Creating connection through shared experiences.
According to Esther Perel, "The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives."
So, of course, when I heard my partner talk about how important his relationships with his community are, I wanted to shine the light on the important role he plays in keeping his community together. I wanted to facilitate him feeling loved even in moments when he wasn't sharing physical space with his community.
I knew I could do this by creating something that acts as a reminder for him when they're not around.
That's why I designed a card game for him.
The most important thing to understand was how Ramsey feels loved by others i.e his love languages. Based on my observation, he values Words of Affirmation and Quality Time as the primary ways to receive love.
Next, I wanted to understand what are some ideas in his mind that I could have his community validate. I made a list of things that mean a lot to him such as being a supportive friend, a leader, and caretaker. Ramsey also loves sharing memories and reminiscing about how his story is intertwined with the stories of the people he loves.
Lastly, I wanted to understand how much personalisation would mean to him. He curates his aesthetic and values being recognised for it. As someone who lives with immense intentionality, it only made sense to create a personalised solution.
So Ramsey could see himself the way his loved ones see him.
As a way to remind Ramsey of all the different memories he's made.
To showcase him through images/ symbols that make Ramsey feel seen.
The best way to address Ramsey's problem seemed like having written proof for when he feels that way. My first idea was to have everyone sign a card but …people often don’t deeply think about what they write in a card. I needed people to think about their experience of Ramsey in a structured way so they could deliver a message that helps him.
So, for his birthday, I threw a party and invited everyone he knew to reinforce that he was, in fact, loved beyond measure fulfilling the Quality Time love language. And then I decided to create a card game as a part of my solution for providing him with Words of Affirmation.
I started off by listing the most important things to validate like his emotional intelligence, his ability to support people through a hard time, reminders of shared memories.
I then turned each of these into prompts that people can respond to. The first prompts were kind of scrappy but as I refined the writing, I recognized there was a pattern. I was asking his friends to write about ‘something’ they experienced with him. I decided to call the card game Something about Ramsey.
For instance, ‘Something Ramsey said to you when you needed to hear it’. This one shows that he understands the emotional context of a situation and is able to give sound advice that was remembered, helpful, and felt.
I had to figure out how they would give him this information. I decided that it would be notes for him on cards with prompts that I can design + illustrate. I created illustrated icons to represent things he likes or resonates with. I’d like to think they were pretty cute.
I wrote the rules to Something About Ramsey to introduce the game at his birthday party. Here's how to play:
Everyone in the room gets a card. Once you have your card you can do one of 2 things:
Keep the card or trade the card (I established a trading station in the room to keep chaos out of food’s way).
After everyone has the card that they're happy with, they grab a pen, and fill in the card. This is anonymous to keep the response as honest as possible.
Once everyone had written in the cards, they can place the cards either in a 'Read M Now' pile or 'Read Me Later' pile. The
This group loves board games and they also grew up trading Pokemon cards. I knew that would work.I wrote the rules for Something about Ramsey.
I created an illustration (grid?) and designed the cards on Canva.
1. Asking for help is key to successful projects. Having taken on a workload far heavier than ever before, I was challenged in balancing timelines and client relationships. I was lucky to be have access to a community of designers I built with 2 others on Clubhouse. This community was uplifting, and very helpful in sharing tips about workflows.
2. Boundaries are important especially when you're empathising. Getting to know Alyson on a personal level was both rewarding and challenging. When you know someone well, setting boundaries can sometimes become difficult because you want what's best for them. However, in a business relationship, it's so important to honour your own time and energy since everything depends on your ability to manage yourself first.
3. Scope creep is REAL. With large projects such as this one, things can quickly add up if the contracts aren't tight, the right questions aren't asked and strict guidlines aren't set. Lots of notes were taken.