Believe it or not, design is more than pretty fonts and an interesting layout. Design is about problem solving. It’s not exclusive to designers, it can be used in everyday situations. As designers, we are looking for solutions and alternative strategies through brainstorming sessions and hands-on testing. When UCLA’s Bruin Entrepreneurs and UCLA Creative Lab reached out to us to participate as mentors and judge the work of their very first Designathon competition, we were all in. What better way to educate students who had no background, but only an interest in design what design thinking can do and how they can apply it in their majors as they make their way through college.

The Designathon consisted of a three hour session to solve an issue of their choice under the theme of “Growth” in either a graphic design or UI/UX format. They separated into teams to collaborate and develop their creativity. Creative Services Manager, Elisa Valdez and Sr. Designer, Shannon Duke each mentored the teams, sitting down, walking them through their thoughts and navigating them to the strongest solution. The students all came from widely different backgrounds, from mathematics to business communications. Using what they’ve learned through their majors, the outcomes from all teams were not only impressive, but thrilling. You can see how the students took the process from design and applied in forms that made sense to them. For example, a mathematician student created a visual that displayed his knowledge in math, but that reflected the basic thought process behind design.

On the UI/UX side, a team concepted an app that would hold roommates accountable for keeping the living spaces clean. Each roommate has tasks, at the end of the week the roommate with the lowest score (based on the tasks accomplished) would have to venmo the other roommates a set price. This app motivates roommates to be clean and tidy. We thought “How Genius!”

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