San Francisco designer Michie Cao was facing a bit of a dilemma in her undergrad architectural studies. As a decidedly visual learner she struggled to take in the encyclopedic knowledge often required of students in this challenging field. She was inspired by this difficulty to create her own set of iconic flash cards. The cards featured minimal, stripped down diagrams of the most prominent designs in the industry. This visual experiment not only helped improve her grades, it also helped steer and solidify her career path as an artist.
Michie eventually transitioned into visual and interaction design, and in grad school she faced another challenge - this time she had to develop a design product and earn at least $1000 from it. She realized that her flash cards were the perfect product, called them "Archigrams" and quickly built an online business. It's a great case study of how scratching an itch often creates profitable solutions, and even entire industries. Never underestimate the power of a good and much-needed idea!