Where did your passion for design and philosophy emerge?
I’ve always seen philosophy and design as inherently intertwined. Problem solving is at the core of both, but the channels by which solutions appear are different. I think philosophy has a lot to show design; how to deeply question something, how to constantly ask ‘why?,’ how to effectively employ critical thinking and logic. I think that design is not solely aesthetic—I’d go so far to say that aesthetics make up less than half of what I consider ‘design.’ So much of design is decision-making, problem solving, researching, interviewing; the not-so aesthetic parts that might lead to a visual solution.
How has your creative process changed over time with this growth?
I think my creative process has changed and grown overtime as I’ve been able to expand on what I know and employ in my own process. I think I used to feel more afraid of the research part of UX design, but the more that I’ve gotten to engage in it and experience it on my own, the more I feel ownership and excitement over that part of the process. I think my creative process is constantly changing and getting updated as I find new pieces and elements that feel right.
If you’re looking for original thoughts in the User Experience field then look no further. Natalie Lew is using her year as one of the Adobe Creative Residents to explore human interaction. Hailing from Seattle, where she graduated from the University of Washington she now resides in Brooklyn.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever heard?
That’s a hard question, because I think I’ve received a lot of really good pieces of advice throughout my design education and career. I think one of the most memorable and salient pieces of advice was from an old friend a long time ago. I used to be so vocal and talkative (which to some degree I might still be a little bit) and there was a time in which a friend asked me to listen more and to take a step back and listen to what I myself had been saying. I think this simple idea; to listen more; is something I am thinking about everyday and constantly striving to be better at. Listening in the design process is crucial as it’s important to be able to hear feedback, concerns, problems, ideas,— really listen.
“So much of design is decision-making, problem solving, researching, interviewing; the not-so aesthetic parts that might lead to a visual solution.”
Who are some artists that you feel have impacted your own practice?
Kat Holmes, previous Inclusive Design Director at Microsoft and currently working on her own new venture to build equitable digital experiences through inclusive design, is a designer who I really admire and respect. The work that she does is the kind of work I aspire to do, and the passion she puts into both talking about and doing the work itself is incredible.
What have been some of your biggest strengths and struggles during your career so far?
Thus far, I think some of my biggest struggles have been in getting my work out there. Sometimes I feel I suffer from work paralysis, as I can struggle to figure out if something is right or good enough to publish. However, I think one of my biggest strengths as of late has been conquering those fears and acknowledging that work get better overtime, and in order to get better, it has to be out there in the first place.
What project are you especially excited about right now?
I’m currently working on my Adobe Creative Residency project (which can be found at natalielewxadobecreativeresidency.com) where I’m working on considering how interaction design can impact the future in a socially positive way. I’m working in five spaces, and recently did a project about professional networking.
What's in your margins?
My creative process relies really heavily on secondary research and I think it’s a part of the creative process that can be overlooked as boring or unnecessary. I think you can make the process of understanding scope and what’s out there a challenge—almost like you’re a detective searching for clues before diving into the design process.