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The Incredibly Talented Black Creative We're Celebrating this Month is:

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Kia Dolby

Tell us about you?

My name is Kia Dolby. I am a designer, artist and design educator. I am originally from Charlotte NC, but have been living and working in Atlanta for 20 + years. My background in design is versatile and includes print, web, product design and lots of marketing and communications work. Early in my career I had the opportunity to take a position in web design at IBM. That was invaluable to me because I learned principles of web design early on and that later led to me switching my career focus to digital communications and marketing. I spent about 7 years working for a manufacturing company in the arts and crafts industry, starting as a designer and then taking a communications role. Through this experience, I was able to understand the life cycle of product development, sourcing and trend forecasting. Using this experience and my skills as a digital marketer, I was able to start a line of stationery and home goods that I designed and produced for a few years. My current focus is teaching design and communications as well as producing digital illustrative work.

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Gallery. Click to explore detail.

What are some of your favorite tools or applications you use, or can do without?

I love Adobe Illustrator but have been playing around with Procreate more and more. I have also enjoyed working in After Effects. For project management, I currently use Asana.

What type of of work do you most enjoy?

After ten years of teaching part time, I recently started my first full time teaching job at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). I love it for many reasons - but most of all because I get to apply ALL my varied experience as a professor of Digital Communication. My current work has been a return to my love of illustrative design. I have creating art that centers around things I love and am influenced by including themes around beauty, afrofuturism, hip hop and the world around me like found signage and street art. I’m also focused on writing about the creative process and navigating the challenges and opportunities of being a multi-passionate creative. One of my goals is to write a book on this topic.

Which project left the biggest impact on you as a designer/creative?

I have a passion for entrepreneurship, and I am the founder of The Happy Solopreneur, where I create and facilitate courses on small business ownership, creativity, and business/life balance. I’ve experienced many of the joys and challenges of building a profitable creative business. I started The Happy Solopreneur project to inspire and help others on the journey of self-employment and side business endeavors. I love working with nonprofit and cause driven organizations. Currently I do design and communications support work for an organization called Career Girls. I love their mission and happy to be part of their team.

What advice do you have for younger or less experienced AA/BLK designers?

Be prepared for change. Be open to the fact that the way you work in the future will likely be very different than how you currently work. We all know this in practice, but it’s easy to become resistant to change when you have developed a certain way of working. Change can seem to happen quickly but most of the time there are conversations happening (inside and outside the world of design) regarding technology, industry shifts and economic factors that we all have to stay tuned into.

What would you say is the best way to take advantage of the AAGD Network?

It has been great connecting with other folks from the AAGD community. I enjoyed meeting folks in real life at the recent State of Black Design Conference. Everyone that I have personally reached out to has been warm and inviting so I encourage everyone to just say hi to anyone they want to connect with.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in what you do?

Don't let anyone (or yourself) box you into thinking careers are linear or you can't try new things.

If you had a special message written on your wrist, what would it be?

GRILLS

Kia Dolby,
where can we find you?

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