By Bobby Richter - April 11, 2016

Back in march, I sat down with Ricardo Vazquez to talk about his passion for practicing design in the open. Before our interview, I caught him noodling with a guitar while I did a sound-check and encouraged him to play more. With talent and grace characteristic of Ricardo, he switched into performance-mode, and gave us a great intro.

The "Burden of Design"

Many teams within Mozilla rely on the creativity and skill of the design team Ricardo belongs to. For years, they've honed their craft, not just creating world-class designs, but intently listening to the people that require their expertise. However, Ricardo belongs to a school of thought that advocates for giving agency to content creators wherever possible, and their most recent endeavor is a Content Management System done within the modern, open, empathetic style of Mozilla's design team.

We can't always predict when new content can come out and the immediacy of that and the context in which it will be shared.

Ricardo talks lovingly about not removing himself from the equation of design and content creation, but providing a space for anybody to be empowered by the thoughtful work of his team.

Designing in the Open

Ricardo takes openness to heart, and, inspired by other projects, tries to put himself in front of a community of designers—professional, aspiring, or otherwise.

The practice of design as a whole is shaded in secrecy.

Because design is not able to be seen by everyone in its true collaborative nature, aspiring designers have scarce resources to learn and improve upon their craft. Ricardo has created a live stream YouTube series called Hour of Design. Through this medium, he has been able to share his passion and personality to the whole world.

Removing the Training Wheels

A beautiful aspect in design is to support the work behind meaningful intent. Towards the end of my conversation with Ricardo, we spoke about the moments that mark the shift from a novice designer into a more experienced and thoughtful maker.

The important thing in the Hour of Design was to verbalize decisions and verbalize intentions.

Ricardo mentions that the shift from Craft into Analysis can always be made by asking a simple question: “Why?” Ricardo walks us through the first time he stepped into, and stumbled, through this question. Answering the Why allowed him to be able to verbalize his intent, and move towards a selfless human-centred design approach.

See what Ricardo is up to on Twitter, YouTube, and Github.

Special thanks to Mozilla Foundation's design team for their rad depictions of Ricardo.

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