We as designers have the power to better our industry by being involved in our local community. The more ideas we can share and borrow from others, the faster we encourage design to grow. Users of everyday products and software depend on innovative and effective usability, as well as appropriate aesthetic. We can only achieve those goals through collaboration and exploration.
As I get increasingly involved in the Orlando design and development scene, I feel constantly more aware of the trends and best practices around me. This is something that I plan on continuing to do throughout the development of my career.
These past two years I've had the honor of serving as President of the Graphic Design Student Association, a registered organization at the University of Central Florida. I've gotten to know each and everyone of our members very well, and have been learning little by little a few of the differences between our design sub-cultures. I've come to realize that web developers come from a culture of crowd-sourcing - of collaboration, and versioning, and forking, and cloning, and merging, and forums, and tuts, etc. Pure graphic designers and illustrators are generally used to a DIY attitude. This really has caught my attention.
So I reacted to this idea in a small, yet positive and actionable way. Along with two close friends in UCF's web program, I co-founded the Design + Code meetups: a group that serves today as a sister organization to GDSA, gathering members from both programs to meet weekly and engage in open collaborations. The intent is to bring new ideas to life faster, and to focus on building a stronger, more tight-knit design community at school. I'm very excited about where this is going. Only time will tell.