Maurice Cherryâ€™s mother made her career aspirations for her son crystal clear: â€œShe wanted me to go to college and major in something that would make a lot of money like Dwayne Wayne on ‘A Different World,’â€ laughs Cherry. As he honored his motherâ€™s wish, breezing through the mathematics program at Morehouse College, he never strayed too far from his true passions: technology and design.
â€œMy first taste of technology was my older brotherâ€™s VTech Laser 50 computer,â€ says the Selma, Alabama native. â€œI got a book from the library on BASIC and taught myself how to program. I was doing super simple graphic design stuff in the second or third grade, creating 8-bit rockets with the letters USA on it.â€
During his freshman year at Morehouse, the tech-savvy whiz kid landed his first major client when the director of project SPACE gave Cherry a shot at designing the scholarship programâ€™s website. Nearly 15 years later, the 32-year-old Atlanta-based entrepreneur runs 3eighteen media, a small web design and consultant firm that boasts a client roster, which includes United Way, the Grady Health Foundation, the Atlanta Street Food Coalition, and a slew of other non-profits. Cherry has also been the driving force behind several startups, including the Black Weblog Awards. But itâ€™s his latest venture, Revision Pathâ€”a burgeoning stomping ground for black web designers, graphic artists, and developers to learn, share, and grow as creative professionalsâ€”that has Cherry all abuzz.
â€œThe idea crystallized when I was teaching web design at DeVry University,â€ he recalls, â€œand my students were interested in design, but didn’t know who to look to in the industry for guidance that looked like them.â€ Talking about his studentsâ€™ lack of direction calls to mind a similar toilsome journey. â€œI wish I had glowing support from friends and family who helped me along the way, but I didnâ€™t,â€ he says. â€œI helped myself. I made my own opportunities, did my own outreach, and blazed my own trail.â€
While he hopes Revision Path will open doors and pave the way for novice designers on the come up, Cherry says the site, which features new interviews each week with the best black creative design professionals, is definitely shining a spotlight on a segment of the design community often overlooked.
â€œI ask designers about their inspirations, how they got involved with the industry, their design processâ€”and I started a series called Vox Populi, which is a man-on-the-street feature where I ask a question, and people from the design community weigh in.â€
Occasionally, talk turns to diversity. And unlike other sites that walk on eggshells around the topic, Cherry tackles it head-on.