Spreading design thinking by illuminating the people and processes involved in design.
Ambidextrous was the magazine of the Stanford d.school and aimed at the cross-disciplinary, cross-market community of people with an academic, professional, and personal interest in design. We aimed to bring together the wider design community in the Bay Area and beyond. It was written and staffed by an all-volunteer collective. Contributors included Don Norman, Bill Moggridge, Ellen Lupton, Paola Antonelli, and Stefan Sagmeister. A quarterly print publication, we released 12 issues after it was first started in 2008 and had over 200 subscribers.
I started working on Ambidextrous as an undergraduate at Stanford just getting into product design. I had been interested in journalism for several years, having worked as a news editor and staff writer at The Stanford Daily, an editor at my high school paper, and a contributor to my local paper. But Ambidextrous was the first publication where I was deeply invested in the content and the community it served, not just the storytelling aspect.
I led the magazine as an editor-in-chief for two years. One of the most fulfilling parts of the role for me was helping our contributors tell their stories. I usually worked directly with any where from five to ten each issue to help them conceive and edit their stories. It was a collaborative writing process due to our mission. Most of our contributors were design practitioners and academic researchers. They were unaccustomed to writing short, pithy magazine articles for a general audience, but they also had rich stories to tell about product development and failures, process and methods, and issues facing designers today. Since the magazine, I’ve used my collaborative editing style to help write two books.
I eventually touched all parts of production, from designing and executing layout in Adobe InDesign to directing and modeling in photoshoots to staffing and making marketing materials for events. I also recruited almost every friend I had to help at one time or another. As editor-in-chief, I relished the challenge of managing our ten-person staff and keeping us focused. Though the magazine has since closed, I continue to have a lot of pride in the quality and authenticity of the stories we shared.