A Strength Based Perspective of ADHD
I caught the name Gigi when it wasn’t trendy, I hated it, but it stuck, and now I’m grateful it did.
I do believe that passion makes moves in a career path, I’ve got passion and cannot wait to build on my career. Some of my personal passions include editorial style marketing and publication design. Vogue was my first love, specifically the editor’s note and job descriptions on the first page. I also believe design to be the orchestrator of the modern world, hence my choice to follow paths that could push my creative boundaries. I love to learn on jobs, it is when I do my best work. Creating a publication as the final project of my degree created a safe space to learn more about myself as a designer and creative, while also offering my design practice a chance to curate my old and newfound knowledge into a passion fuelled, visual documentation of my professional and personal journey as an ADHD designer.
The implications of neurodiversity are not slept upon, in fact, we often hear about designers and creatives with dyslexia and/or autism. But are the positive attributes of those with ADHD overlooked? Where do we fit in the realm of design? Neurological difference is a fundamental part of creative communities.
The inspiration behind this publication originally grew from the exhaustion of masking ADHD tendencies in my academic and work life. There was a clear split between my pride in the disorder at home and with friends, and the anxiety I felt when handing in work or starting a new job in case my disorder had slipped through said mask. As a graduating design student diagnosed with ADHD, I feel a strong motivation to ensure these fundamental parts make their way into mainstream society empowered rather than shamed. My intended audience was addressed directly within my publication, via four personalised letters titled; Dear Parents & Teachers, Dear Society, Dear Future Employer, and Dear Myself.
‘10 Things I Love About You’ documents relevant research and stories of ADHD, while also acting as my own, refined, diary. Inspired by the visual form of a ‘coffee table book’, my personal experiences and opinions are narrated though all of my own illustrations, imagery, and text. The publication highlights a strength-based perspective of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. I knew that if the title of my book was to be ‘10 Things I Love About You’, I had to include the word ‘hate’, though crossed out by ‘love’. This decision was due to my intention to challenge the symptoms of ADHD we may not like, or are stereotyped as negative, and instead reflect them in a positive light.
Besides, an entire world striving for perfection is utterly uninteresting.
Having a fun, conversational tone throughout the project was also very important to convey the chatty, crazy, excitable behaviour ADHD individuals are often known to exhibit. While this was communicated via my written text, I chose to reflect my ‘continually distracted’ mind state through my design decisions on the use of colour, texture, layout, and dynamic layouts of text and imagery. This meant letting go of many of my self-trained creative restraints and indulging in my terrible working memory, by carrying out all the design decisions I could effectively execute before I became preoccupied with the next. Letting go of these limitations formed to protect my work from ADHD symptoms, and instead allowing them to carry my work, welcomed an aura of beautiful chaos into my usual highly organized design process.
This project concludes fifteen years of education, reflecting a full circle of personal reflection and realisation. I believe that there was no better way I could represent who I am and what I have learnt over those years, than curating a final project about the very mountains I have been silently overcoming.