Jason Mayden has lived many lives. Starting out as Nike’s first industrial design intern in black, he became chief designer of the Jordan brand, launched his own children’s shoe label Superheroic, served as interim president for the launch of Fear of God’s athletic apparel, and became CEO of the design collective Trillicon. valley.
Jason Mayden [Photo: courtesy A Kids Company About]Plus, he’s one of the proudest dads I’ve ever met, and our conversations over the years have revolved around his children as well as his professional projects. It is therefore not surprising that Mayden has published his first children’s book: A Kids Book About Design.
The book is part of a larger series of empowering kids books from the A Kids Company About imprint. The series covers a wide variety of topics, including gender, voices, autism, and money. When the team approached Mayden to write a book on design, he saw the opportunity as a natural fit.
[Photo: courtesy A Kids Company About]“The great thing about kids is that it doesn’t take much to understand how to work as a designer because they’ve been able to use make-believe, which is essentially the same tool we use as designers when composing moods. signs and customer journeys,” Mayden says. “Kids do that every time they pick up an inanimate object and give it life.”
[Photo: courtesy A Kids Company About]Over the course of 62 pages, Mayden uses bright typography to tell his own story, starting with his childhood when he battled a blood infection in the hospital. He took that terrible moment to delve into his own imagination. From there, the story slowly unfolds into an explanation of design, breaking down tricky concepts like inclusive design, while providing an overview of all the ways design affects everything from education to policy. In that sense, the children’s book treatment works really well in outlining the scope of the design while explaining “like I am five” concepts. It is the perfect short book for adults, even if the story is written for children.
[Photo: courtesy A Kids Company About]“We have smashed the word ‘innovation’. I don’t think people understand the true definition of innovation, which is discovery,” Mayden says. “I hope to awaken the spirit of discovery in the next generation.”
[Photo: courtesy A Kids Company About]Mayden’s foray into children’s publishing is part of a broader goal of prepaying it in the design world. As a little South Sider from Chicago, he was inspired to become a designer when he read Batman issue #307, when he met Dr. Lucius Fox first saw the page. Fox is the black businessman and inventor who does everything from helping build the Batcave to providing Batman with various gadgets – all while saving Bruce Wayne’s failing business and convincing him to invest in philanthropy.
“I realize there is a child who will see similarities in my story. † † and it could be the thing that changes their lives. I take that seriously because I didn’t have a technical, creative leadership image that existed in the world of design,” Mayden says. “I’ve made it a point to become the real Lucius Fox, so it’s no longer a myth that you can come from where I’m from, and do what I’ve done.”
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