Using an Entrepreneurial Mindset to Design Your Dream Career


Creative Cloud

Many designers have made the leap from employee to employer, often taking the side hustle highway along the way. We spoke with two designers who are no longer designing just products, but also a culture, a company and a future for themselves and the people they now employ.

Both Josh Zac of Turtle Inc. and Mona Patel of Motivate Design are experience designers turned entrepreneurs. They took time to answer our questions about how having an entrepreneurial mindset gave them the courage to take a big risk and successfully branch out on their own. In both cases, it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t even necessarily their end game. But as they worked their way through their careers and experimented with entrepreneurial projects on the side, they eventually found themselves fully bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.

Below they share some of the advantages and challenges that having a background in design presented to them as entrepreneurs. Here’s how you can use their early lessons to begin creating a career of your own design.

Josh Zak, Experience Designer (UX/UI), Partner at Turtle Inc.

Why did you decide to launch your own business? 

My business partner and I met as young designers working for a large digital agency. We soon began working on business ideas on the side as a way to learn and test our ideas. After years of experimenting with side projects we decided to commit to running Turtle Design full-time.

How did your background as a designer help you as an entrepreneur?

As a designer, I could create and validate ideas for very minimal costs. Where non-designers may have needed investment funds the only cost to me was my time. Working at agencies helped me build a strong network of developers, strategists, and advisors that I could collaborate with in business.

Did your background as a designer present any challenges? 

Yes, there are a few challenges. One of them is I found it difficult to delegate work as my default is to always do it myself. This is fine as a freelancer, but isn’t ideal for building a business that can scale.

What did you do to overcome them?

I think of the structure and operations of our business as the ultimate design project. I try to focus on the parts of our business where I can have the greatest impact, and empower others to lead in other areas.

What was an early lesson you received as an entrepreneur?

I made the common mistake of not validating my ideas before fully creating them. I was comfortable with testing designs with users, but I didn’t know much about validating business ideas. Looking back, I could have saved myself a lot of time by testing early and not designing features no one wanted.

What advice do you have for other designers who are thinking about starting their own business? 

  • Start by working for an established design company, for a few years, to build up the skills and connections you will need for your business.
  • Build relationships with people from various disciplines. Not just other designers.
  • Have side projects to test your ideas and grow in areas of interest. Even if your idea doesn’t succeed as a business it will help your portfolio stand out from the crowd.
  • Choose an area to specialize, and learn how to craft your positioning statement. As an expert, you will be able to create more value for your clients and make more money.
  • Validate your business ideas and don’t be afraid to make the leap when you find the right one to pursue.

 

Mona Patel, CEO of Motivate Design and author of Reframe

Why did you decide to launch your own business?

I actually never decided to launch it. I started freelancing and the work led to more work. Before I knew it, I needed people on the team to handle everything from accounting to some detail level design and research work. I was so inspired by the people I’ve met I felt compelled to start a business to give them a place where they could thrive (and drive).

How did your background as a designer help you as an entrepreneur?

Designers are all about solving problems. Period. To me it goes hand-in-hand with being an entrepreneur because really, I’m just designing a company versus an interface. Everything from HR to onboarding to client experience all gets designed at this company. That means we’re constantly asking each other what works, what doesn’t work, and where we need to innovate. Design also allows us to iterate. The company is constantly evolving and we’re making sure that we stay in tune with what both our employees and clients need.

Did your background as a designer present any challenges? What did you do to overcome them?

The only one I can think of is that sometimes designers like to get into the zone and really hone in on what they’re designing. Headphones are on and we’re focused on creating. In terms of my current role as CEO, it feels (in a good way) like I’m always interacting with and serving other people. There are a lot of meetings and networking events, and unless I block it off, I don’t have time to think deeply I like I did when I was a designer. Now I do block hours per day, a day per week and a week per quarter to do just that, but when I wasn’t blocking off time, it was a challenge for me.

What was an early lesson you received as an entrepreneur?

We all have parts of us that are amazing and draw others to us, and parts of us that drive people a bit batty. Entrepreneurship has made me keenly aware of the areas in my working style and personality that I need to work on so that it’s easier for other types of people to work with me. For example, I’m direct. I like it because I get things done quickly and am a huge fan of efficiency. But I quickly learned that if other people don’t like my directness, it can turn them off and cause more work for me, negating the very thing I’m going after (efficiency!).

What advice do you have for other designers who are thinking about starting their own business?

I’m a huge fan of designers thinking about stale, antiquated business models and redesigning them so that they better serve customers. So my advice would be just to do it. Get out of your own way and try it!

Create Flyers That Stand Out


Creative Cloud

You may think flyers are old school marketing materials heavy on utility and light on style. However, flyers are great for mass distribution of specific and time-sensitive information. Create them with the same care and attention to quality and effectiveness as any other marketing piece you create — and always remember to reflect your overall brand. The basic principles of design apply just as much to flyers as any other project, and a well-designed flyer provides an opportunity to stand out.

Establish a messaging hierarchy.

Think about your message and determine what is most important to communicate. Then establish your hierarchy by organizing your content into levels of importance — what the reader should see first, second, and third. Because you shouldn’t plan on viewers taking too much time to read your flyer, you need to decide how you will grab their attention and make your main message the most visually prominent part of your design. A poorly designed flyer is crammed with information that competes for attention, leaving the viewer unsure of where to look first — and resulting in viewers tuning out completely.

This beautifully designed but simple flyer catches the eye with a bold headline and then shares just the important details. By CAROLINE GROHS.

One way to minimize the amount of information you need to include is to focus on the most pertinent details and then provide a web or social media address that allows the reader to retrieve more information if they are interested and when it’s convenient.

Call the reader to action.

Once you have your reader’s attention be sure the rest of the content leads the viewer to the action you want them to take. Simplify your design layout with white space — blank space with no design or text — to call attention to the additional details the reader needs to know.

Simplifying your design with white space, like these flyers do, calls readers’ attention to your most important information. By TIMPHANCO DESIGN.

Be consistent with your brand.

Remember that your flyer is a very visible reflection of your brand. Be consistent with style elements like color, typography, and the look and feel of images you include.

These flyers demonstrate brand consistency through the color palette, illustration style, and typeface. By ANNELIEN SMET.

Your brand may have a complete identity manual with guidelines for every aspect of the design, or you may only have a logo or website to align your design with. Work with what you have, and strive for style compatibility.

Pick your type.

Limit your use of different type families and pay attention to how they can be consistent with your branding. Tap into a library of available fonts to make a selection, although most often one or two different typefaces will suffice. If employing more than one typeface, be sure they aren’t too similar and have adequate visual contrast. For example, you could pair a serif font (a font with “tails,” like Times New Roman) with a sans serif font (a font without “tails,” such as Arial), but not two serif fonts. Also, limit use of different sizes and styles to what is really necessary. This will help your design feel unified and accessible.

Design for distribution.

It’s crucial to design your flyer for the medium and printing method you will be using. Often, budget and speed requirements dictate flyers are printed on digital presses or even your office laser printer. Keep in mind that these printers have limitations that don’t exist with high-end printers. Make your designs fit within the restrictions of the printer you will use. Many digital printers can’t print to bleed — where printing happens right up to the edge of the page — but instead require margins around the outside edges of the paper. If you are creating your project in InDesign CC, you can set up a print bleed from the start. Inkjet printers also have limitations and usually don’t print large blocks of color well, and can create streaks in your design. And regardless of the printer you’ll be using, be sure to generate a high quality pdf to get the best quality print.

If your flyer will be distributed digitally, aim to include it in the body of an email instead of attaching it as a separate file that needs to be opened. And be sure to test what it looks like on a few different phones or tablet devices.

Search for inspiration.

Whether you are having a hard time getting your ideas flowing or you have a great concept but aren’t sure how to execute it, a good place to start is by looking for inspiration. Use the free mobile app Adobe Capture CC to take pictures of your surroundings and save interesting colors and designs. The photos are saved directly to your personal CC Library so they are ready to use when you are.

You can also search for examples of others’ work on shared portfolio sites like Behance.net. Pay attention to what makes those designs work — from the use of color to page layout, balance, scale, and proportion. Notice how the use of white space can focus attention. And don’t be afraid to draw inspiration from the techniques these professional designers successfully use.

A flyer like this that relies on pops of color could inspire a daring color choice of your own. By MURMURE.

Find a template.

To steer clear of the intimidating blank canvas, look for a template with instructions from Adobe Stock. You can download professionally designed template files that make it easy to get started on your own flyer. Every template is fully customizable by dropping in your own images, replacing text, and modifying typeface and colors. You can also consider using poster templates, as the main difference between a promotional poster and a flyer is the different production size.

Use the right tools.

The right software will make your job much easier and when it comes to designing a flyer, and InDesign CC, Illustrator CC, and Photoshop CC are great applications to use. While these programs can seem intimidating to the beginner — and they are indeed high-end tools with very advanced features — you don’t need to learn every function or feature to be able to produce your perfect flyer. A wide variety of step-by-step tutorials and videos are available online that make it easy to get started or accomplish a specific task.

With these tips you’ll have a flyer ready in no time to promote your latest sale, event, or cause.

March Trend Exploration: Women Inspiring Women


Creative Cloud

This Women’s History Month, we’re reflecting on the role of women in creative professions. In this week’s Trend Exploration, we look to female artists who’ve overcome barriers in male-dominated creative fields, and whose work is breaking stereotypes and reimagining our images of women.

Women inspire women.

No artist creates alone — there are always foremothers, trailblazers, and interlocutors who make it possible. With role models, muses, and women in the arts on our minds, we asked some of the brilliant women creating and designing with Adobe Stock to tell us more about the female artists who’ve inspired them.

Eve Saint-Ramon, an Adobe Stock Premium contributor with an eye for vintage, sensual images of women, told us about who inspires her work. “All women artists and creatives inspire me,” she says. “I look at their own expression, their position as artists.” Eve is especially drawn to women in the burlesque scene because they strike a unique balance: they convey a strong message while amusing their audiences. She also looks to fashion photographer Dominique Isserman’s approach: “She leaves them [her models] in their position as a woman as they are. Those images always have something with grace.” For overall style, she gives a nod to Vivienne Westwood, “just because I like punks in the industry.”EVE SAINT-RAMON / ADOBE STOCK

Graphic designer Jing Zhang, an illustrator with a uniquely fun and colorful infographic style, is deeply inspired by the work of architect Zaha Hadid. “There was never a woman in the creative world like her. I hope her legacy will carry on after her passing,” says Jing. She’s also moved by the creations of Donna Wilson: “It’s not only her quirky creatures that catch my eyes, but also her success in turning household products into something cute with her creative touch.”

JING ZHANG “Architectural Map of work of Zaha Hadid”

When we asked Helen Fields, a cinematographer and Adobe Stock Premium contributor, who inspires her, she immediately thought of Kathryn Bigelow, the Academy Award-winning director of “Hurt Locker.” “Being such a ‘male’ film,” Helen explains, “it really helped break down gender stereotypes in the film industry.” For inspiration, Fields also looks to groundbreaking American portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz.

 

Annie Leibovitz  spoke about her own inspirations, and finding her voice:

Photography’s like this baby that needs to be fed all the time. It’s always hungry. It needs to be read to, taken care of. I had to nourish my work with different approaches. One of the reasons that I went to “Vanity Fair” was that I knew I would have a broader range of subjects — writers, dancers, artists and musicians of all kinds. And I wanted to learn about glamour. I admire the work of photographers like Beaton, Penn, and Avedon, as much as I respected grittier photographers such as Robert Frank. But in the same way that I’d had to find my own way of reportage, I had to find my own form of glamour.

Tina Touli is a graphic designer who specializes in branding, typography, and crafts. She’s inspired by the women leading in her field: “Martina Flor, a designer and letterer based in Berlin, inspires me a lot with her creativity. She focuses in lettering and typography, a field of design that I am really keen on. I am interested in her great attention to detail and her ability to produce such a huge and diverse range of typographic styles.” Tina also draws inspiration from Vicki Turner, a British designer and illustrator. “I first show her work while visiting YCN in London. I was really impressed by her clear, and at the same time complex, illustrations. I really enjoy the great balance of both her color combinations and her designs, which are characterized by a strong sense of geometry with a detailed and compact style.”

Role models and the numbers.

It’s no small thing to be a successful female artist, which is one reason female role models are so critical. According to recent research, 78 percent of UK designers are men, even though they make up 53 percent of the overall workforce, and those men bring home significantly higher salaries. According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, women earn half of all MFAs granted in the United States, but only 30 percent of artists represented by commercial galleries are women. And work by women artists represents only 3-5 percent of major permanent museum collections in the United States and Europe.

These numbers show how far the art community still has to go toward gender equality. And they give us even deeper appreciation for the many inspirational female artists who strengthen our resolve and remind us that we can, and should, put our voices and visions into the world. This Women’s History Month we’re grateful for the many women who’ve persisted, against the odds, and inspired us to keep creating.  

Watch Eve, Jing, Tina and Helen in our feature video celebrating The Female Creator, and explore more images by leading female creatives in our dedicated gallery.

Inside the Minds of a Design Team


Creative Cloud

Ever wondered what’s going through your teammates’ minds? Projects can be full of highs and lows, and sometimes it’s easy to mistake a sidelong glance during a review for a something more sinister, or feel put off by over-enthusiasm at the kickoff.

Ever wished you could just take a sneak-peek inside their minds? It’s your lucky day, because through the power of the interview, we will do just that! I chatted with a product designer, a scrum master and a UX researcher to get the scoop on how they think about project phases, what they love and hate, and some of their typical thoughts at each stage.*

*Disclaimer: Qualitative research sample of three may or may not be indicative of your particular teammates’ thoughts and opinions. Difficult team dynamics are often best explored with open communication, and lots of cake.

Ever googled design or development process diagrams? There are so many variations and schools of thought, it’s easy to get bewildered. Our trusty trio had different ideas about where the project begins.

Forming Phase

Your teammates might be thinking: ‘What exactly are we building here?’ or ‘Ok I have a good feeling that I know enough to get going!’ ‘I’m so excited – think of the possibilities for what we can learn and build.’

Caroline Cocchio, a scrum master, highlighted the importance of a team forming phase, where the team is getting together and aligning with each other and the client (where applicable) to understand the goals of the project and who the users are. During this phase, there are often ‘aha’ moments as the team gets immersed together in what they are working on, allowing them to grasp the opportunities and objectives of the work.

Research Phase

Your teammates might be thinking: ‘What’s it like for the user? How do they experience it?’ ‘ Oh this is so painful for the person, but I can understand why we can’t solve for that.’ ‘Oh, I didn’t know they were using it like that!’

For the designer and researcher I spoke with, some kind of research phase is a crucial next step. Ricardo Vazquez, a product designer, was even more emphatic about this, “All design projects must start with a research phase – it’s critical to the success of a project – from that phase we will be able to establish our metrics, understand who we are designing for, areas of opportunity.” For Jen Chow, a UX research lead, the upfront context gathering and research are also a space for empathy and understanding the problem space from a customer, business and tech perspective.

Caroline echoed this in her characterization of what comes next, saying she thinks about the next stage as digging into the big picture; it’s about trying to understand the user journey and roadmap for the product, and really putting yourself in the shoes of the user to understand their ideal experience.

Design Exploration

Your teammates might be thinking: ‘I wish this was feasible on our project.’ ‘Man, so many excellent designers out there just blowing my mind.’ ‘Let’s get it out there and put it in front of people and see what they do.’ ‘ How can we create a bare bones, but still testable version of this concept?’

Once the user research and big picture roadmap is in place, the designing begins. Depending on their roles, people characterized this phase in slightly different chunks.

Ricardo included an upfront ‘design exploration’ phase, where the goal is to examine competitors, and go wide to explore inspiration from adjacent and opposite places. Ricardo’s passion and commitment to this phase is common in designers. “The exploration phase is my favorite, as it allows me as a designer to think about the design in a more free way. I love knowing what I can and can’t do. Knowing the limits around design and feature. I’m able to go crazy to be honest! You’re not accountable to your users, all your accountable to is just the work. It becomes a really fun playground.”

Jen also talked about the excitement of the exploration phase; where many possibilities are uncovered through activities like card sorting, mind mapping and prototyping. In this stage of the work, focus for Jen is on being scrappy while also being effective at testing assumptions and hypotheses. This part of the phase is a satisfying challenge to tackle in collaboration with designers and other team members.

Design and build

Your teammates might be thinking: ‘You can do this! You can push through!’ ‘I wasn’t expecting this!’ ‘I hadn’t thought this one through’ ‘Man, I hadn’t thought about that edge case’ ‘How well are we solving the problem?’ ‘Ok, we’ve committed to following this direction, let’s see what we can learn.’

The design and development phases, where the meat of the creation happens, involves some different focuses depending on role. For the product designer, this is about creating design principles based on research, devising the UX flow, and figuring out how to design for the pain points or friction in the experience. This is really where the team is “figuring out the ingredients that make the whole,” says Ricardo. For Caroline, as a scrum master, this phase is characterised by its intensity – “it’s non-stop, constantly moving, it never slows down.” The team is working together to create, iterate, prototype and build. Jen also mentioned the momentum of this phase, and for her it comes along with a detached curiosity. This phase is not as emotional for her, but rather an opportunity to see if the problem is being solved with the chosen solution.

In collaborative teams, this can be a wonderful phase where the team is hitting their ‘performing’ stride. Caroline mentioned, “I work in a cross functional team – which means that everyone has an equal voice on the team – often what I’ve really enjoyed is contributing from a design or UX standpoint.” This can also be a tricky phase of work, as Ricardo outlines; “it’s work that drains you sometimes, that constant reminder of leaving your ego at the door, of being an advocate for your user. When there is no end in sight, it sometimes becomes my least favorite – it becomes a mental game of always keeping the user at the front of your mind. When you can see a finish line in the distance, it becomes by far the most rewarding phase of all.”

Launch and Feedback

Your teammates might be thinking:How successful were we in solving the problem?’ ‘Are people using it in the way we thought they would use it? ‘Oh sh*t, that wasn’t supposed to happen!’

Launching can of course take a few different forms, and all of the interviewees mentioned incremental releases or gradual roll outs as well as a more formal ‘launch’. Either way, putting something into the world comes with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Ricardo reflected on the possibility of failure after all of that work, saying that “product design is good no matter how bad it is – if it’s bad that’s okay, because it gives you another opportunity to keep pushing forward to find that second major iteration.” Jen mentioned the nervous excitement that comes with launching and monitoring the feedback.

Celebration and Close

Your teammates might be thinking: ‘Finally! It’s over. Thank God’ ‘It’s bittersweet to say goodbye.’ ‘We made it!’ ‘Where’s the beer?!’

Need we say more? We definitely didn’t need a mind reader for that one!

Inside the Designer’s Cart: Jing Zhang


Creative Cloud

Jing Zhang is a London based designer known for her infographics. She is featured in our video celebrating female creators.

Like us, Jing as been thinking about women in the creative field, and she created an image using assets from Adobe Stock to pay homage to the late British-Iranian architect, Zaha Hadid. We took an exclusive look inside Jing’s shopping cart.

“I wanted to contribute an infographic map of Hadid’s work around the world, with a style that complimented her signature design, the curves,” explains Jing. “And I wanted to commemorate one of the most amazing architects of all time.”

Jing chose images with texture to give detail to the piece, and metallic images as a reference to the buildings Hadid designed. Here’s a closer look at each of the Adobe Stock assets she selected, and what drew her to them.

1. Mesh Roof Truss

This was the perfect triangle pattern because it resembles the glass windows of Guangzhou Opera House.

RYANKING999/ADOBE STOCK

2. Aluminum Abstract Stripe Pattern

3. Aluminum Abstract Stripe Pattern  

“The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum has some of the most unique forms in architecture. Its pleated facade of stainless steel and glass produces an interesting structure for the visitors. It is perhaps the most angular form of all Hadid’s work. To bring this out, I looked at the tags ‘stripe’ and ‘metal’ texture when I searched. These two images jumped out from the others because of the smooth surface and metallic shininess.”

PEI LING HOO/ADOBE STOCK

PEI LING HOO/ADOBE STOCK

4. Closeup Concrete Wall Texture with Plaster and White Paint

“I looked at ‘paper’ textures from the outset. But I changed my mind when I found this image (under tags ‘rough texture’). It is appealing because of its very fine grain—its texture wouldn’t disturb the balance of the image. I just needed a touch of texture for my background. It needed to be smooth and rough at the same time.”

EUGENESERGEEV/ADOBE STOCK

 

You can discover more of Jing’s work on Behance.

Habit-Forming UX: Nir Eyal’s Tips To Keep Users Coming Back For More


Creative Cloud

Nir Eyal is a close observer of the way our personal technology is changing rapidly. The author and behavioral designer says shrinking screen sizes and more and more competition for users’ time and attention has upped the ante in product design. Now, he says, screen-based interfaces are disappearing altogether, and it’s become more important than ever to create a ‘habit-forming’ product that gets users to come back on their own, without visual triggers or sound notifications.

Earlier this year, we asked Nir about the morality of manipulation, and how product designers can use their powers for good. With moral standards in check, we’ve asked him to share his tips for creating highly-successful, habit-forming products.

How can designers create ‘habit-forming’ products that keep users coming back on their own?

I follow the ‘hooked’ model: a four-step path we are taken through as users. Through these hooks, companies no longer need to trigger us with external triggers on screens – we trigger ourselves. We come to their products on our own and this is very powerful when used right.

Think about Super Bowl ads: you didn’t see any ads for Facebook, or Instagram, or Slack, or Google, or YouTube. You didn’t see ads telling you to come back to Facebook like Budweiser Beer. These companies are worth just as much as these big manufacturing companies, but it’s not the ads that bring us back, it’s habits. Here’s how it works:

  1. There’s a trigger. Things in our environment that tell us what to do next. Click here, buy now, play this, hearing a notification going off.
  2. Then, an action. The user does an action in anticipation of a reward. It can be the simplest thing: pushing a play button, opening an app, scrolling a feed.
  3. Then comes a variable reward. Mysterious, unknown uncertainty in rewards: that’s what keeps us coming back. When we keep pulling to refresh our social media feed and searching, for example, that’s all about the uncertainty of what we might find. It’s just like pulling on a slot machine.
  4. Finally, an investment. The user puts something into the product in anticipation of some future reward: putting in content, accruing followers, skill acquisition; anything I’m putting in that makes the app better and better with use. What’s special about this phase is it’s fundamentally different from any way we’ve made products before. When we put things into the product, it is custom-tailored for us in real time. If you logged onto my Pinterest or Facebook account, it would be completely different from your account and not very interesting.

But this process still requires a notification on a screen or a sound?

Yes, but when we go through these four steps often enough, we condition our brains to associate the product’s use with an internal trigger. It’s something in our head, a painful emotion like uncertainty, fatigue, or loneliness for example. The ultimate goal of these products is to attach themselves to these emotions. If I’m uncertain, I google. If I’m lonely, I go to Facebook or Tinder. If I’m bored, I go to YouTube.

It’s this association with an uncomfortable emotion that causes us to instantly turn to these products or services with little or no conscious effort (or external triggers). That’s where we get hooked.

Does every product need a ‘hook’?

There are a lot of products out there that will never been used enough to be habit-forming. They’re not necessarily bad products or services, but they need to bring customers back in other ways (SEO, advertising, physical storefront). But if you have the type of product that requires unprompted engagement, then you need to form a habit.

Ask yourself these questions to know if your product needs to be habit-forming:

  • What’s the itch your product is addressing?
  • What’s the external trigger that prompts them to action?
  • Is the action is simple (or can it be made even simpler)?
  • Does the reward give the user what they want but still leave them wanting more?
  • What is the bit of work the user does to increase the likelihood of the next pass through the hook?

Many times these questions work as a filter. You may see your product can’t be habit forming because it doesn’t have the criteria. If you discover that, move on and figure out some other way to bring people back. Or if you have to make your product habit-forming, figure out what you need to do to change it.

How long does it take for a product to ‘hook’ a user?

The cut off seems to require repeat use in just a week’s time or less. Remember, every product doesn’t need a habit to succeed, but every habit-forming product needs a hook. If you can create an internal trigger (habit) in that amount of time, you and your product are on the road to success.

For more information on Nir Eyal and his book ‘Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,’ check out his website.

Iconography, Typography, and Twitter: Designer Jeremy Reiss on Giving Products Personality


Creative Cloud

Design and baseball – those are two of designer Jeremy Reiss’ great pursuits; but it’s when he combined the two that he really hit a homerun. An active Twitter user, the social media giant came knocking after seeing a baseball-themed illustration and typography piece Reiss created.

Now he’s working as a graphic designer in Twitter’s product design team, using his skills in typography and iconography to subtly redesign the app. We asked him to share his work and some tips on how designers can add personality to their products using typography and iconography.

What’s the best way a designer can add personality to an app or website?

First and foremost, a designer needs to work with stakeholders (decision makers) to learn or help define what that personality is. Once that’s been nailed down, I believe the combination of brand appropriate color, typography, and engaging visuals are the foundation for designing personality.

How are you doing that at Twitter?

When I was tasked with redesigning the iconography set it was pretty clear that we needed to do two things: unify the set by creating a consistent style and design the set in a way that presents Twitter in a more personal way.

To create that consistency we started by incorporating the same stroke weight for everything. To add a little personality, we rounded all the corners to make them feel more comfortable and less stuffy or rigid.

Why are typography and iconography so important in 21st century design?

Typography communicates a personality very quickly. Immediately, you can tell if something is playful or corporate, entertaining or expressionless, sophisticated or approachable. Whether it’s custom, hand-lettered, or a typeface purchased from a fontshop they all have characteristics.

With regards to iconography, we’ve come to expect answers quickly since we have little computers in our pocket. Iconography serves as the wayfinding to get to those answers.

What started your love affair with fonts, symbols, and graphics in design?

From an early age I remember my dad making surprisingly beautiful yard sale signs. They were simple, white poster boards but he hand lettered everything adding dimension to the type and he used a lot of colors to make them stand out and get people’s attention. Still to this day I think they’re the best yard sale signs I’ve ever seen. So maybe that’s where my love started.

What kinds of challenges are designers facing now?

On the illustration front, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to define and be known for your own unique style. There are so many sites now where designers can post work and gain inspiration. Because of all the great work out there it’s harder to stand out.

Now that apps and web standards have been around for awhile, designers have a set of guidelines and templates with which to begin their work. The challenge is working within those restraints and creating something fresh and original.

Where are we heading in design?

We’re heading into a time, and quite possibly we’re already there, where younger designers are creating at a higher level earlier in their careers than ever before. I think technology has opened the door for quicker learning to take place.

Check out Jeremy’s designs and expert use of typography on his website or catch him on Twitter.

Exceptional Design Takes Brands to the Next Level


Creative Cloud

In today’s saturated digital landscape, how do you create content that not only stands out, but also delivers an exceptional customer experience? The answer: it all starts with design. Design compels which sneakers you buy and makes a mobile app indispensable. And, well designed content makes or breaks any marketing campaign. Creating this type of exceptional content at scale and speed requires tighter integrations and seamless workflows across creative development, marketing execution and insights.

At Adobe, we make digital memorable, and today at Adobe Summit, we planted the flag for the next generation of innovation in experiences with our announcement of the Adobe Experience Cloud. We also launched new connections between Creative Cloud and Experience Cloud that will help our community of brands, marketers and creatives master digital transformation. Read more about the release on the Adobe Conversations blog, where Ashley Still, VP, Enterprise Offerings, shares how experience business gives brands and agencies the competitive edge.

Streamlining HDR Workflows: Dolby Supports Adobe XMP


Creative Cloud

Adobe XMP is an open standard for metadata, which allows content creators to add labels and settings instructions to media. With the growing power of modern cameras to capture an ever wider range of light and color, XMP offers powerful tools for including supplemental information about images and how they can be displayed, or optimized. With dynamic metadata, light and color settings for media can be adjusted on the fly, for example to apply scene-based creative looks to film content.

This makes Adobe XMP a great match for Dolby Vision, an advanced standard for High Dynamic Range (HDR) video content and displays. HDR describes modern imaging technologies, enabling televisions, for example, to produce more realistic images, with more contrast, more detail in the shadows and highlights, and deeper color.

This image shows how much more image detail is discernable in Dolby Vision (left) than standard dynamic range (right)

“We support Adobe’s efforts to standardize the metadata interchange between content creation tools,” says Curt Behlmer, senior vice president, content solutions and industry relations, Dolby Laboratories. “The XMP Media Production SDK from Adobe provides creative professionals and software developers with a consistent format for next-generation metadata delivery for HDR technologies, such as Dolby Vision.”

Dolby Vision and Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2017 already supports HDR standards, including Dolby Vision. Scene-by-scene optimization is a great example of how Adobe XMP will help deliver the HDR of the future.  Dolby Vision enables scene-by-scene optimization by using Dynamic Metadata to achieve natural contrast and vivid colors that adjust automatically for individual scenes.

We at Adobe are delighted about Dolby Laboratories’ support for Adobe XMP. We have long focused on open standards for the industry and XMP became an ISO standard in 2012 (ISO 16684-1). We work closely with technology partners like Dolby to enable connected workflows that simplify production, and our work together is part of the SMPTE 2094-X series of standard documents, which will benefit production professionals around the world.

To learn more about Dolby Vision, visit here.

For more information on the current release of Adobe Premiere Pro CC and the Adobe video tools, visit here.

Meet the UX Designer: Zachery Nielson


Creative Cloud

“It’s easy to mockup an idea but the real challenge is making that idea work well,” says Zachery Nielson. The Salt Lake City-based designer finds the sweet spot of appealing visuals that function like whoa as CEO of Shelby Company, the design and marketing creative agency he founded a few years ago. Achieving that balance is a forever quest for Nielson, fueled by some key creative follows on Twitter, a commitment to meaningful minimalism, and hip hop playlists to keep inspiration on high.

What drew you to UX/UI design, and how did you get your start?

I started when I was only ten years old. I was very interested in website design and building digital things, and it just so happened that my grandfather was a lifelong web developer. He taught me the basics, then eventually I moved on to teach myself UI design and put a heavy focus on minimal UX and interfaces for my web design. Building interfaces that people actually enjoy using is something that has driven me in my work.

How does Adobe Creative Cloud fit into your creative process?

I use most of the full Creative Cloud suite every single day–it’s absolutely essential to my work–and recently, Adobe XD has played a more significant role in my process. XD helps get my creativity flowing, and my sales have improved specifically because it’s so easy to create mockups for potential clients; within a few minutes I can show them exactly how good their new website can look, and then it’s so simple to actually design it. There is no other program that makes it so seamless.

Let’s look at one of your projects. What was your process creating this website mock-up for a beard oil company?

I made this mock-up for a potential client in a matter of minutes. He said he wanted to feature lots of images to help push society’s view of beards in the right direction–he works for a beard oil company–so I pulled this together to give him a sense of our style and services. He loved it, and now we’re working out the details to make it their official website. It shows what a remarkable asset XD has been, and how it can be a profitable tool as well!

What excites you most about the future of UX/UI design—both in terms of creating it, and engaging with it?

I feel like the future of UX and UI design is limitless. It’s exciting to think about how much our industry can and will change in the coming years as people touch screens less often, and use voice commands more often. Using tech may become more natural as we use our voices to do things on our phones, and as we perform pure visual interactions with VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality).

Creating user interfaces for virtual reality is completely different than creating it for a website; adapting and learning new ways to design things, beyond just a simple navigation menu, is very exciting.

What bit(s) of wisdom can you share with creative folks who are interested in becoming UX/UI designers?

If you are interested in becoming a UX/UI designer–or any type of designer, really–my number one piece of advice is to never stop learning and adapting. Technology changes rapidly. Talk to someone who was making websites in the 90s they’ll tell you how much design has changed already. Design moves forward constantly, and it’s always evolving; and you have to accept that, and evolve with it to be the best designer you can be.

Whose UX/UI work do you look at and go: “WOW”?

The first people who come are mind is Tobias van Schneider and the team at Flatstudio.

I have been following Tobias’ work for a few years and I have yet to see something I didn’t like. He loves to use dark colors, just like I do, so I love navigating through his UI. His design is always meaningful, which inspires me.

“Some of my favorite work by Tobias van Schneider.

Flatstudio makes excellent websites. Their UI is top notch and always makes me want to stay on their sites as long as possible. There is always a certain flow and unique navigation element that makes me fall in love with their work.

“Some great work by Flatstudio.”

Best tunes for getting into a creative flow?

I actually make my own playlists for designing and working, called Vision. I just released Vision Four which is full of hip hop that has a certain message and vibe to help me (and anyone) get inspired and motivated.

Fave follows:

I follow a lot of designers on Twitter, and by far my top three would be:

@vanschneider, @DannPetty, and @TimmyHam

Follow Zac on: Behance and Twitter

Hey designers: We’d love to feature you next! Share your prototypes on Behance for the chance to be featured in Adobe XD’s Meet the Designer series. Don’t forget to tag them with #MadeWithAdobeXD and select Adobe Experience Design under “Tools Used.”