Hot Takes: Miyuki Sits Down With the K&F Design Team


Miyuki: Okay, so pick one Kendall.

Kendall: All right. They’re sticking together.

When and how did you decide to choose design as your career path?

Kendall: So funny, I’ve always been into art. One of my favorite memories growing up is that I used to draw Hey Arnold all the time in like the first or second grade. I was really influenced by pop culture and the shows I was watching at the time. I also had this character that I would draw over and over and reimagine them in new scenarios. So, I always loved art from a young age.

Fast forward to adulthood, I don’t think I realized there was a career in illustration or even design. I would say I grew up with very humble beginnings and my parents raised me to really make my own decisions and follow my own path. But that said, my knowledge of a creative path was limited and because my mom was a nurse, I think I just looked up to her and thought, “okay, I’ll go to school to be a nurse, too.”

Miyuki: No way! Really?

Kendall: Yes. So, I’m going to school to be a nurse. I’m in anatomy and really having a hard time remembering however many bones there are in the body. At the same time, I’m introduced to graphic design as a profession by one of my really good friend’s mom, Cher. She did some interesting way finding and highway signage in Southern Indiana, as well as some work for the Yum Center in Louisville. I remember finding the work really interesting and we would talk about what graphic design really meant, and I realized some of the work I was already doing for fun had a place there. It wasn’t long after I switched my major to Visual Communications.

Miyuki: So how long were you into nursing before life?

Kendall: It was before the program actually started, so gen-ed, but I was taking courses with my friends who were headed down the same path. I say this all the time: you can only know what you’re exposed to. All it took was the exposure of my friend’s mom saying “you can do art for a living” for me to take the leap.

Miyuki: That’s awesome. I love you saying that because that’s like finding opportunities and opportunities finding a person. It could be as simple as having a conversation with someone. Anyone’s life could change in a second.

Kendall: Oh, yeah. You never know. A simple interaction, podcast, or TV show could literally shift the course of your life.

Miyuki: Lately, that’s been on my mind because I’ve found that that’s one thing that really drives me and that’s a constant question in my head: how can I make more opportunities happen for more people? Especially thinking about people who are not as lucky as I’ve been in finding opportunities or meeting really good professionals or being in touch with different industries and all of that. And there are a lot of talented people that are simply far from that.

Kendall: Absolutely. I think that there are multiple avenues you can take that can create impact, right? I truly believe that everyone has their own community where they feel naturally drawn to impact. For me, it’s my family. Starting at the ground roots, exposing my little brother, and niece to Louisville and showing them the art, culture, food, and architecture, and expanding their view of the world. I want to instill in them at a young age that you can explore different cities; you can live the life you want. I tell them all the time “whatever you want to be, you can do it”. And I try to lead by that example.

In your own words, what is creativity?

Parker: I believe that creativity is innate in people. But it’s an active mindset. It could be a move from an undesirable situation to a desirable one. Maybe creativity is starting a lawn care service. Or it could be looking at the world around you and then interpreting it through a paintbrush. But ultimately it’s a movement against resistance, I think.

Miyuki: Dom?

Dom: Creativity is the process of discovery and the journey of imagination. When you are able to transform your imagination into reality, that’s where the magic happens! Creative people are usually able to make connections between things that are not normally related. But in my opinion, problem-solving is the backbone of one’s creativity also.

Kendall: Honestly, I think creativity is listening to your gut. I don’t think that creativity can be “taught” because I think it’s something that every single person has inside of them. I think creativity is trusting your inner voice and going with what feels right to you because creativity is authenticity.

Do you have doubts about your career and your future?

Kendall: Miyuki, you answer that one…

Miyuki: I do, and I think the reason I have doubt is that I have so many interests and my future could literally look a thousand ways. And I don’t know exactly what it’s gonna look like even in the next six months. I might be living in Chicago or I might be still living in Santo Domingo, who knows? But in terms of my career, I also have doubts, but doubts in the sense that I don’t know what it’s gonna look like. And I like that. Because again, I have a lot of different interests and I keep finding stuff that I’m really passionate about and interested in. And it excites me to dig more and try to see where that takes me, even though I have a core and I know that right now I’m doing what I’m doing. It’s like giving myself permission and the opportunity to also look elsewhere, trying to see if that’s something that I wanna spend my time with. I mean, I also have doubts in the sense that it might turn out to be not as I expected it to be. But I wouldn’t even fear that it’s going to be a waste of time because at least now I know, and again, I gave myself permission to learn something new and to experience something different.

Kendall: I love this because it goes back to the first question. You can’t grow unless you know. So for you to not know your next path, whether it’s fear, excitement, or some other emotion you want to use to define the unknown, you actually don’t have to know. Because as you learn, that’s gonna shift no matter what. Dom?

Dom: Are you seriously asking me this? I have doubts about tomorrow!! I think about the future of my career literally every day. I have to remind myself daily, and sometimes be reminded that if I do my best, show up 100%, and continue to learn and ask questions as much as I can, everything will work out. I love to do so many things in the design and tech field, so the options are endless. I think where I struggle the most is finding that niche that I’m really good in and focusing just on that. I’m confident I’ll get there. Ok, Parker.

Parker: All the time. But I think doubt is a part of being a flawed creature. Having doubts is natural, is what I mean – and maybe it’s for the better. Because doubts can be very humbling. Or they can be motivators and can help you set goalposts.

Give me the honest truth about remote work.

Parker: While working remotely in the Spring/Summer, it’s nice to step outside and water the garden while on a break. But I miss solving problems or coming up with creative solutions in a collaborative, in-person space.

Dom: I love it. I’m much more productive working at home without any distractions. Though recently, I’ve been thinking it would be nice to have an office to go to at least 2x days a week. Just to vibe with my co-workers, have some training sessions, eat lunch, share ideas, etc. My partner just recently told me that I need to find another environment to work a few days a week in. Thinking about implementing that into my work week sooner than later.
KR. I thrive in it. That said, I appreciate both sides of the coin and enjoy being with the team. We get along so well, but sometimes it’s so easy to fall into water cooler talk or get lost in great conversation. But I think on the other side of that, I’m a deep thinker. I’m a deep worker. I’m a big bullet lister, so I love to get my thoughts in order and strategically plan each hour of the day. Working remotely allows me that time and space to do so. So, to answer the question, I think a hybrid is the ideal situation for me. But, you know, everyone’s different.

What’s something you appreciate in other designers’ work?

Dom: So, there is a graphic designer I’ve been following for a while now, karolinakrolstudio. Her work is just so simple, clean, and elegant, I’m like yeah that’s the stuff I wanna do! It just emulates what I want my life to be — clean and balanced.

Parker: If we are talking about co-workers, I find inspiration in how driven our designers are to continue improving. But I think I also like that about all designers. It seems to be one of those professions that you never really “arrive”, so much as continually reinvent yourself as you uncover more about the craft.

What’s a current professional or personal goal you have?

Miyuki: Professional? I have a list of projects I want to design and implement next year and I’m in the process of closing on them, so I’m really excited about that. And on a personal level, I want to hit a financial goal for next year that is really challenging, but I’m confident that I’ll make it happen.

Parker: Personal: I want to work towards a better output on the Peloton (and just stay on top of fitness in general). Professionally — down the road, I want to start an agency where everyone wears all black. (This is a Tarik joke).

Dom: Personal: homeownership in 2023. Professional: improve my soft skills (communication and organization) and become more active in design networks and communities. I need to come out of my shell a bit.

Miyuki: Homeownership, yes! I have that one on my list, too. Along with getting Tarik to understand he is not Bad Bunny’s best friend hahaha. Thanks, you all, this was fun!