Tell us about your project and why you are doing it:
"Why Every President Sucked is a satirical coffee table book that goes through each and every presidency and pulls out how they have all failed. The idea has been a “thing” for many years. My brother-in-law began a blog in 2007 where he really developed the content. It’s been a pet project since then. When the political climate started to heat up again with this year’s presidential election, we started to again entertain the idea of getting the project out there. I love print design, and making a coffee table book seemed like a great way to get people to sit around and talk about the political circus in a new ways"
Can you share with us any major influences that contributed to your creative work and the passion behind it?
"It’s hard to pull out specific examples, because all of our experiences—good or bad—shape who we are as creatives—the school you went to, the professors you clung to, the jobs you’ve had. All of those experiences come together to mold and shape you. Looking back at my specific path, I can really see that. I had no idea my career would be where it is now when I first started out. I thought I’d be working way too many hours a week at a niche studio in some big city. But the job I got right out of school introduced me to experiential design, it supported me through grad school, and that introduced me to academia. Life has a funny way of taking sharp turns to fun places, if you let it."
What other creative work do you have your hands in that you are excited about?
"Probably too many things! I run a small design studio out of my home called Lauren Meranda Design. I have many wonderful client projects I’m working on. The semester is just starting at Judson University where I teach, and I’m diving right back into that! I was also recently brought on the board of AIGA Chicago as the education co-chair. We are developing a lot of fun design education initiatives for students and educators.."
Your current project does not provide an income for you, so tell us about how you balance your project and personal creative work with an additional career:
"The Why Every President Sucked project is definitely a passion project. We are not making any money off of it. I have been really blessed with being able to make a living off my creative pursuits, whether that’s through my studio or teaching. Balance is an ongoing challenge. I’m trying to be more mindful of the projects I take on, so that I have enough time and energy to really invest in each one. Balance isn’t something I have always done well with, so being more intentional about what I take on, and finding the courage to pass on different things has made a big difference in my overall health and happiness."
How are things different than you may have initially envisioned when you first began pursuing this project?
"Launching a Kickstarter is really hard, and not in the ways I thought it would be. I’m not all that great at social media, so I knew promotion wouldn’t be easy, but I did not anticipate how emotional I would feel about it! It’s hard to have to put yourself out there and ask for help. As an educator, I’m often in the position of offering help, not asking for it. It takes a great deal of vulnerability! I’ve started a twitter account to help share the spirit of the book with tweets on why every president sucked."
How has being a woman affected your work?
"I think it’s often difficult for women to feel comfortable boasting about their work or accomplishments. Every post I make asking people for support is preceded by a self-pep-talk that what I’m doing is worthy of attention, and the people who love me will support and encourage my efforts. It’s been a struggle to overcome that guilty feeling of being an annoyance, though!"
Where does your passion lead you next?
"I will be in Seattle the last week of August speaking at a very geeky design conference called TypeCon! I’m super excited about that!"
Check out and support Lauren: www.laurenmeranda.com
FEATURE CURATED BY: KATIE SIMKINS