Video Notes from the Field

by MFA IXD July 29, 2009

As part of Career Camp, a series of talks at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, New York, that commenced this week, Liz Danzico discussed how to ask good questions in the face of career changes—whether those changes are in the pursuit of learning within your own company or a more significant career change. She advised the audience to ask themselves, “Who do you seek out when you think about change?” and “Who inspires you?” when considering where or how to move forward.

To help frame the evening, she sought out the advice of digital designers and designer conspirers far and wide, to ask them to respond to the following:

So you’re thinking about becoming a designer? If I could tell you only one thing about going into the field, my advice would be ___________ .

Below are their responses.


“You have to be empathetic to your users, toward your clients, to the people you’re working with on your team”

Jennifer Bove / San Francisco / Principal, Interaction Design / Kicker Studio


“Remember to think about more than just design”

Kevin Cheng / San Francisco / Director of UX / raptr, ok-cancel


“Hire the one who can write”

Jim Coudal / Chicago / Founder / Coudal Partners


“Fully understand the problem before you attempt to solve it”

Whitney Hess / New York City / User Experience Designer / Independent Consultant


“Don’t let anyone tell you how to do your job”

Robert Hoekman, Jr. / Phoenix / User Experience Specialist, Author / Miskeeto


“Have passion—have undying, unending passion for what it is you do”

Jon Kolko / Austin / Associate Creative Director / frog design


“Having a camera, taking it everywhere, and taking pictures”

Michael Mandiberg / New York City / Senior Fellow, Eyebeam, Assistant Professor, CSI/CUNY


“No better high than knowing something you created changed someone’s perspective about their own life”

Melissa Pierce / Filmmaker / Life in Perpetual Beta


“Focus: Find a topic, find a topic, find a method and focus all your efforts on it”

Joshua Porter / Cambridge / Author, Social Web Design / Bokardo


“Seek and out embrace different perspectives from your own and to solve for those perspectives”

Steve Portigal / San Francisco / Design Research and Business Strategy / Portigal Consulting


“Bridge the gap between where your talent is and where your taste is”

Ryan Sims / San Francisco / Creative Director / Virb


“Find the middle ground between clever and stupid”

Jared Spool / Hotel Room / CEO, Founding Principal / User Interface Engineering


“Digital isn’t a one-time shot, but a constant upgrade”

Michael Surtees / New York City / Creative Director / Daylife, DesignNotes


“Plea for a better user experience”

Alissa Walker / Hollywood / Design Writer / Gelatobaby


Thanks to everyone far and wide for participating, and good luck to aspiring designers everywhere!

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