As the Associate Art Director at AppLift I am responsible for creating and maintaining the visual identity of this company. I am working together with the marketing team on initiatives to promote our products and distribute the AppLift brand in web and print media as well as shaping the look and feel of our presence at events like Dmexco or the Mobile World Congress.
In addition I am responsible and accountable for the whole design pipeline in Asana while contributing to the overall design strategy of the company.
- Corporate Identity
- Task management and pipeline planning
- Event booth design
- Video editing
- Marketing collateral (Brochures, Flyers, eBooks etc.)
- Newsletter design (Mailchimp)
Mar 2012 - Oct 2013 - 1 yr 8 mos
Hitfox GmbH started as a small video game and gaming equipment retailer. I was hired as Web Designer working on the website together with my team. Later I transitioned more and more to app design since we shifted our focus to white labeling. My main task was to create different visual designs for each white label that would fit our clients own brand. I mostly enjoyed the character design aspect. Every new app had their own personalized mascot, which I illustrated. The most fun one was the pig mascot for the German television station RTL for sure.
- Screen design
- Character design
- Video editing
- Print design
- App branding
Oct 2011 - Feb 2012 - 5 mos
FW&P Internet GmbH was a small lead generation company that was building a platform to connect possible clients with insurance consultants. The idea was to make the customer feel safe and not pressured to sign a deal but rather be able to choose when he wants to get in touch after carefully evaluating different offers. I was responsible for designing the UI for this project and was also involved in the user story workflow creation and worked very closely with our developers to bring the screen design to life.
- User Interface design
- User story creation
Jun 2011 - Aug 2011 - 5 mos
JAG - Just A Game GmbH was a medium sized gaming distribution company with a focus on war games. The daily business mostly revolved around asset creation. We promoted our games with different ad campaigns as well as landing pages, which I helped to create.
- Banner design
- Illustration/Wallpaper design
Mar 2009 - Jun 2009 - 4 mos
Basically a small web design agency, where I started to learn basic CSS/HTML as well as creating all kinds of customized illustrations and logos for our clients.
- Screen design
- Flyer design
I ask questions. I like to sit with the stakeholders and grill them about the goals and purpose of a product / design to get a good impression of what it is they want to achieve.
- Who is our audience? Do we already have marketing personas?
- Is the product solving a particular problem and if so, how are we doing it?
- Create a user journey to get a feel of what possible problems customers might face and design a fluent experience.
- If we are one of many in a big industry I try to find out what our unique selling points are to make sure there will be properly highlighted.
- Research of competitors should be a part of this whole assessment too and can help define best practices.
The most important part for me is scaleable design. Creating a system to enable others to easily produce new pieces in no time. It may feel slightly restrictive to some designers and takes a lot of initial effort. I enjoy tailor-made designs too but in reality if one wants to keep up and stay flexible you will run into a wall pretty soon with this concept. Highly customized designs with lots of "unique" solutions rather than standardization that can solve multiple problems at once has a tendency to get inconsistent in the long run which leads to high maintenance.
When it comes to working with teams across the whole company I prefer to use defined workflows and tools such as Asana (with the Instagantt add-on), Trello or something similar to maintain streamlined communications.
I enjoy collaborative work but I am also fine with leading my own work independently. Each situation has it's perks. While working together fuels the creative exchange between people and brainstorming becomes much more productive, working alone can also help to focus my energy on the goal without any distraction.
By the end of the day it should be a balanced mix of both.
It always helped me to either plan sprints or schedule the whole pipeline for the upcoming weeks to come. If there is a case where a couple of projects have the exact same deadline I check what can be delegated or talk about the exact scope of each project in order to see if really everything has a hard due date. Sometimes it's possible to get a reduced but working result that later on can be extended or polished.
In terms of priorities I like to split the work into internal and external topics. External tasks are often bound to a budget since you have to deliver something to a client or create marketing collateral for an event etc. which can't be postponed (as you would otherwise lose money). The internal tasks on the other hand are more likely not the most pressing matters like Christmas cards for employers, office decoration or the next potluck invitation.
The 80/20 principle is something I like to keep in mind but more as a guideline rather than an unbreakable rule.
Yes, we all have been there at least once.
Stakeholder: Can you do a flyer for our client event? (And that's pretty much all I got.)
The answer is yes, I can ... after asking you a few more questions of course. If we worked together for a while already there is a good chance I have an idea of what you want since reading between the lines comes naturally after getting to know each other better. Nonetheless, some more prodding from my side has to be done but it can be reduced to a few more specific questions like:
- What is the event about?
- Do you have the schedule and content locked in?
- Will you send this via mail or will you print it?
Depending on the nature of the task I try to ask my questions in the most effective way.
Personally I do not sit down, open a tool and measure my design but I like to get the feedback from the ones that do. The topic of analyzing the masses of data (and doing it correctly and in an effective way) is something I prefer to leave to professionals. Ideally I receive information on the performance of my different designs in different channels like landing pages, newsletter or websites.
An ancient foe every creative person has to face at some point. First of all if it happens I admit that I have it. Denying the fact that I don't perform like a machine at all times worsens the state in my opinion and creates a state of anxiety.
Communication with my teammates and asking people, who are quite far away from my topic, what their take on my problem is to break the routine.
And browsing the internet. Read some blogs, check a few pins on Pinterest. Not only related to the topic at hand where I am stuck though. Taking my mind of the issue for a few minutes here and there can do wonders and eventually kick off a fresh stream of ideas that were triggered by the new input.
I don’t think anyone, who says it does not phase them at all is not entirely truthful with themselves. We all have egos and feelings. The only difference between a person, who is not accustomed to getting critique and a professional designer is the reaction to it. Over time I developed my filters to sift through information, which is relevant to me. There is always that one person who insists neon pink is their favorite color and should be used across all media channels or the green is not green enough. Receiving feedback does not mean I blindly execute without a doubt but am open and consider it.
I think both virtual and augmented reality will have a big part in all things design. It will definitely change how we approach UI/UX topics.
Personally, I am quite interested in the gaming aspect (HTC Vive and PSVR) but in regards to design it has a great potential to sell products better. Just think about your stylish new shades or watch being directly projected onto your body. Buying a new picture for your frame? Just look through the mobile cam and see what it will look like on your wall. The whole consumer sector can benefit from the highly engaging and interactive qualities.
On a more traditional level it may get way more user-centric. That means clearer user stories resulting in easier browsing experiences. Minimalistic interfaces with less distraction and highly optimized mobile experiences. Let's be honest: People almost live on their phones so it makes sense to get the most out of this medium.
So how do I stay up to date? Hello Google my old friend. He always helps me when I ask the right questions. ; )