Interview with Renee Heath, Made of Lionesses, United States

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Renee Heath

Renee's work allows her to use her creativity to capture the hearts and minds of people by constantly innovating with experiential and UX design.

Interview with the 2020 Vega Digital Awards Winner - Renee Heath

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your background.

Business, the arts & charity are the driving forces behind all of Renee’s endeavors, as she continuously explores new ways to create the best experiences on the planet.

During her undergraduate studies, she was a DJ at WRSU 88.7FM, interned at MTV News & KWOD 106.5FM, and wrote music reviews for The Daily Targum. Her Master’s dissertation examined the effectiveness of using emotive music within cause-related news stories to increase audience retention and their willingness to donate/volunteer to a particular cause.

Renee has a unique work background which couples marketing and Design Thinking, in order to help clients reach their audiences in the most authentic way possible. She thrived within digital for over a decade in both the US and the UK. Renee worked music festivals across the country to drive footfall traffic to art activations via digital and onsite drove user generated content back online. She trained in human-centered design with the LUMA Institute and has a facilitation certification from MIT in Design Thinking.

Renee also volunteers with the BecomingX Foundation, an organization that aims to help people explore their untapped potential within. She helps manage their scholarship program which funds budding entrepreneurs and artists from underserved communities around the world.

Renee’s educational, professional and personal work has allowed her to lay the foundation necessary to create bold and dynamic experiences through Made of Lionesses® .

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a digital designer/artist?

To help people connect more. To aid people in sharing their ideas and dreams in different designs and mediums was a natural creative calling.

3What’s your favorite kind of digital design and why?

Experiential and UX design are my favorite. Figuring out how to capture the hearts and minds of people while online and also in-person using digital products is a passion. I enjoy the research aspect, getting to interview and learning about people is fascinating, where I use my sociology degree.

4To you, what makes a “good” design?

I really enjoy innovation, but not for innovation sake, innovation for better aesthetic or to make a product more honest. Innovation allows products to be more useful, longer lasting and eco-friendly.

5Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

Personally, I’m extremely eclectic. I love the high energy and spirit the style brings as I get explore different directions. But when it comes to my clients, that’s for us to work together to decide what is best for their visual destination.

6Tell us about your design process.

I enjoy redefining the problem upfront to make sure we’re using design to solve for the right issue/opportunity. I then learn more about the users, putting people at the center (look into personas, use cases, customer journeys…). Next my favorite part, ideation! I enjoy using design thinking methods for idea generation (post-it’s anyone?). Once we narrow ideas to a concept, can either create prototype, minimum viable product or full on production. Once built and tested, the marketing fun beings to create awareness before gather data to optimize.

7Where do you draw inspiration from?

I draw my inspiration from nature, other creatives, and my inner feelings.

8What current trends in digital design (or really anything digital related) are you most excited about?

Socially conscious design and elements of nature.

9Congratulations! As the winner of the 2020 Vega Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

We’re so proud that we are winners because it means even more exposure for the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation. I really appreciate the award as it shows others that you can achieve your goals while doing social good.

10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2020 Vega Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

The objective of Living Lyrics was to give a taste of what it’s like to step inside song lyrics while fulfilling its philanthropic mission for Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation, which benefits USMC Vets and at-risk youth via ocean therapy. We couldn’t be prouder to help individuals coping with mental and physical illnesses by raising as much money as possible for their adaptive surfing program with the Living Lyrics initiative. Part of the purpose was also to honor the relationship between bands and their fans by bringing Third Eye Blind’s music to life in a new way via an experiential art installation. How could I make the fans feel music in a new way? How could I bring to life the chemistry between the band and the audience? How could I capitalize on the magnetism that draws the two together to generate donations?

11What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The beauty of this music video is that it wouldn’t exist without perseverance through COVID-19. Living Lyrics was originally built to be in-person at a Third Eye Blind concert in March ‘20, then June ‘20. But with the show cancelled due to the pandemic, we still wanted to raise as much money as possible for the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation. So, in May we brought it to life in our backyard and filmed it to be able to share the video online and to enter awards to inspire donations.

12How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

Gives you more confidence to attack even bigger and bolder projects going forward!

13What are your top three (3) favorite things about the digital industry?

It’s always changing, evolving. Allows you to work in a global manner with teams from around the world. Endless possibilities.

14What makes your country specifically, unique in the digital industry?

Silicon Valley tech, New York Creative Agencies, and the diversity of our people.

15Where do you see the evolution of digital industry going over the next 5-10 years?

Increased protection of people’s information and privacy, more social connectivity/bringing more people together for a common purpose, healthier living/digital use for better mental and physical health.

16If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring Vega Award submitter, what advice would you give them?

Connect with as many people as possible, be kind, practice continual learning/personal improvement.

17What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?

Join a digital community or get involved in a network.

18Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

I’ve always wanted to get a new word into the dictionary.

19Who has inspired you in your life and why?

Those who fight for equality in the workplace because it creates an inclusive work environment where people can feel secure and happy. It also allows for diversity of thought, which always generates better design.

20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Surround yourself with people who see the world as it should be, then hold on and the rest is so simple.

21Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

Define what success is for you, and no one else.

Winning Entries

Living Lyrics: An Experiential Art Installation | 2020

Living Lyrics: An Experiential Art Installation | Vega Digital Awards

The objective of Living Lyrics was to give a taste of what it’s like to step inside song lyrics while fulfilling its philanthropic mission for...
(read more at Vega Digital Awards)

Made of Lionesses

Made of Lionesses specializes in experiential Art Installations, Innovative Marketing & PR and Design Thinking Workshops.