Eli Rousso: Issue 0001

Hello World

Why did you create Primitive?

Embarking on a mission to create the next generation design school: http://primitive.school/

  1. I want to learn. I’ve been designing logos, websites, and apps for over 10 years and I want to do something out of my comfort zone. I want something challenging. Teaching is very difficult and I want to give it a shot. I also want to push myself to code every day; teaching is a great way to force that.

  2. I want to experiment with creating digital assets. I’ve worked in professional services for years, both through running design studios and freelancing; I now want to create my own products.

  3. I want to create the next generation of design school. I didn’t go to school for HCI or graphic design. I learned everything from websites, YouTube, and a few books. I didn’t go to school for computer science, either. I taught myself code through online courses. The Internet taught me how to design and code, and that knowledge led me to my career. I know this is the way we will all learn in the future. I want Primitive to be at the forefront of that movement for design education.

    I believe that if you know…

    • Just enough design

    • Just enough code

    • Just enough strategy

      ...you can create anything.

How do courses work on Primitive?

What distinguishes Primitive from others is its emphasis on “code as a design tool.” Primitive teaches topics that designers want to learn first; instead of starting with programming basics like variables vs constants, Primitive dives into typography and layout— the topics that designers want to learn more about first. For now, Primitive uses materials like video tutorials and web guides to allow members to learn at their own pace.

When is Primitive Launching?

I’m starting to test Primitive’s SwiftUI for Designers course with a few testers this week. Please let me know if you’d like to play around with it (eli.rousso@gmail.com). The course is made up of 3 sections and the official launch of Section 1 is on schedule for early July.

What I’ve Learned So Far

  • Teaching is very, very difficult. I’ve found that just recording my screen and hoping for the best is the not the best approach. Every lesson requires meticulous planning and preparation for the best results.

  • Getting good audio in my apartment is also very difficult. I’ve learned a ton about audio equipment and microphones, especially the differences between condenser and dynamic mics. I’ve spent hours learning about acoustics and sound dampening. I landed on a Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone but found the Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone to be more than enough for knocking out car and bird noises outside while retaining great vocals. I spent a lot of time and money here because “sound is half the picture.”—George Lucas

  • Screenflow is a really great tool for capturing screen sessions and has all the bells and whistles for add keyboarding and mouse-click-effects to your video. It also has some nice audio effects.

  • Listening to recordings of yourself is more than jarring; it’s painful. Some people hate the sound of their own voice. I didn’t have this reaction, but what stood out was the number of “ums” and “ahs” in my speech. I’m using an app called Speeko to improve my public speaking for Primitive.


I’m also thinking about experimenting with live design sessions and critiques with Primitive members. Let me know if this sounds interesting.


Lately, I’ve been focusing on productivity and habits—increasing my reading, journaling, and code practice. I’ve been using my routine template in Notion and started using a todo list and calendar to block out my days. Over the past week, I’ve felt more productive when using these tools vs not.


  • This week I quickly sped through Eat That Frog! - really great if you suffer from procrastination. The key point of this book is to prioritize your work and tasks based on agony; get the most painful task done first, or “eat that frog.”

  • I’m also reading The Power of Habit and I’m really enjoying the case studies in in it. Atomic Habits will be a quick follow after getting many suggestions.

Ask Me Anything on Rep.ly

That’s it

Thanks for reading this first issue.
See you next week.