saturn has returned: a new design school

March 26, 2023

I’m back on the internet after quite the year: I planned a wedding, got married, and moved to NYC! To top it off, I kicked off my Saturn’s return last month by leaving my role at Primer. Yes, it’s been a lot of change, but I’m excited because I’ve decided to venture into a slightly intimidating, yet familiar territory. 🥁 Drumroll, please…

I’m building a design school and I’ll be launching soon with a course called ✨ The art of visual design (Elizabeth’s version)✨.

The art of visual design

A friend asked me who I’m reclaiming this course from, who’s my Scooter Braun?

My answer? The design industry. Recently, I feel like the industry has been taking the fun and creativity out of design. Designers are flocking toward unified design systems and patterns that stunt experimentation. There’s an attempt to redefine product design as “not just about making things look pretty.” Yes, it’s not, but in saying this we diminish the importance of aesthetic and beauty. In order to be taken seriously, you have to optimize every aspect of creating your designs, name your layers at all times, and never, ever, ever detach the instance.

When did we get so boring and rigid 🥺? I got into design because I loved experimenting with visual design and my goal is to bring that level of fun back for everyone. The same level of fun I used to get from changing borders and inserting Word Art into all my grade school essays.

Word art

I’m excited because I truly believe I have a new perspective to share. Today, the online course industry isn’t the most approachable because it’s dominated by companies that want to become the hub or the campus that has the best-in-class course for every<insert whatever subject you want here>. I personally don’t care about that level of scale. The vibe I’m trying to achieve is your cozy neighborhood coffee shop (with good wifi and plenty of outlets ofc). I want to create a course that speaks to communities that are usually not represented or taken seriously on the internet.

On the education side, I am ready to dive into a couple key challenges:

  1. How can I cultivate a kind & thriving student community through a largely self-paced and asynchronous experience? One of my strengths is building fun, live experiences, but unfortunately, doing these live experiences isn’t sustainable. I’m going to challenge myself to create the same quality of experience for an asynchronous environment.
  2. How can I build a curriculum that empowers students to assess their own work? I’ve been a mentor for many online design courses and the biggest problem I see is that students begin relying on mentor feedback really early on. It’s difficult for lots of students to get feedback on their work, so I want to build a system that will solve for this early.

Anyway that’s all for now! I can’t wait to share more of my Saturn’s return with you all 💫

p.s. In order for this venture to succeed, I’ve been challenging myself to self promote more on the internet. It’s honestly not my favorite thing to do because I overthink every second of it, but it’s been good to step outside my comfort zone.

So… I’ve been on TikTok a lot recently trying to see if there’s a way to grow an audience there. (Yes, I’m in my growth hacker era 🥲). If any of you have any advice or tips for growing an audience, I would love to hear it 💞!