Elizabeth Morello has been a UX design mentor at Designlab for well over two years, where she works 1:1 with aspiring designers.
Recently, we had the opportunity to chat with her about her own design journey, and what inspires her to share her own rich expertise with aspiring UX designers.
Elizabeth’s UX Design Story
Elizabeth’s degrees are in Fine Art and Psychology. After graduation, she found herself working in various corporate jobs, but realized she was not doing work that made her happy.
“I was always designing and making things,” she shares, “so a close friend of mine suggested that I go talk to his brother who was an art director at a design firm in San Francisco. I decided to go back to school to pursue a graduate degree in Design. The program had a very experimental, fine arts approach to design. It was far from pragmatic, but I did enjoy the work.”
When Elizabeth first started working as a designer, there were essentially two paths to go in: print and interactive [web]. Although both paths carried their own appeal, Elizabeth quickly saw that there were more opportunities available in web design, since many of the seasoned designers did not want to cross over into the new world of digital design.
“Most of the earlier work that I did was web design. I created user flows, site maps, and wireframes for my sites. Most of them were hand drawn or made in Illustrator. The process was not something that we really shared in our portfolios back then.”
Then, fifteen years ago, Elizabeth worked on her first end to end app. “This was my first project working with educational content and I loved it,” she says. “It was an educational desktop app that was marketed on a DVD! I don’t remember the term UX/UI being used much at this time. I was called a Senior Graphical User Interface Designer or GUI [goo-ey].”
After that experience, Elizabeth started to gravitate toward educational projects and content whenever possible. She worked on various educational apps and for companies like McGraw-Hill and Pearson. At one point, she was also an instructional designer at the Academy of Art University.
With her many years of experience and passion for helping others, Elizabeth quickly stood out among our many amazing UX design mentors at Designlab, and shared a wealth of insight during a recent interview:
Interview with a Design Mentor
Why did you become a UX designer?
"I enjoy making things and helping people. As much as I love the visual part of this role, I also enjoy problem solving."
What inspires you to continue working in UX design?
"As I tell the students, this job is never boring!! Things are constantly evolving, and I think that it keeps it fun and challenging. Every project is different, and every team dynamic is unique."
What are some of your favorite design quotes?
There are two quotes that really stand out to me and inspire me:
Design is thinking made visual.
I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.
What’s your greatest achievement/favorite thing about being a UX designer?
"I am happy to have worked on educational projects that have helped students in school. I wanted to be a teacher when I was growing up and then I became interested in art and design. This role allows me to combine these passions."
What is your favorite design resource?
"There are so many resources! I am a painter, so I do visit museums a lot. I also enjoy looking at good design. I like to go to sites like Dribbble and Behance for inspiration. I have worked with Adobe products for over twenty years, and I still enjoy them, but I have really grown very fond of Figma. I think that it is a wonderful tool. I think that there are a lot of other tools that make this job a little bit easier than it was when I started."
Why did you become a UX mentor?
"I had been a designer for about seventeen years when I started to mentor at Designlab. I wanted to help people who were just starting out in design. I felt that I had something to offer because of my design experience."
Why do you continue to mentor?
"I enjoy watching students fall in love with design. It reminds me of how passionate I was when I first started out. This program really allows people to make a huge transition in their careers in a relatively short amount of time which is so exciting. I think that 1:1 mentorship allows the mentors to really focus on where the individual is on their design path. No two students are the same, nor do they have the same experience. This allows them to receive individualized training."
Connect with Elizabeth Morello on LinkedIn.
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