Dear Ueno is an advice column for people who for some weird reason think we know what we’re doing. Read more about all this, or check out our old advice.

From Sasha Nadelyaeva, a designer in Ukraine, via Twitter:

How do you accept criticism and not get discouraged about your skills?

Carolyn Zhang, Design Lead at Ueno in NYC:

Dear Sasha,

What a timeless question! I’ve lost many a sleepless night to the anxiety and fear and vulnerability caused by other people’s words. Fortunately, our reaction is completely within our power to change. …


Dear Ueno is an advice column for people who for some weird reason think we know what we’re doing. Read more about all this, or check out our old advice.

Ricki Xie asks via email:

How do you organize your folder and design workflow for projects and collaboration between internal and external teams? And do you have a naming convention for files? (Don’t tell me it’s 123-design-final-FINAL-final.sketch).

Carolyn Zhang, designer at Ueno NY, happily replies:

Hey Ricki (and the many other people who have emailed with similar questions)!

Once upon a time, in the very early days of Ueno, we…


And if a coworker sent you this article, you are the problem.

There’s lots of blog posts out there on how to set up your creative process and workflow to avoid unexpected surprises from last-minute stakeholders. There’s lots of posts on how to give general good feedback. But when a friend recently asked me for advice on how to give late-stage feedback on a project after she got back from her vacation, I was at a loss for good resources to share with her. So here I am, writing this blog post a week before my own vacation, writing to future-Carolyn and hoping to avoid these mistakes myself.

First, the basics

Whether it’s about someone’s…


Transitioning from engineering to design

Thanks to Kwok Yin Mak, Elizabeth Pace Donovan, and Ben Frank for their help making this GIF!!

This post was originally published in Desk Lunch, a newsletter for all creative women and non-binary folks. It’s great. You should subscribe.

3.67 years ago, I graduated from MIT with a degree in computer science and took the leap into design. Though I don’t have formal design training, I‘ve cobbled together a pretty good education by watching the world-class designers around me.

These days, a lot of students in technical fields ask me about this transition. Do I still code? (Not really.) How did I put together a portfolio? (Freelance projects, school projects, personal work, and internships.) How did I…


A practical and actionable guide to talking about your designs

I made this, please clap.

People told me my designs were a thing I had to “sell.” Like hawking jewelry at a flea market. Thinking about your ideas as a product to sell others is a perfectly fine way to see things, but it didn’t work well for me. I tied my sense of self-worth to this product I made, and I knew that my words would fail me since I was such an awkward human being. Things were looking grim.

So I gave up on “selling” my designs. If my words will fail me, I’ll lean on the pictures. I shifted my mindset and…


Dear Ueno is an advice column for people who for some weird reason think we know what we’re doing. Read more about it.

From Anil Panguluri:

“How does one learn to make illustrations like the ones in this blog post?”


Google was my first design mentor. My university didn’t have a design program, so I’d just search every day:

Carolyn Zhang

design @ ueno.

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