In October last year, you might have seen me promoting a new online pattern platform, called the Making Things App, across my social media profiles. It has since become clear that Making Things is not the kind of company I want to be supporting, either personally or as a brand. What follows in this post is a timeline of my interactions with them, and a copy of my letter of withdrawal as a designer on the platform. I am making these public for the sake of transparency and accountability.
To anyone who joined MT specifically to support my work, I appreciate that gesture endlessly and I apologise for the part I personally played in convincing you this was a platform worth signing up to. I apologise if you signed up in the hope of gaining access to more of my patterns. My one pattern will remain accessible on MT for another 12 weeks before it is removed. Whether you wish to end your subscription right now or keep the pattern after that 12-week period is over, please email me to request your free PDF copy, no questions asked.
You also have a right to know what I do with the money I have earned from MT so far. At the end of every month that I actually get an income, I donate to a number of anti-racism educators and other content producers whose work I believe to be valuable.
27 August: (In response to an invitation to join MT as a launch designer) Write to CEO to question the apparent lack of representation of anyone other than young white women in the few promotional images/footage available.
28 August: Receive personal assurances from CEO that "Inclusivity is at the heart of everything we do, and the driver for all the decisions we make".
October: Sign up to MT as launch designer, add one pattern, take part in launch campaign.
2 November: Write to CEO to express concern about the lack of guidance given to designers with regards to the MT launch and advertising standards, and lack of transparency.
6 November: Receive a general (i.e. addressed to all MT designers) apology for MT's lack of guidance around the launch.
6 February: Write to Designer Community Manager and CEO to question transparency of an (upcoming) advertising campaign, and also to further question the statement "inclusivity is at... decisions we make" after seeing promotional footage featuring only female, young, thin and (to my knowledge) able-bodied, neuro-typical, cis-gendered and straight designers. Ask what the company is intending to do to ensure inclusivity really is at the heart of everything.
8 February: Receive a personal video reply from Designer Community Manager containing:
assurances that transparency in MT's advertising campaigns was a given
an explanation of the promotional video being the result of who responded to a reach-out by MT (which begs the question: but who did you reach out to and, if you reached out to a diverse audience, why did such a narrow subset feel able to respond to you)
assurances that MT were having internal conversations about how to best use that content, alongside a general awareness in the team that this was long-term "work that has to be done every single day"
request to allow MT to continue to "do the work" and create new content around its core values
At this point I stopped engaging with the company. I was invited to discuss the points in my 6 Feb email further in a video call, but due to us being in very different time zones we were unable to find a time where we were all actually awake and working. I didn't think it would be fruitful to carry on trying to get my point across in emails, having been told this was not the preferred method of communication. I spent the next month or so pondering how to go forward, but did not prioritise it over other work and personal commitments.
During the weekend of 16-17 March I learned that many other designers as well as customers had attempted to raise similar concerns with MT, and felt equally unsatisfied with the response. Further, BIPoC designers on the platform made it clear they had been made to feel unwelcome and unsafe.
Both as a result of my own dissatisfaction with the company and as a demonstration of my solidarity with former MT BIPoC designers, I have decided to withdraw from the MT platform. Detailed reasons can be found in my letter to the MT CEO below.