Founders, The Hue Collective
Randall Wilson, Alphonso Jordan, and Tiffany Ricks * from left to right*
As the third Hue Design Summit comes to a close, the sounds of heartfelt goodbyes and hugs to one another and our temporary home, with cars passing by fills the air, as we sit down to learn about The Hue Collective’s journey and humble beginnings.
Who are you and what is your role within The Collective?
A: My name is Alphonso Jordan, I am one of the co-founders.
R: My name is Randall Wilson. I perform art direction duties along with Alphonso.
T: I’m Tiffany Ricks. I help with branding, and program development.
What is The Hue Collective?
A: This is the third year for the Summit (Hue Design Summit), but for the collective, its about 4 years old now.
What does success mean to you individually?
A: My idea of success equates to helping others. If I can help others achieve a goal or a milestone, then that’s my personal vision of success.
R: I think my vision of success is, creating an alternate take on the typical conference experience, because these things are just as valid in a qualifiable sense in relation to quantifiable, right? Like this is a place where people can let loose, um, while also you know, experiencing that intersection with design. You can talk about Rick James and Eddie Opara in the same place and there’s nothing, like, missing in translation, nothing lacking in communication, right, because we can bounce between both at the same time.
T: My personal vision of success is to be able to sustain this platform that celebrates black and brown designers that usually, probably go unseen. And so for me that’s personal and the big picture. It’s less about me and more about the platform that we’re building.
How has everyone’s personal definition and vision of success, impacted the overall vision ?
A: I think that definitely helps [everyone having a personal definition of success], but I think also what helps, are that there are little differences, small nuances, so that way you kind of get perfection from multiple areas. If everyone is doing the exact same thing, exact same skill-sets, exact same mindset you would really only need one. At that point in time its about execution, more hands and a lot of times that can get a little cumbersome. So I think that having a little bit of difference in terms of how we view success, individually and collectively, helps run things a little more smoothly.
Thoughts on the current trajectory of The Hue Collective & The Hue Design Summit
T: Our planning process is really big on feedback, so we come and expect that and we reiterate as we go. So, if anything the more feedback we get the better off the planning process will be, and we want more of it. So we come in expecting it and if we get it, then that’s a success for us. We feel like we are still on the right track even if its a lot of delta feedback, that’s good for us.
On the difficulties and barriers of execution
“There’s storms, like with any team, its not always smooth sailing. But I think that’s what makes you a better team along the way and so we get bigger, we get stronger, but its all about problem-solving. I think that being designers gives us that extra muscle to get through that…” – Tiffany
“There’s not a finite amount of community…” – Randall
R: My goal, at least, is to complement. That’s a word that I’ve always used. To complement the other experiences that exist outside of us and not compete, because we have enough, we have a lot, there’s enough room for everybody. Because there are more black designers coming up everyday, there’s not a finite amount of community, it grows.
Somebody might want to go to a conference one year and then come to ours and then go to another one next year. So there’s space for it. I think where there’s opportunity, is for all of us to connect with each other and be aware of each other, because we all have the same goals.
In reality there’s no competition, there’s just different ways to go about it. I think that if we can connect and say okay if you want to do this experience to get to where you’re going here’s this, if you want to do that experience to get to where you’re going here’s that, to provide options, so that we’re all in concert with each other.
T: We definitely try to extend invites to jump on a call and talk about where we align…
To find out how we can be allies rather than competition, or how do we support your conference? We don’t see it as competition.
What do you wish people would ask you while doing this work?
A: How much money do you need?!
[Everyone bursts into laughter]
R: More generally, what kind of help do you need?
T & A: Yeah
R: Like Alphonso said, we’re moonlighting and as Tiffany said, we’re increasing in improving our acumen in this, but there are still gaps, we know this, that’s why we ask for feedback. You know last night there were a couple of people who said that they were willing to volunteer and help us out, as far as planning an ecosystem around the summit –
J: But is that something that you need?
R: Its something that we want. Even though there are nine of us, there are still things that, there’s only so much time in a day. So I think, as many or as much assistance as we can have in any capacity, like logistics, financial, maybe, marketing, stuff like that, we would accept.
A: As we get larger and servicing a larger community, its important to designate roles and even within those roles, people have help in those roles –
R: Committees –
A: As Eddie Opara shared in his lecture, there’s a lot of things we can probably take and try to apply to The Hue Collective in general. The question ‘How can I help?’ would be well-received. ‘How much money do you need?’ One is human capital and the other is financial capital.
Advice to those who wish to create spaces like The Hue Design Summit in their own local community
T: Start with just the first step. Take the first step, start small and then grow it organically, if you’re trying to do something like this, particularly. Biting off one piece at a time and just letting it grow.
R: Start it in your living room.
T: Start in your living room. In your basement.
A: That’s what we did, pretty much.
T: Start in the coffee shop. There’s no judgement zone. Don’t be afraid.
A: We started in GroupMe.
R: We started digitally, and then started in living room and then, yeah.
A: I think now, we’ve reached a point where we’re like, okay this is real. The first two years; year one was an idea, you know, you and Jacinda came through and that’s legendary status. Now year two, year three, it’s more affirmation and confirmation, so we’re excited.
To learn more about their individual work:
Most Incredible, a New York and Chicago-based creative studio aimed at celebrating and commemorating the artists and moments that continue to elevate and define hip-hop culture – through LEGO.
Yellowbird, a financial literacy platform, helping millennials understand personal finance on mobile devices.
Vows of Style , a bridal styling company to help brides find the look that elevates who they truly are.