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Stephanie Di Biase

Independent Creative Consultant

Primary design concentration:

Online communications

Most preferred tool for designing:

My Moleskine and a marker

1. How and why did you choose to become a designer?

I think I was a designer before I knew what that was or that you could make a living doing it. Growing up, my favorite thing to do was draw and write accompanying stories, usually about this blue monster I created. Officially, I didn’t start my professional pursuit in design until after I discovered biology wasn’t my thing about a year into my undergrad endeavors.

2. Challenges you encounter as a designer and how do you deal with them?

Being a designer requires you to have the stomach for seeing how the sausage is made in the business world. It can be pretty disgusting and frustrating. The only way to deal with it is to not let a bad client or a bad project define who you are as a designer or a human being.

3. Your definition of an “elegant solution,” that is, good design?

Good design is founded in convention but not exclusively tied to it. It should break rules and enhance the intended message, not obstruct it. It should make some part of the world, however small, a bit better and it should fit the context. Context is everything. If you don’t know whom you’re talking to, your design can’t be good.

4. From skills to values, what makes a designer successful?

You need to have honesty, humility and the willingness to except change. Success is boring if it’s not moving the needle a bit.

5. How do you stay motivated and grow personally and professionally as a designer?

I never stop looking.

6. For those aspiring to become a designer, whatever the discipline, what is your advice?

Have the courage of your convictions. Always have a “why” behind your decisions. Never stop learning. Develop a thick skin.

7. What is your quest in design?

There is a glut of bad design out there, and good design for companies that don’t deserve it (which in my mind also qualifies as bad design). Money should not be able to buy credibility, but all to often it does. If I can help change that a little, I think I’ll be happy.

Stephanie Di Biase is a designer and owner of ways & means and blogs. She recommends seeing the documentary film Helvetica and reading The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst. Her source of inspiration: "Design is based in life, so more often than not I get inspired by getting out and doing things not necessarily design-related."

Image courtesy of Stephanie Di Biase.

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