Before I became a part of Degas, I was living a reasonably relaxed life in California working as a freelance designer, painter and illustrator. That was eight months ago.
Now I’m a Washington resident helping run a startup business as the Art Director, UX designer, office manager and overall Director of Etc. Along with my fellow Degas teammates, I’m working countless hours every week to launch our product on time. This has definitely been a huge shift in my career. I’ve gone from painting in a garage studio to working at my laptop all day.
Not only have these been extreme changes to my lifestyle, they’ve caused shifts in my creativity and how I solve problems. I’ve noticed large and obvious differences between UX design and painting. However, I have noticed similarities between the two as well.
Both painting and UX design call for a certain attention to detail. Although they’re different mediums, they each have their respective problems that require solving. With UX, I need to think of the design in terms to how fluid I can make the user experience. Otherwise, the ease of using the app is compromised and there are a lot of files to back track on and fix. It can become a very prolonged process and there’s even math involved!
With painting, there can be a lot of happy accidents and looseness of strokes. It can be a freer and more therapeutic process, but if something isn’t quite looking the way I envisioned, I need to figure out why and how I can fix it. This leads to a lot of trial and error and can also be a prolonged and difficult process.
Even with the differences between the materials and creative forms, these two are similar in their formation. They both start out as an idea and lead to sketches. These sketches lead to mockups and notes. Then it’s on to the execution, different problem solving, confused staring, long nights and pulling out of hair. There are “AHA!” moments and moments of disappointment and starting over to improve.
Going from painting to UX design has been an exciting, frustrating and educational experience. It’s pretty different from what I was used to before, but it’s a valuable and rewarding craft that I’m happy to have added to my skillset.