Mm-Hmm. And then I would, uh, I, since I scanned them all, before I mailed them, I’d make little books of them and sometimes exhibit them. One thing I really liked too, other than just kind of getting to play with [00:21:30] collage or composition.

[00:21:31] Uh, was spending time with words. So I think that upper middle with that little tiny writing was, uh, Milton Glazer’s. 10 Things I Have Learned. Mm. And so if you read something it kind of goes quicker, but if you’re writing it out, you’re sort of spending more time with those words. So it was kind of a nice meditation or reflective act as well.

[00:21:51] Brian White 

[00:21:52] diane: says, this is great design testing, hands on. You are so prolific. 

[00:21:57] Meaghan Dee: Aw, thank you. Okay. [00:22:00] Uh, so like, this is pretty much where I am today because since I’ve been here forever, but after grad school, went straight to Virginia Tech and I, uh, wasn’t really thinking I was gonna go straight into teaching, but, uh, ended up planning a one year gig that again, got it, kept applying for jobs and kept.

[00:22:18] But I think just being at a big research institution, I ended up doing a lot of things I wasn’t expecting. So like for instance, I collaborated on a project we called the hokey Knots, but it was actually [00:22:30] the NASA suits competition. So, uh, it’s about 12, uh, institutions nationwide, uh, compete on site at the Johnson Space Center to, uh, come up with a augmented reality or, or virtual reality system to help astronauts navigate in space and perform space tasks.

[00:22:51] It’s actually augmented reality. I misspoke. But, um, so we were working on like the visual interface design for all of those things with graphic designers and engineers and [00:23:00] computer scientists, and then working with people from NASA to kind of test out our prototypes and, um, other things. I think at, before we were on, we were talking some about the cube at Virginia Tech, which is just this.

[00:23:15] Five Story Black Box Theater that has, I believe, 140 speakers, which allow for locational audio. So you could do something like, make it sound like there’s a bird flying around the room because it’ll just transfer across the [00:23:30] different speakers. Uh, and in this particular project is Shakespeare’s Garden that we originally launched in 2018 in the Cube at Virginia Tech.

[00:23:40] So my role was to make the motion graphics for these Shakespeare ons that were projected, um, and then worked with school performing arts students who recorded the Shakespeare on its soliloquy and scenes as well as a sound designer who created sort of the garden scape throughout. And we just relaunched [00:24:00] this project, um, at the torpedo factory, uh, last week.

[00:24:05] And so, no way. Yeah. So that was. Cool to see it again. And I kind of snazzy up the graphics. I didn’t put them all in here because I ran out of time, but, uh, because you’re working. But they had, I would say, kind of more color, synced up some of the audio, um, those kinds of things. And it’s funny as a designer seeing how quickly, um, your skills [00:24:30] change.

[00:24:31] You know, I think that was essentially, uh, five years ago that we did that. And I was like, I could do better. I don’t have much time on this. But another project that we’d done specifically for the Cube at Virginia Tech was one called Pose Shadows. And so again, it was kind of a response to that space and having access to.

[00:24:54] So on the top, you see this thing that they call the cyclorama, but it’s just a [00:25:00] 360 degree curved scrim that you can project on. So it’s a really nice immersive space. Uh, and what we decided to do was reference this old form of storytelling called a Cranky. So Edgar Allen Poe, which you may or may not know, grew up in Virginia before moving elsewhere.

[00:25:17] And so an old ELA Appalachian form of storytelling is to use a cranky and to unwind an image as you sing or tell a story or like, how cool would it be if we did [00:25:30] that bit on a really big scale, like here inside of it. So I drew out the entirety of the telltale heart and these big Japanese style sketchbooks.

[00:25:39] And you were talking about should you do it by hand or on the computer? Well, the annoying part about doing it in this sketchbook is I had to Photoshop every one of those darn creases. Um, yeah, it was before the ai, uh, would fix it for you. That’s true. Or, you know, that’s Yeah, that’s true. I’m also a little like two OCD, so I don’t [00:26:00] even, I mean, the AI does better than they used to, but sometimes doesn’t You still, it’s not right.

[00:26:05] I’m with you. I’m with you. See, got, but you know, yes. It, it, it would be easier now. Uh, and so it kind of came together in that space. So how long would a project like that take you? That one I was, felt like I was just drawing constantly for a few months. Uh, I didn’t have a kid, so that sure helped. Uh, but 

[00:26:25] diane: you were working full-time and you had some client work and you’re, [00:26:30] yeah.

[00:26:30] Meaghan Dee: So we did the Shakespeare project in March, um, of I think 2018. The, uh, president of our university went to go see it and he was like, oh, this is cool. You should do one with Edgar Allen Poe. And we’re like, okay. And the president of your universe. But I think he probably just said it like off the cuff. Uh, ’cause he’s just a human that has to talk to like 10,000 humans a day.

[00:26:57] Mm-Hmm. Uh, and so [00:27:00] anyways, we launched this in Halloween of the, that same year. So I think it was really more like three months of kind of illustrating and there were pretty simple animations. We did do a relaunch of that, but we’ve also been extending it. So a couple of these projects, I feel like we’ve been trying to get as much bang for a buck as you can.

[00:27:20] Yeah. Um, and one thing I think about now is, oh, if I were to approach a project. What I think about all these components of things [00:27:30] that we’ve extended, like, oh my gosh, how much easier if I knew we were gonna make an augmented reality book of this when we started. So this was some of the prototype testing.

[00:27:38] There’s an Aries lab at Virginia Tech, and so working with experts in computer science and uh, immersive environments and creative technologies. And then we kind of brought it together, um, to make this augmented reality book. And, uh, one of my former students, Ethan Kendall Rio, helped, uh, animate all of those components.

[00:27:59] So I had done [00:28:00] some animations, but he definitely leveled everything up. Wow. And so, uh, this one’s been fun because we get to work with middle schoolers and all sorts of things on, uh, doing demonstrations, I guess other places and places that I think I’ve gone even just from where I am. Uh, we used to do a study abroad every other year.

[00:28:20] We hadn’t done it since before the pandemic, but I’m doing one with another faculty this summer. So we go to Italy and Switzerland, and the main [00:28:30] image here is from a place called Tepo Teca, which is, uh, one of the world’s best letter press facilities. And in the lower right corner, you see Lucio Serini, who’s a master printer from Milan, comes down and does a workshop with us.

[00:28:42] And it’s just amazing and kind of getting to see that history. Uh, how long 

[00:28:47] diane: are you in, how long are you when you go to study abroad? In the past, how long has it been? 

[00:28:53] Meaghan Dee: Uh, it used to be longer. So this year’s the shortest, and this year we [00:29:00] didn’t have many, many students who we only have. 12 going this year.

[00:29:04] So I’m not going to fulltime partly ’cause I have a little bit of, well she’s not all that little. She’s like speedy toddler at this point in time. But a 19 month old at home. And so I’m just going for the first week and a half helping the other faculty get her feet wet. ’cause this is her first study abroad.

[00:29:19] And then we also have a campus in Reva San Vital Switzerland. And so once she’s over in Switzerland, it’s a little less like you’re not on your own because you kinda have some supports there. [00:29:30] But before when you would go, was it like, yeah, so like three or four? Yeah. Three or four weeks. Yeah. Not along.

[00:29:35] Okay. Mm-Hmm. That’s great. Oh, um, you are like, don’t avoid my questions, Megan. Well 

[00:29:43] diane: then you also, you, you went on, um, there were other study abroads or it was just you were, you were traveling ’cause you love to travel 

[00:29:53] Meaghan Dee: and Yeah. And I think, well being in a tenure track position too, like I’m a, a research one university, [00:30:00] which essentially means.

[00:30:01] 20% of my job’s supposed to be service, 40% supposed to be teaching, and 40% supposed to be research, even though they’re like, the research part’s, the part that’s most important. And so, uh, you know, as a part of that, you might be doing national and international conferences. So I got a chance to go to India for a typography conference one time, and I love seeing these, uh, sort of rice powder drawings and all these neighborhoods I was seeing.

[00:30:28] Um, another, and I’ve been [00:30:30] to other places too, but one thing that I felt was pretty impactful, more recently, I guess this was two years ago, I spent, uh, two weeks at a, was winter residency called Penland. Mm-Hmm. And that’s only about three hours for me. There’s lots of cool residencies and I can find links to that if people need.

[00:30:50] But it was nice to just surround yourself by these other artists kind of being inspired by all their work. And this was still like, [00:31:00] not heavy covid time, but kind of covid time. So everyone’s still in masks. And um, I was 14 weeks pregnant, so I was still being kind of paranoid and uh, so they had fewer people in the residency and it was a little more spaced out.

[00:31:13] But I was in the letterpress studio, so I had a full Vander cook letterpress all to myself for the full two weeks, which was a real luxury. And I would honestly spend 12 hours a day printing and it was just delightful. So I was there during Martin Luther King Jr Day. So [00:31:30] thinking about the times, always right to do what is right, uh, or, uh, the bell hooks quota of there is light and darkness.

[00:31:37] You just have to find it. Also, just having some fun and, uh, this was a piece, my, one of my husband’s favorite muse songs is called Starlight. Uh, and this is now hanging in our daughter’s nursery, but, you know, kind of ends with, I just want to hold you in my arm. So I thought that was a nice. Piece to create for her.

[00:31:58] Uh, and then [00:32:00] playing just with styles. I mean, I believe love is love and you shouldn’t be judged for who you love or how you love. But uh, also wanted to play with gradient rainbows. So I did, so I printed what the love is on one side, kind of flipped it with different colors and reprinted on the other, or I’d been thinking a lot about something.

[00:32:18] My friend Gabby Hernandez says a lot. She’s like, I didn’t invent it, Megan, stop referencing me. But, uh, she talks about practicing rest as a form of resistance and uh, I was like, oh, [00:32:30] that’s nice. Kind of push against this capitalist culture. But the thing about that, I mean, Penland is beautiful and it’s isolated.

[00:32:37] There was a literal 12 inches of snow we got while we were there, so very like snowed in. But again, that time. Uh, but when I was thinking about places, and maybe it’s ’cause we’re still sort of just outta covid, I was thinking about virtual spaces too. So I was really active with a IG design educators community.

[00:32:56] I served on their board for six years and two of which I was chair. [00:33:00] And uh, yeah, they just do incredible things. They’re really supportive for any design educator. And another virtual community I’ve been a big part of is the latter form archive outta San Francisco. Mm-Hmm. But I served as a docent and I’m a docent emerita for them, so giving tours of their collection.

[00:33:21] So they’re a physical archive with over 75,000 items. But if you go online, they’ve got over 3000 items now I think at this point in [00:33:30] time. And it’s really well documented. They also do a great job of collecting process. So this is a couple pieces that, uh, a piece by Martin Ky along with the process work.

[00:33:41] And my colleague Chris Pritchett actually printed this. So that was part of why I was like, Ooh, I’ll put this one in there. Cool. Uh, I love Amos, another printer. He’s in Alabama. Ah, yeah. So, um, yeah, talking about voting rights and like what it means. Mm-Hmm. If you’re printing on different things and could have given a [00:34:00] whole presentation just on inspiring things from the letter form archive, which I did get to see in person as well.

[00:34:05] But, uh, that brings us to things. So thinking about technology and events and stuff. So, uh, you talked about me playing with different technology, so, and I was at that residency I had access to Risso printer. I was just taking whole project. Had you ever heard of Risso 

[00:34:21] diane: Printing before? 

[00:34:23] Meaghan Dee: I’d heard of it, but I’d never had the chance to play with it before.

[00:34:27] Mm-Hmm. So. If I were to describe it, I would [00:34:30] say it’s like a photocopier that does screen printing for you. Um, but uh, you know, these bright colors and I think sometimes restrictions end up taking people to fun places. I really like 

[00:34:42] diane: the risso printing and that was a new thing. I haven’t played with one, but I would love too, 

[00:34:49] Meaghan Dee: so, uh, but yeah, AR and litre set, so playing with different materials.

[00:34:54] So this was very early, very rough sort of playing with AR and what it could do and just sort of [00:35:00] separating layers, seeing that Z access and, uh, just did this for a client. So, although they just cared about the beer label, but I was like, I’m gonna make a fun little AR piece to go with it. And then I think another thing that can be helpful is having clients that let you do funny things.

[00:35:16] So I do a bunch of beer labels for a local brewery, so. I don’t know. I can’t remember. I think they might have said maybe something far side like, but then I had a bunch of bears drinking beer and they didn’t really seem to mind it. Or like a [00:35:30] skull with bees crawling out of its eyes or this one. They were very, uh, specific about the kind of space demon that they wanted for it.

[00:35:38] So that was a lot of iterations or doing some custom lettering. But I think having fun clients is helpful. And wide variety, 

[00:35:47] diane: I mean like those, well maybe it’s one client, but boy oh boy. Are you doing a wide variety of illustrations and 

[00:35:55] Meaghan Dee: things? Yeah. The first thing we did was come up with the [00:36:00] system, so that sort of vertical stripe, which I think really does help it.

[00:36:03] Mm-Hmm. Even though it’s inconsistent and have some consistency. And I did have a style, although I don’t think I included them here of a more like travel poster vibe, but we kind of quickly took on more of the. I guess might be fine to say. I love it. Uh, and thanks. So just I think whether it’s stuff that’s around you or whether that’s technology with processing to fracture type or this one was [00:36:30] using, um, the visualization of, um, whale songs.

[00:36:35] So there was, aScope had this, um, app where you could sonify or sort of create the visualizations from sounds. And so I took whale recordings, uh, from this nonprofit oceans initiative and put ’em back into it. But then there’s also things, so thinking about the pandemic as a thing, so maybe that’s a weird thing to say, inspired you.

[00:36:58] But right at the start of the [00:37:00] pandemic, I was really prolifically making, I think, you know, it was maybe a way of processing for me too, and. It’s okay to not be okay and playing with some stencil lettering, but also, you know, sort of pin sketching and the connections, but also sort of the disease and opportunities during the pandemic were more like, here’s your stuff in a virtual gallery or, Mm-Hmm.

[00:37:22] Um, I, Neil Gaiman has this really beautiful piece he wrote called A Message of Hope, [00:37:30] and it resonated heavily with me, both for the pandemic and thinking about George Floyd and lungs and breathing and, um, not having breath and feeling grateful for my breath and being outside and taking slow breaths. Uh, so I took those words and kind of made them into these typographic lungs.

[00:37:47] And then they were part of a Hope Ball project in Virginia. Mm-Hmm. And so that wheat pasted on a wall. Uh, and during this time I also made my first visual essay, so where you’re both writing [00:38:00] and designing for it. And I submitted this to Dialectic, which is a design journal. And this to me was really just a way of processing.

[00:38:09] So I made it, I think in the two weeks that followed getting my first vaccine shot. So I thought I was going to get my vaccine shot and then be like, yay, it’s done. Also, I didn’t know it was gonna take a minute after that. So don’t tell Megan from the past that that wasn’t it anyways, but I think it, it was like, oh, the end [00:38:30] is here.

[00:38:30] Now I can kind of start processing it. So, um, across the eight spread or pages, what I had done was that torn line on the bottom actually follows the New York Times case ticker, uh, kind of going up and down. I I break it some ’cause it’s not a. You know, exact reputation, but like thinking about the covid blob thing and Mm-Hmm.

[00:38:51] But it’s also all these things happening. So it’s not just the pandemic, it’s the context of the Black Lives Matter movement. Uh, and 46 million acres in Australia being [00:39:00] burned and like using sort of funny elements. Even sometimes like I use tissue or toilet paper in my collage because toilet paper was such a big thing.

[00:39:09] And um, uh, well, and my Aunt Mary, who’s one of the guests, hi Aunt Mary, like May 25th being the day George Floyd is murdered. But that was also my anniversary. So, you know, all these kinds of mm, layering of the personal and what’s happening in the world and how, you know, dates can shift different meanings.

[00:39:27] Again, kinda seeing the ticker up down [00:39:30] of what’s happening and how correspondences are changing over time. And, um, I hated Zoom teaching. I mean, I was glad I could kind of connect with people in these ways, but it just felt exhausting and. My students were having a really hard time and, uh, I missed being able to be together in person.

[00:39:49] And I don’t mind doing stuff on Zoom sometimes. Like, this is great, this, but we chose this, we were not forced into this. Right. Uh, but kind of ending on a sort of hopeful note, you [00:40:00] know, thinking about, you know, missing seeing family or holding hands with a friend or going to dinner and sharing a meal, those sorts of things.

[00:40:09] And on my drive home from getting my vaccine, ’cause I drove like two hours to go get it, I saw a rainbow and don’t do that. But, uh, so I most recently made this, what I would call kind of an uglier visual asset as a way of processing AI for myself. So I wanted to use a [00:40:30] lot of the tools. So I don’t know if you’ve played around with Firefly, with Ajovy at all, but this is kind of what it looks like when you’re making.

[00:40:38] AI type. And so I was like, oh no, we’re gonna get all this tedious typography. And actually I’ve never seen my students using it. Like maybe they should use it more, but I’m kind of like, well, it’s okay ’cause it’s kind of limited. Um, and then this spread, I was thinking a lot about, uh, the bias within, um, AI as well.

[00:40:59] And so [00:41:00] I was doing some testing and so I, being a graphic designer, I put in things like graphic designer, four out of four were men. And, but then, and they were white men. And so I would type in female graphic designer and then like three out of four would be white women. I, I ended up using some of those images because, well, I am a white woman so it makes sense as a self-reflective piece, but I just thought kind of even witnessing some of those biases, it reminded me of Google and the algorithms where if you type graphic designer, you’re just gonna get a list [00:41:30] of old white guys and not see a more inclusive lens.

[00:41:34] And then for this spread, I felt like early AI kept like accidentally generating a bunch of stuff that looked like this. And then now I think it’s doing more diversity. I was like, I’m throwing one of those crazy people in there and playing around with using Che GPT to write code for me. So having it write fractals and processing and uh, and again, kind of a lighter note, uh, I saw this meme one time, uh, [00:42:00] to replace graphic designers.

[00:42:01] Um, oh no, the Zoom thing’s above it. Diane, do you wanna read it? Can you see it? Yeah. Is your face over 

[00:42:06] diane: it too? I can, no, I can read it. It says To replace graphic designers with ai, clients will need to accurately describe what they want 

[00:42:13] Meaghan Dee: do. Dot we are safe. Yeah. So as you know, like it’s not all doom and gloo around ai.

[00:42:19] I think we can have some fun, but I am thinking about this misinformation, disinformation stuff and I was even thinking about it kind of before this wonderful woman, Ann [00:42:30] Barry, um, uh, her friends Sarah, have started this project. Ongoing matter, which is about design, democracy, and the Mueller report. So they invited a bunch of designers to create posters using content from the Mueller report in an effort to get people to pay attention to the Mueller report.

[00:42:47] So for the part that I chose for it, I really liked this quote, no person in this country is so high that he, he’s above the law kind of crossing it out to mimic the, uh, blacking out of text within the report itself, but [00:43:00] also people kind of are above the law or like being treated as such, but also contrasting the old and the news.

[00:43:07] So I physically made this as a collage by hand, but then was also playing around with AR and separating these elements out. Cool. I I wanted to go back and forth throughout this presentation too on like the closeup, uh, inspiration and like overall this person inspired me and like the detail stuff. So like for this vote poster, I was looking at Sanborn illustration or Sanborn [00:43:30] insurance maps and trying to be like old Americana or for this vote poster.

[00:43:34] I do try to do one every other year, but uh, it was the hundredth anniversary of women’s right to vote, or at least white women’s right to vote. And I had this quote to not speak as to speak, to not act as to act. And I think to not vote as to vote, but I was, uh, very much referencing Alfon ton in my illustration.

[00:43:56] Or the word all inspired me for a different one, or women losing [00:44:00] to the right to choose. I was a very angry, pregnant woman. So while I was pregnant with my daughter, about a month away from giving birth, Roe v. Wade was overturned. And I was just thinking about how I couldn’t imagine being forced to be pregnant and against, especially if you were made pregnant against your will, uh, or other things happening in the world.

[00:44:18] Thinking about the murder of Masa Amini, um, and the women Life freedom movement, that’s been raising up a lot in Iran and like, uh, standing in solidarity, uh, with those [00:44:30] women. So my friend Elham, I was reaching out to say, Hey, is there anything I can do? Because she’s from Iran and it’s having a really hard time.

[00:44:38] And she’s like, make a poster about it. Get people outside of Iran talking about it, continue to have them talking about it and putting pressure on. So I took my hair and had created all the letter forms for this. I was also invited last year to create a poster for the Tolerance Exhibition, which is all around the world, a traveling post, uh, poster show about tolerance.

[00:44:58] Um, and [00:45:00] I was really struggling some because I’m like, what are we tolerating? Are we tolerating bad ideas? A good idea? That’s how I was thinking about, uh, tolerance and acceptance, more so of all identities and all gender identities. So the rainbow being for pride, but also if you look closer, um, all those little circles have different gender symbols as well as, you know, the kind of paired circles or different gender orientations and uterus and other symbols kind of being present, but it kind of just looks pretty from existence.

[00:45:29] I [00:45:30] think about the Black Lives Matter and George Floyd. Um, a project I’ve worked on for years wa was with Ann Barry and Panina, um, Laker and Kelly Walters and Rebecca Meyer is value design education pledge with the design educators community where people committed to being anti-racist, upholding all design histories, distributing knowledge and impact, creating culture and supporting student experiences, which segues nicely into people.

[00:45:55] So these are those wonderful, strong women and they’re all authors in their [00:46:00] own right? Um, well I guess they’re both their books, but they’re very inspiring to me and also very supportive. Um, my mom was my client for her wedding, so, uh, she was a good client. She kinda let me do whatever I wanted, so I got to design, um, her wedding invitation as well as Alitos, um, or Luminaria.

[00:46:20] So she’s from New Mexico and married a man who’s in New Mexico. And so this was all around their wedding. And other designers that just kind of influenced me. [00:46:30] This book Designing Design with Kenya Hara, thinking about the mind being everywhere in the body. So, um, it’s easy, I think in Western thought it’s more like, oh, this is my mind, this is my heart and this is my body.

[00:46:42] But to know, oh, maybe I’m not doing well because I didn’t sleep or eat or treat myself well, the book also just has beautiful things like a redesign section. So toilet paper. Well, I always think of Seinfeld like toilet paper hasn’t been reinvented, but they did reinvent toilet paper for this. Thinking about [00:47:00] if you feel the toilet paper turn, you are thinking about consumption and you can stack it if it’s not circles or the banana where you see it and feel it and touch it.

[00:47:08] Um, and Alan Fletcher talks about like design being a way of life, but more so influence because of just play. And so the leaning tar of pizza, but drum differently, it’s no love that. Uh, or like Derrick Ham is a professor at NC State, but doing a lot in VR and, um, [00:47:30] recreated Martin Luther King Jr’s last day.

[00:47:34] And so that worker strike and putting someone in that immersive experience like also changes if you look down and you have the hands of a black man or currently working on barnstormers, um, about the Negro Baseball League and trying to make sure more funding goes back to the families. These two women, Aaron, Sharon and Robin Landa, run design, incubation, another amazing community.

[00:47:55] They made it so I could actually write a book, like they [00:48:00] deconstructed the process and they could not be more supportive and giving. It brings me to this amazing woman, Jessica Meher. So we wrote a book together, woo. Working with Design Clients. Yay. Tools and Advice for Successful Partnership, which is coming out in October.

[00:48:15] But, uh, 

[00:48:16] diane: we have a preLink. You can I have it right 

[00:48:19] Meaghan Dee: here. And our publisher said, uh, that, so right now you can just get the ebook. The real book will be available there later, but they’re not there yet. [00:48:30] But if you want the ebook, it is ready. So, um, yeah, she was a great partner to have through this. She’s got expertise and I think, um, me having the experience from running a studio with her experience of, well, she has a PhD and incredibly knowledgeable also really helped me with the writing process.

[00:48:47] And we balanced each other in a wonderful way and I’m so thankful. 

[00:48:50] diane: Did you meet her for this or had you met her 

[00:48:52] Meaghan Dee: prior? Yeah, I met her at a conference and I think she was presenting on student run [00:49:00] design studios, or I was, and we chatted once and she applied for a grant and got funding. And when she was, uh, doing it, I was like, oh, we should talk.

[00:49:09] And we did. And six years later, I know, I think it was a long time it happened. But, uh, yeah, she wrote 

[00:49:17] diane: in the chat she said, did Megan design a gorgeous cover and the whole book? So you not only wrote, but you also designed the whole 

[00:49:25] Meaghan Dee: thing Co-wrote, but yeah. Well, we had interviews with, but you designed the whole, [00:49:30] but yeah.

[00:49:30] Yeah. 220 pages. Wow. Um, thank you Jessica for sharing that. Thanks. Thanks Jessica. See, she’s great. Uh, I love the copyright, Lucy. Those were great. Yeah. I love hers. So like, she really inspired me by like her copyright pages and so. I’ve only made a couple books, but I was like, I’m gonna make fun copyright pages.

[00:49:53] So when I did a book on, sure. I love that. Anderson, his like, it’s sort of dark, ’cause I guess he drank too many [00:50:00] martinis and then ate a meatball, had a toothpick in it and died several days later. So like, it’s so dark. But like, and ours is just like a book because I was like, we made a book. Here’s the book.

[00:50:09] But, um, Jessica Hitch, I think has always been a person who’s Mm-Hmm. Doesn’t hide being a mom and a designer. And I think he, you know, maybe in some ways, and I saw her years ago, I was like, it’s kind of weird even how much it’s on the forefront now on the other side. I’m like, I’m really glad that for that visibility, Guiana is just an incredible person I met at cac.

[00:50:29] You might have [00:50:30] met him before. Mm-Hmm. But he donated this huge collection to the letter form archive. I said thanks to him for doing that. And then he ended up donating. And insanely large for poster collection to Virginia Tech. As such, we now have one of the largest poster collections in the world. His friend Oscar, Oscar Fernandez donated more.

[00:50:46] So Dennis is amazing. Oh, and Diane? No, but really like you have been lifting people up like. For as long as I know you, like you are a true cheerleader and supporter and like I [00:51:00] always end up being like, oh, things are okay. Said so. But in the last little, like, almost done, but like this kind of quote from Adrian son is how to be a craft designer without leading your soul.

[00:51:12] Mm-Hmm. But that idea that, um, if you once read that if, uh, safe crackers are the tips of their fingers with sandpaper to increase tactile sensitivity, it makes their fingertips ultra sensitive and enables them to feel the nuances of the locks gear mechanisms as they rotate the dial in search of that [00:51:30] magic combination.

[00:51:31] Uh, it’s the same with graphic design. The more sensitive you are to the world around you, the better you’ll function. And the last thing, so video of daughter waving byebye. ’cause you said people, so it’s like our daughter Finnel. Um, so this was a little, some spreads from the board book I finished yesterday that’s just ordered for, for her.

[00:51:48] That’s awesome. Uh, thank you and I’ll stop sharing. Okay. So 

[00:51:53] diane: we saw lots. This was awesome. Lots of people in the chat, loving everything. So cool. [00:52:00] Absolutely. Um, eye candy. Eye candy. Eye candy. I hope you guys, uh, have enjoyed. So, couple quick questions. Um, how, as you’re doing, you said this a little bit earlier, you’re like, Hey, when I redid the PO thing or redid the Shakespeare thing, you are like, oh, I could do so much more.

[00:52:19] And that was just five years ago. But because you’re Yeah. Working and listening and reading and connecting with people, um, constantly. I don’t know how you [00:52:30] sleep. I don’t You’ve done so 

[00:52:32] Meaghan Dee: much work. I’ve honestly this week have not slept all that much. But that’s because daughter was sick, not because of Oh.

[00:52:38] diane: But you do seem to have like a, a way to be productive and, um, process your thoughts, but also. Make meaningful connections. But as you’re looking back, you said this, like, can you see your work evolving or is doing a, an exercise like this where [00:53:00] you’re having to put your work out in a, like a timeline of Megan, does that help you to see the evolution?

[00:53:09] Meaghan Dee: Yeah, I think for sure. I mean, I think, um, obviously society has also changed, you know, so there’s things that, like I, I, in addition to hopefully becoming a better, more skilled designer and getting better at technology and learning new TE technologies, um, society also brings to light [00:53:30] different issues or things that I might not have been thinking about or ideas I wasn’t necessarily raised around.

[00:53:36] And so, uh, I think. The social impact we’re thinking about social good. And Patrick, who at least I think Patrick’s still here, like he started, uh, design up at Virginia Tech two years ago, uh, which is um, a design marathon for local nonprofits where we partner design professionals with teams of students and do kind of a community give back.

[00:53:57] And now I’m doing it ’cause Patrick left to move closer to [00:54:00] family. But, uh, so things like that where, uh, yes, there’s the aesthetic kind of play and development, but there’s also the, like, how can you be making an impact? Or when you’re talking to students or even thinking about your own engagements, am I working, uh, like you don’t wanna come in with design savior mentality.

[00:54:21] You wanna do a designing with not for. And so making sure that, uh, communities and clients and stakeholders all sort of are a [00:54:30] part of the process as well. So I. Um, but yeah, well I think specifically with the Shakespeare project, we just had after effects, I think also got better. Although if somebody said it hasn’t changed that much, you just got used to it.

[00:54:41] So, uh, I don’t know which it is. Like maybe it’s a little bit of a and a little bit of B, so like, it’s so much easier now. And, but I think that’s just how things go to Well, 

[00:54:53] diane: and the more you do, the more you practice, the easier things get, um, right. 

[00:54:58] Meaghan Dee: Absolutely. But 

[00:54:59] diane: [00:55:00] when you’re, when you’re, I mean like are, I feel like you must never watch tv.

[00:55:06] You must just always be doing these really, um, important things. And I think that you do, I mean, you laugh, you have some, you are silly. And I think that maybe it’s that you don’t take yourselves too seriously, but you also take the people around you and the world around you and you see, hey, it maybe it’s just me in [00:55:30] instead of.

[00:55:31] Just assuming that you can’t do anything to help your friend that you say, you’d still just reach out and say, what could I do instead of thinking that maybe it’s just, I’m just a little old me, I can’t do anything. Do you think 

[00:55:46] Meaghan Dee: I totally watched lots of tv? I shouldn’t say, but not like lots. And I would say like, since having a baby, I’m like, oh, I haven’t watched my shows like in a really long time.

[00:55:57] So, but yeah, we still, you know, watch [00:56:00] tv like normal humans and uh, I feel like it’s kind of nice to hear you see again, good cheerleader, Diane. Uh, it’s been a rough couple of weeks just, you know, searches at school or having sick baby and having her home two days from daycare over the past week while also installing an exhibit.

[00:56:18] It’s just, uh, it’s felt like the balance got outta whack and frankly, I think the thing I’ve sacrificed. More lately is my time at the gym, which I should maybe like, [00:56:30] but then I think other times I’m very fit, but less productive. So I think sometimes there’s, uh, like how you find that balance. And I think that’s the thing.

[00:56:39] I’m always striving, but I do well. I like laughing, but I think there’s also, uh, yes designed to try to tackle the really big things, but there’s also just those nice little moments of joy and beauty and connection or like, haha, look at this beer. Can, isn’t it fun? And so, uh, it doesn’t, I, [00:57:00] I think I try to have a little bit of that balance between, between very serious heavy things that we should be spending time with.

[00:57:07] But it doesn’t, just because you care about serious things doesn’t mean, uh, you don’t also want to enjoy the world. And I think it’s because I am grateful for so much and enjoy the world that I. I care about those. Yeah. And I think 

[00:57:22] diane: that’s a great way of looking at balancing some of those heavier things with some of those others.

[00:57:28] So one other thing that wasn’t on the [00:57:30] list of questions, um, but I made a very short list. Um, but the last one’s coming up, number five, we’re gonna get to it. But how do you continue to learn or where do you go? Because I think about things that I’m always investing in and money and time into my education.

[00:57:47] And as you’ve done a ton with technology, how, like how much time do you invest in, where do you go to find things, new things that you wanna 

[00:57:59] Meaghan Dee: learn? [00:58:00] Yeah, I think sometimes I’ll have a project and then it prompts me. Like when we did Shakespeare’s Garden, that was my, I’m gonna learn how to do after effects kinda thing.

[00:58:07] And I think, uh, LinkedIn learning, uh, is pretty helpful. I’ve done some Skillshare, I think for, I. Uh, getting some tips for procreate, things like that. For the AI stuff. I’ve been really tinkering. I was like, I just wanna see what these things are capable of. Partly so as a teacher I’m able to understand and also make sure our students are prepared in the workforce.

[00:58:29] [00:58:30] Um, and it’s hard ’cause I always feel a little behind on things and I think being in a smallish design program, uh, I teach in so many different areas that I’m like, oh no, I kind of need to know web. And right now I feel rusty at Red Web, but I feel better at motion. I feel like I’m doing okay with ai. So, uh, it might also depend on what I’m teaching.

[00:58:51] And I think anyone who teaches can tell you that, um, if you have to teach someone else, that’s one of the best ways of learning because you have to know it really darn well. Uh, [00:59:00] but also that vulnerability. I think both in the classroom and in my own work. I think I used to think I have to be an expert.

[00:59:07] To teach this teach. And sometimes I’ll be like, I don’t know everything. Here’s some basics. Oh, I don’t know that answer. Here’s how I would find that answer. Which is also kind of a helpful skill because I’m not gonna be standing over my student shoulder after they graduate anyway. Right. Or, 

[00:59:23] diane: or hopefully not.

[00:59:24] ’cause that’d be weird. Yeah. 

[00:59:25] Meaghan Dee: Under your feet, you know. 

[00:59:27] diane: Okay. So last question and then I’m gonna [00:59:30] share all the ways that people can, uh, get your book again, or get to know you and follow you in other ways. So, um, this is kind of like stealing from, I don’t know, some morning show that I can’t remember, but I think their colors are orange, so I’m not good with morning shows.

[00:59:46] I don’t watch that. Um, but if you could tell someone how much their life and work has inspired you, these people could be dead or alive, who would that be and what, what would you tell them or ask them 

[00:59:59] Meaghan Dee: about? [01:00:00] So I totally am cheating Diane. ’cause Diane asked me this question ahead of time and I was like, that’s your hard one.

[01:00:05] But, uh, the first person that popped in my mind was actually Alan Fletcher, who I didn’t originally even have in the presentation. But, uh, and the reason it came to mind was, I believe he died in 2006, something like that. I discovered his work in grad school. I think the art of looking sideways was one of the books we were supposed to get for a class.

[01:00:24] And I loved him and I was like, oh my gosh, I just missed his [01:00:30] lifetime by three years. And because of that experience, I think I started even reaching out to people that had influenced me. So I think I wrote David Sedaris a letter with a whole bunch of messed up four leaf glovers for a longer story. But, uh, he wrote back and, uh, you know, I think Alan Lightman had written Einstein’s Dreams and I loved it.

[01:00:49] And he wrote back too. Mm-Hmm. And, um, so I try to say thank you to people I know in my life too. I think another person that kind of just popped in was. [01:01:00] David Ari, who I knew through the a IJ design educators. He’s an educator out in California. He is just always doing super nice things for me in a, uh, and I feel like the way I feel right now is an overwhelmed mom who’s trying to keep up with school, being a good mom, research things, wanting to keep enough things going, that when she’s older and a teenager and hates me, that I still have cool things to be [01:01:30] doing.

[01:01:30] Um, so like that balance I think is really hard, but he’s been consistently making kind efforts and he’s not the only one. But like this week, my colleague James, well also, like it was, I just had a bad week. Well, pretty much the er she’s fine, but it was group and group is scary. Uh, like just gave me a $50 GrubHub card.

[01:01:51] So colleague James, thank you. Like you said, go buy designers a coffee. And I was like, oh, James got me a GrubHub car. So it just, uh, I [01:02:00] really appreciate those things and the hard part for me right now is along with my gym membership, well, I’m still paying the gym membership. We’re just not going to the gym.

[01:02:07] Uh, I, I feel like the time to connect, like, I like writing letters. I like sending old friends thing, going on walk and calling people. And, uh, some of that space isn’t there for me. So, uh, I didn’t totally answer your question, but also if I could just talk to people, I think like Ken Yahara and Jessica would be pretty cool.

[01:02:28] Those 

[01:02:28] diane: are good. Those are, I [01:02:30] think, I think the whole thing was awesome and I love that you have taken that like writing David Sedaris and I’m, so, I, I love him. I think he’s hilarious. I mean, one of the most hilarious people I’ve ever read. Okay. He’s super 

[01:02:43] Meaghan Dee: hilarious. Yeah, she’ll totally write you back too.

[01:02:46] I think he said he tries to write everybody back. But I think that 

[01:02:49] diane: that’s like, that’s like you and you. You just take the time. And I do. This is why I love this is when I was thinking about doing this inspiration with, [01:03:00] um, love on Designers during February. I wanted you to kick it off because you are so good at letting people know or just reaching out and even if it’s like.

[01:03:10] They’re just totally random, but you know, everybody has bad days and you’re like, maybe this will make them feel good. You know, like, I think we should do more rando, things like that. And this is just one of the reasons that I love you, but just to remind everybody, love on designers is the whole month and I’m giving art supplies.

[01:03:29] So you’ll get some art [01:03:30] supplies if you enter. The way to enter is go to YouTube, any YouTube video, I have answered all the other comments on all the other videos. So if you leave a comment, I’ll enter you and I’ll put it on a piece of paper and then we’ll physically do a drawing, um, at the end of the month and five.

[01:03:48] People will win. So I’m excited that you get, and I send it no matter what. I’ve sent it all the way across the world. The whoever, if you win. Um, so just ’cause you’re outside [01:04:00] of the United States doesn’t mean you can’t win. ’cause you can. Um, but this week is for you to buy somebody a cup of coffee, a GrubHub, take ’em to lunch, bring them something in, maybe it’s a flower, set it on their desk.

[01:04:13] If you have a friend who you are, you work alone like Brian White and maybe you have somebody else, then maybe s. Send Brian a the cup of coffee thing. Buy me a cup of coffee or do something else that, it doesn’t have to be somebody that you’re [01:04:30] physically right next to, but I think that it’s even just a, a note or a, and those are things else we’ll do later in the, the month we just focus on that.

[01:04:40] Next week is recharged. It’s so, it’s a time for you to do something for yourself. I’ll be at my dad’s, so I will be doing a recorded, it won’t, we won’t have a live show next week. That’s a, a change that usually recharges week three, but we’re doing it the second week this time. So you get a week off from, and maybe during this [01:05:00] hour you specifically go and you do something for yourself.

[01:05:04] Take a walk alone or 

[01:05:06] Meaghan Dee: get a massage. I thought you were gonna tell me to go to the gym. 

[01:05:09] diane: No, no. I mean, unless you wanna go to the gym, I think that’s great. But this is the month where you are supposed to love on people and just those. Not they deserve it or not deserve it, you’re just loving. So that’s, that’s your love that your, uh, charge for [01:05:30] the week or for the month.

[01:05:31] But here’s how you can get in touch with Megan. Let me pull up the thing so that I can hit return. Because I already had it pasted in. So if you wanna check out Megan’s work, Megan, M-E-G-H-A-N-D, like her last name’s DEE, but it’s just a D. And then, oh, people are, um, typing and then the, the chat goes up. So Instagram you can look at, look, find her at Megan.

[01:05:57] She spells her name MEA and [01:06:00] then G-H-A-N-D-E-E. And then on LinkedIn as well. Same thing. And then you can email her and I’m not gonna read out your email, but it’s in the things right underneath, it’s at the top. And then the new book is Bloomsbury. It’s working with design clients Co-wrote, and Jessica is here also.

[01:06:21] So I just appreciate everybody coming and Megan just thank you so much for being kicking this off and for being such a good [01:06:30] example of what we need to do. And I. How we need to, how we need to be. And thank you for always inspiring me to be better and more exploratory and quirky. And so I just really appreciate you and I love you, so I appreciate you too.

[01:06:47] Yeah, you too. Super glad that you were kicking it off and I will see you guys all next. Nope, not next week. So you’re recharging next week. Um, I’ll see you in two weeks. And in two [01:07:00] weeks, uh, we have Damien Williams, another person who does a ton of stuff, especially all in February. Um, so he does the ABCs of February.

[01:07:10] He’s talking to us about his inspiration though, so, um, we’ll see what he, I was like, I know it’s really busy and I’m gonna do two, two months of this inspiration. So the next month I think is gonna be in September and I’m pretty stoked about this being something that’s regular and I love. That people get to kind of tell their story, but [01:07:30] also who is inspiring them and how it shows up in their work.

[01:07:33] So thank you guys for all coming, and I will see you in 

[01:07:37] Meaghan Dee: two weeks.

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