“On Air” is an internally produced series of staff interviews that showcase the talent and personalities of the people who keep Clickspring ticking. Our debut installment features a conversation between Design Director Kendra James and Designer Donna Lee. Kendra joined Clickspring in 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Master of Architecture from Pratt Institute, while Donna hails from Devonport, New Zealand, holds both a Bachelor of Architectural Studies and a Master of Architecture from The University of Auckland, and is the newest designer to join the Clickspring ranks.
We join our heroes on a warm June day at Clickspring HQ in Manhattan, where they sit adjacent to one another.
Kendra James: Okay, let’s go.
Donna Lee: (in Kiwi accent) Mate, ready.
KJ: So, Donna, what was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you watch it?
DL: Okay, hold on. I’m just getting a little stage fright right now…wait don’t write that. (laughs) Ever since I arrived in New York about eight months ago people have been telling me to watch Broad City. I just wanted to try it out and ended up watching three episodes. So good.
KJ: I love that show! Wow, so you’ve been in the city for eight months now! Awe, you’re still so fresh. What has been your biggest NYC challenge since moving from New Zealand?
DL: (sighs) There have been a few. Two things that pop into my head right now… One, people don’t understand me through my accent. I’m trying to sound more American but I still have to repeat myself a lot. Second thing, the product packaging here! Why do you have to package every little item up? And I don’t understand double bagging. It shocked me that the cashier was shocked when I asked for a single bag.
KJ: (chortles) Right… when you attempt to use your American accent on me I get even more confused but I think your American accent is way better than my Kiwi accent.
DL: (laughs) You sound like… I don’t even know where, what, how, why. You just merge and Australian and British accent and it sounds bonkers. But girl, I love you anyway.
KJ: Okay, now you ask me a question.
DL: So, you’re a creative person. How do you get unstuck creatively?
KJ: I shake it off, literally.
DL: Yeah, I know. Like when you do your spontaneous one minute dance parties…by yourself.
KJ: (laughs) Exactly…I feel like you already knew the answer to that question. But yeah, I have to move both physically and mentally. Sometimes I can focus too hard which can be detrimental to my design process. Think about the Powers of Ten by Ray and Charles Eames meets a gyroscope.
DL: Oh, we’re getting serious now. What does that mean?
KJ: Scale and perspective. It’s important for me to look at things from all the POVs I can imagine. I attempt to apply that to my design process, as well as my life in general.
DL: What do you think about on your commute?
KJ: My favorite part of what we do here at Clickspring and design in general is the storytelling. So during my commute I like to put in my headphones and zone out while listening to podcasts. I have about ten shows on my regular rotation.
DL: What kind of things do you listen to? Give me your favorites.
DL: Okay, your turn.
KJ: Alright, I’ve been saving this one. This is more of a challenge than a question. I know how you like to be challenged. (Clears throat dramatically) Donna, please explain “Clickspring Orange” to a blind person.
DL: (covers eyes with hands) It’s warm…super bright… It’s a happy color… It tastes like orange. Okay, same question to you.
KJ: (laughs) Fair. I’ll expand on what you said. This particular orange is like…pointing your face directly at the sun at high noon on a summer’s day while peeling an actual orange as you sprawl out in the grass at a park while a breeze rustles the leaves in the distance: warm, invigorating, and refreshing.
DL: Oh my…
KJ: Right? It’s like that.