By Nicole Gennarelli
Ken Visocky O’Grady, and wife Jenn, used their experience and knowledge about the design industry to start Parse, a website that aims to make sense of issues and information relevant to design practitioners.
Ken and Jenn, both Ohio natives, graduated from Kent State University with an undergraduate and graduate degree in visual communication design. Ken is an Associate Professor at Kent State University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in VCD. Jenn is Chair of the Art Department and an Associate Professor at Cleveland State University.
According to Parse’s website it “aims to make sense of issues and information relevant to design practitioners, regardless of the disciplines they work in. Parse makes big ideas useful, actionable and applicable. It distills jargon, reduces complexity, pares words, omits gobbledygook. It’s open-source, approachable and friendly.”
“There’s a lot of great stuff being written about design research and design thinking today,” Ken said. “However, that content is lengthy and written in a way that is not directly applicable for professionals. We created a platform where the information is broken down into 500 word posts that professionals can read quickly and easily.”
Parse started off as a source for just designers, but has evolved and has many business professionals reading the content, said Ken.
“The concepts addressed on Parse could be applied to anyone in a small business,” he said. “We felt that there were a lot of people talking about design research, but the information only got out to a small handful of people. There were a lot of the same old voices talking about the same old things. Parse is platform for new, innovative voices.”
Not only did Ken and his wife start Parse, but they also founded Enspace in 1988, a company that offers many services from advertising to production management.
“We thought in order to engage in national dialogue, national conferences and write for industry publishers about design we needed to have professional experience to do so,” Ken said. “We eventually brought in business partners, our graduate school friends from Kent State, and gave the business over to them. Enspace was a stressful experience, but one of the most rewarding. We learned a lot from our mistakes.”
Nicole is a senior public relations major and a marketing assistant for the College of Communication and Information.