"If you want to catch the big fish, you've got to go deeper."
Stephanie Miller moonlights as both a graphic and UX designer, giving her a complex understanding of designing for others.
So what does that really mean? Miller tells us how to put our own wants aside and keep others at the forefront -- plus, why Instagram is her go-to marketing tool.
DesignRush: What inspired you to become a designer?
Stephanie Miller: I'm an innately curious person. Design helps me capture the core of what is fueling my curiosity or intrigue. When I can capture that moment, that visual, that experience, it brings me joy and satisfaction.
DR: Do you have a go-to design trend that you love right now?
SM: Trends come and go. I think it's important to create designs that withstand time. One way to create designs that withstand time is to look for inspiration through a multitude of resources. An example of this is understanding the what" and why" of disruptive design movements and to find inspiration in that. For example, the Bauhaus movement changed the landscape of the design world. Remnants of the Bauhaus movement design ideology is still in use today.
DR: Which blogs, websites, or apps do you check every day?
SM: I use Instagram for discovering new artists and marketing myself. Instagram is constantly updating - you're seeing things a lot faster than using a blog or website. There are also fewer barriers for artists to put their ideas and work out there. I use Pinterest for creating and managing mood boards.
However, I try to use an offscreen approach towards discovery as well. This may include going to different bookstores in Brooklyn and picking up books I might not normally gravitate to. When youre using the web, it feels like a constructed map towards suggested information. I like the unpredictability of discovery where there aren't suggestions or constructed ideas of where and how to search.
DR: Do you have any tips or tricks for overcoming designer's block?
SM: Get to know yourself. As much as I think people want to hear that there's one way to get through it, there isn't one recipe or formula for getting through the feeling of being stuck. Everyone is going to be a little different. I live in Brooklyn and at times, NYC feels stifling. When I need to reset myself, the cure for me is always nature. I've been making an effort to go the desert once a year to reset my creativity. It brings me peace and it grounds me. Don't be afraid to try new things in your work or in finding ways of sitting with your creativity block.
DR: You work in both graphic and UX/UI design. How do you combine the artistry and logistics needed for a visually appealing, user-friendly site?
SM: Form follows function. You should always be thinking of the user first. Who is going to be using the site? In this way, it's a lot like graphic design in identifying and understanding your target audience.
Additionally, I think it's important to have a basic understanding of development. It allows you to better communicate your vision to a developer and foresee its feasibility. It's equally important to know user experience best practices only then can you tweak the product/website, experience/design.
DR: What are a few of your favorite design tools and why?
SM: Sketch is the most efficient tool I've used so far.
DR: What quote motivates you in your work?
SM: "Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you've got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They're huge and abstract. And they're very beautiful." — David Lynch, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity
DR: Any final thoughts, comments, or words of wisdom you'd like to share with someone in the industry?
SM: Create authentic designs. Disrupt trends with movements.
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