AIGA Orange County would like to invite you to join us for an evening with Luke Mysse on Thursday June 2nd, 2016 as he discusses Seeing Beyond the Pixels. We had the chance to chat with him to learn more about the evolution of his career, and a few things the audience may take away.
So what should the audience expect Luke?
I’m going to share some stories and lessons I’ve learned over the last few years of a crazy journey. I had a design agency for almost 20 years, but after getting involved with a non-profit I ended up closing the firm in 2014 to work on the cause full time. I hope to inspire people to look for how they can make a difference and think outside the box. I personally started as a designer but became more of a strategic partner to my clients over time. There’s more to what we do, as designers, than just the execution of pushing pixels around. I believe people have so much more to offer.
You’ve taken some pretty big steps, was it that clean cut or a series of progressive steps?
It was more of a progression for sure. As the non-profit continued to evolve I eventually knew it was time to take a bigger leap. I’m not suggesting that everyone jump into a non-profit full time or change careers, but I do think we have more opportunities to help than we realize. When I put my career on hold to ride a bicycle across America I knew it was something I had to do. Ultimately we did the trip to raise money and awareness for Severe Acute Malnutrition in severely poor areas of Sub-Saharan Africa but it also became a very personal journey for me and my family.
You credit relationship building with helping make your transition possible.
I feel business has become too transactional. We need to think bigger. Look beyond the technical aspect, toward the people that are involved and how our work affects relationships. I think the approach of always being helpful and adding value built some really strong relationships over the years. I was surprised how much support we received when we committed to the bike trip, in fact we raised over $100,000 from sponsors, clients, vendors and people I’ve helped in the past.
Was it an epiphany moment or a gradually building need for change?
The epiphany came when I was finally honest about what energized me. I was at a retreat with a bunch of other creative professionals. While listening to what everyone wanted to get out of their careers I realized I didn’t want any of the same things. Taking that step away I was able to see what got me excited. I wanted to help people. Actually, It wasn’t really that new, even in my branding work I find I need to believe in the product or the people involved for my creativity to really spark. It’s something necessary to have an endless supply of creativity … some things give me energy, some things give me the opposite.
These are your people, what’s your goal for the night?
I’m hoping to inspire people with my story and maybe provoke some thought. The trip across country was pretty crazy … I’m a designer who tried something different and people reacted strongly to what I did—in a wonderful way! Sometimes we need to pay attention to what irks us, we may be the only one who can solve it. Don’t be complacent. We need to think critically and use the skills we have to make the changes we want, no matter how big or small they may be.
Any final thoughts?
I think people have more to offer than they realize. If something inspires you go for it. If something irks you, it might be time to speak up. Everything I’ve been working on was based around one cause—addressing malnutrition. It’s my focus. I’m now working on an amazing startup called Caloriecloud.org. It’s been a great continuation of my story, and a great use of the skills I’ve learned over my career. People need to find out what’s important to them and commit, I think you’ll be surprised by what happens next.
Hear Luke’s story, and join us on Thursday, June 2 as we learn how to leverage our design skillsets to create social change.