For most of the history of design, the designer has enjoyed the role of creator and a quality of authorship. A designer makes a thing, and that thing is produced in large quantities, distributing the designer’s vision, ideals, and values—cultural influence—into the world.
Design Strategy, Innovation, Education and Product Design
The New American Dream
Gig Work, Vocational Jobs, Experience, or Poverty
For some, the New American Dream is to live in the moment, be comfortable, and do things we are passionate about away from the confines of a desk and an office. And for others, it’s more basic: to survive. In both cases, our existing financial structures are increasingly obsolete and insufficient.
We identify value by working directly with customers. We conduct qualitative research to understand how people work, live, and play. Then, we translate this research into meaningful insights about human behavior, and leverage these insights to produce provocative new visions of the future. These visions become defensible: these become the "big rocks" upon which to base organizational change and new products and services.
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and Visual Design
We work extraordinarily quickly to produce specifications, interactive simulations, and functioning software. We optimize for engaging usability, but we never sacrifice craft or beauty. We customize deliverables to our development teams and quickly operationalize our product and service visions into existing development cycles. We work to ship code that matches what's been designed.
We teach a repeatable process that helps organizations inform and set design strategy. This process, and our educational approach, are all focused on managing the complexity that comes with technological advancement—the advancement that now shapes our organizations, our service offerings, and the products that we build and use. Our approach shapes practitioners who are able to immediately begin to deliver the value of both design thinking and design doing.
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Recent Blog Posts
Matt is the CEO, and a Partner, at Modernist Studio. He was previously a product owner and creative director at Blackboard. He is also an instructor at Austin Center for Design. His work focus includes social system design, mobile systems for both handsets and tablets, entertainment experiences for TV, web, and video, and strategic design thinking for large-scale system design and product rollout. He's been awarded patents and a silver IDEA award for Target’s ClearRX bottle.
Alexa is the Communications and Marketing Director at Modernist Studio, driving the studio’s overall brand and communications strategy. Previously, she worked in state politics, serving as the Communications Director for a State Senator and the Senate Finance Committee. She also has a background in nonprofit having worked on the Communications team at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, leading communications initiatives locally and globally, and helping launch the Rebuild Texas Fund following Hurricane Harvey.
Jon is the COO, and a Partner, at Modernist Studio, and the Founder of Austin Center for Design. He was previously the Vice President of Design at Blackboard, the largest educational software company in the world. Jon has also held the positions of Executive Director of Design Strategy at Thinktiv, a venture accelerator in Austin, Texas, and both Principal Designer and Associate Creative Director at frog design, a global innovation firm.
Laura is a Designer at Modernist Studio and previously worked in design research at O’Reilly Media, LegalZoom, and IBM. Laura focuses on in-depth and actionable insights that result in human-centered products, services, and systems. Her work has spanned areas such as enterprise software, continuous learning, legal solutions, and employee experience.
Chad is the Chief Design Officer, and a Partner, at Modernist Studio, and was previously a creative director at Blackboard. He was also a Visual Designer at frog design, where his work focused on visual design solutions in mixed disciplines including websites, mobile applications, marketing collateral and branding vision. Chad focuses on hand-crafted pixel solutions across digital platforms, and uniform brand continuity across complex systems through Design Language Systems.
Meg is an Executive Assistant at Modernist Studio and is a professional mixed-media artist, writer, and muralist. Meg is a published illustrator who has experience in the real estate, promotional sales, and music industries.
Catherine is a Designer at Modernist Studio, specializing in design strategy and innovation. Previously, she was an editor at an award-winning digital publication in Washington, D.C., where she wrote and reported on stories of justice, accessibility, social movements, culture, tech, religion, and politics. While in D.C., she also co-founded a service design consultancy, leading customer research, design sprints, workshops, and public mapping installations for major clients.
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