On The Real
September 2018 - January 2023
On The Real is a place where any creative can post their work and get feedback from other creatives.
So this all started when I was assigned a project in my Conceptual Typography class to make a newspaper ad about a fact on water consumption. The spin on this project was that I couldn’t just type it out. I had to use physical materials in some way to get this message across.
I had this idea to make these water bottles stack up next to each other, so you could see how much water that actually was. Then I would use Photoshop to burn some of the bottles to make the number 100. However, when I printed it out and when I eventually showed it to my family and friends, they were having trouble seeing the 100.
However, when I finally showed it to my brothers, I accidentally inverted the image through text message. This made the “100” perfectly clear and it got the tone I really wanted as well.
Although there were many times where I learned from mistakes to get what I wanted to work, this project was the one where I realized that making mistakes can be a good thing in designing, even if by accident. I wouldn’t have that end result if it wasn’t for making that mistake. It was something I wanted to explore further.
This incident made me want to get to understand if this was a problem for just me or if it was a problem for everybody too. So I created a survey, where I asked these 3 questions to 62 students in my design school:
1) Describe you biggest mistake in art or design:
Survey Word Cloud
2) Do you feel like you learned from your mistake? If yes, what did you learn?
3) What keeps you motivated to keep going after you’ve made a mistake? If not, what stops you?
At the end of this survey, I realized that I wasn't the only one who was afraid of failure and there is something to this. Furthermore, students, in particular are terrified of making a mistake. I eventually made this into a thesis for my final year of Suffolk, I looked into learning from mistakes through iterations and feedback.
A few years later, I've been working in the design industry and I’ve noticed that in order to improve my design skill, I need to get feedback for my work. I remembered my time working on my thesis project. I had some updates to what I had created.
I feel like it's a problem with our world now where there isn't a place for creatives to get feedback from others. So, I wanted to create a website called On The Real. While I was thinking about it from the designer's perspective. I'm thinking it's very similar to any creative field. It’s a place where any creative can post their work and get feedback from other creatives.
Designers need a way to freely make mistakes and learn from them because the iterative process is vital to being creative and making good design.
Through feedback and making iterations, designers can learn from their mistakes and improve their design skills.
I created this flowchart before I even had an idea for how to solve this problem and it helped organize my brain. It also helped me realize that I need to tailor my product for people who are caught in that iterative cycle. Whether they are in a creative block, need a solution to a design problem or if they are fearing failure, this product will help dissuade that.
One thing I loved about my time at Suffolk as a grad student, was how instead of exams at the end of the semester, we had a critique, where our professors, would judge our work for the semester. It was definitely a scary experience but it also helped me become a better designer from all the comments I’d received. They were giving feedback because they wanted to help me become a better designer. It helped me when I got out in the real world when clients or my boss' would give me feedback to the designs.
This was an aspect that I wanted to have in this work.
So we start off with a profile page. I wanted this to look like an Instagram profile page.
If you click "Add New Post" on the top left, it'll take you to this screen. I ultimately want it to be that other people in a can post their content as well. The feedback loop can take hold in every creative aspect. But I'm just taking you through the Graphic Design path.
This slideshow shows the process of uploading a post on the site. Here's the interactive prototype to play around with.
I also wanted to share what it would look like if you got feedback. The idea is that everyone on this platform is a creative in some sort.
The Next Steps
I'd love if this became a real website and I could test it out. I'd either need to code it myself or find a partner who is interested.