I’m originally from rural Virginia (we’re talking more cows than people and no internet access kind of rural), but I’ve been living in San Francisco for the past five years.
Where I grew up 💌 👇
My beautiful city ☀️ 👇
I went to school to become a graphic designer, where I was lucky enough to be surrounded by some kick butt classmates and professors. Though we studied a little bit of everything in our long studio sessions—everything from analyzing the color red to identifying typefaces solely on their “q’s”—my exposure to web design and UX was minimal. I work at a design agency now and my team focuses primarily on visual design and branding; but over the past couple of years I’ve found myself on more and more product design projects....feeling all kinds of lost. I’m all about learning by doing, but the world of UX/UI is so complex that I decided I should officially learn the witchcraft and bring the skills back to my team. I’m stoked to venture into this new world and merge what I learn with my graphic design background.
I enrolled in the UX/UI bootcamp because I was hoping to graduate from sourcing all my knowledge via Google. I’ve always firmly believed in the concept of design as a problem solving tool, and the processes and research involved in UX really fascinates me. I was lucky that one of my design directors followed Zander on Instagram and recommended the course to me! I’m excited to add another tool to my toolkit and hopefully be able to make the process from UX to visual design at my agency even more collaborative.
It’s like an espresso for your brain. It’s truly unlike any educational experience I’ve ever had, and I absolutely love it! The hours fly by and Zander is so full of tips and tricks that I can hardly fill sketchbooks ~supa fast~ enough. It’s such an interactive and collaborative environment, which is perfect for me because I’m a big learn by doing kind of gal. I was worried about taking a class virtually as it can be hard to feel engaged over a computer screen, but Zander handles it like a pro.
My favorite part (besides being introduced to Notion...hello, where has this app been all my life?!) is definitely learning alongside students from all over the world, representing all kinds of career backgrounds. It’s so refreshing and inspiring to hear perspectives from people that have lived lives so different from mine, working in fields I’ve never experienced. I think it’s so important to always be seeking out opportunities like these.
As a graphic designer, I’m so used to having the UX completed for me, and I just have to focus on what comes next. Since I’ve started class, I’ve found myself daydreaming about color palettes or layout options when I should be focusing on user research or synthesizing. It’s been a challenging and interesting change of pace for my thought process!
Class for me falls right at the beginning of the work day on the west coast, so I get ready for class with some freshly made pour-over coffee and my daily news briefings (and a mini crossword or two). I settle in for class at my desk and make sure I have all my sketchbook materials within easy reach—I was always a doodler in school growing up; I’ve found I can process and retain information much better when I’m able to write and sketch about it in the moment. After class, I take a quick brain break to eat a late breakfast (best meal of the day) before I switch right into work mode for my job.
I spend the rest of the business day in meetings, slacking with coworkers, and crossing off items on my weekly project to-do list. Every day looks different depending on my project load, and I love that some days I’m working on logo options for a pet company and some days I’m crafting website experiences for a Silicon Valley tech titan. Agency life is fast paced and always changing, which keeps me on my toes. Once the work day is wrapped up, I refocus on class and make sure all my Notion boxes are checked, as well as surf some UX/UI blogs and bookmark my favorites for future inspiration. My evenings are all about cooking a good meal, time with family and friends, a long run, and hopefully catching one of SF’s beautiful sunsets.
Mug ☕️ and wall art courtesy of Timothy Goodman, sunset 🌅 from my rooftop, and a run 🏃♀️ along Fort Mason👇
My roommate and I share a long desk in our apartment’s front room, where we’re lucky enough to have beautiful bay windows that overlook the San Francisco Bay. Some things you can always find on my desk are: my Wacom tablet, multiple sketchbooks, my great grandmother’s sewing box full of Sharpies and pens, and a weekly planner to keep organized (and normally several beverages including water and coffee).
Adobe Illustrator, Figma, Dribbble, and Muzli are my design squad. Illustrator is the most common tool I use for logo creation, illustrating, and more. Figma is the chef’s kiss of product design tools, and I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of my client work without it. Dribbble is my go-to inspiration site; it’s like Pinterest for design nerds and I often surf the pages when I need some fresh perspective. Muzli is dubbed “designer’s secret source,” and that couldn’t be more true. It curates design inspiration from across the web and delivers it straight to your desktop browser anytime you open a new window. I love that it shows me apps, brands, and companies that I would have never seen without it.
My ride-or-die’s ✏️ 👇
I stumbled upon Paper because of a Muzli feature, and I can’t get enough of it. One of the parts of design I enjoy the most is illustrating, and Paper makes it SO fun and easy. The app is super intuitive and interactive (the sketchbook interactions feel super tactile and satisfying) and I love that the language of the product encourages you to work quickly and confidently. I can often get caught up in making even my sketches “perfect,” but this app makes me just want to have a good time with the process. I also am obsessed with the collaging/moodboarding portion of the app—who doesn’t love a good moodboard?
If you haven’t checked out Paper...do it 📔 👇
I am a BIG into tunes while designing; I can always get into the zone better when I have something blaring in the background. My music taste is really across the board—the playlists I bounce between the most are jazz (full of Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald), hits from my dad’s favorite bands (Echo & the Bunnymen, The Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode), and a very eclectic mix of favorites, often fueled by my sister’s recommendations (permanent features including Mac Miller, Cannons and Rainbow Kitten Surprise).
Here’s my PSA that jazz deserves to be a part of your musical rotation 🎶 👇