The Douglas Firs have lately begun a project of design thinking inspired by the work of contemporary artist Mark Bradford. The Los Angeles-based painter and muralist has gained international acclaim for his creations, which tend to focus on abstract incorporations of maps that comment on complex social issues. In particular, he aims to bring attention to marginalized demographics that are too often underrepresented or overlooked. Bradford is famous for a layering effect used to create his own canvases, often out of several layers of paper from which he then etches maps or other designs. As a result, his work affords different glimpses of its subject matter from different vantage points, whether from the wide-scale perspective of absorbing a large painting from a distance, or even right-up close where the different layers of the canvas reveal their own unique textures and interconnections. To mimic the concept, the 5-6 students each created a map of somewhere important to them, individually. They glued strings onto the lines of the maps, leaving the ends dangling beyond the borders of their canvas. Then, they set about adding layers, gluing bits of paper and assorted material over the string, and thereby creating a collage of concepts they wanted to associate with their map. Options for their layers included old homework assignments, snack wrappers, old artwork, wrapping paper, and letters, as well as magazine clippings and bits of paper that the students colored for themselves. The photographed versions therefore represent concepts that are midway in the larger process. Once their layers are set, the students will carefully pull up the strings as a means of etching; the strings will remove the top layers according to the maps underneath, and the various layers will provide depth and texture that lend further commentary to their original concepts. Each student used at least six layers of paper in their design, adding extra string in some instances where they saw the need to alter their maps. Their finished products will flesh out a broader unit centered on African American artists, including Jacob Lawrence and the Gee’s Bend quilters.