What Brutalism, Wabi Sabi, and Virtual Reality have in common.

Image for post
Image for post
Illustration by Tim Evans

If I had a quarter for every time a designer was asked to make a product fun, I’d have a fortune by now. Fun is one of those words like good, love, and art: so simple and all-encompassing that it eludes definition. So, what do we mean when we strive to make a product more “fun”?

Most interfaces are bound by rigid systems that immaculately align elements to a grid, creating a sense of rhythm and unity. However, in interface design, ‘fun’ is often derived from the lack of order. Like iMessage letting users drop stickers anywhere on a chat thread or our old pal MySpace, who let its users edit their page’s CSS ad nauseam. Those product decisions are widely considered fun because they’re chaotic. …


White circle with an S inside it over a green gradient
White circle with an S inside it over a green gradient

How privacy is the next wave in product design.

I’m writing this during a global pandemic where the world has come to a stop. For the time being, we’re relying on technology to go about our daily lives. Now more than ever it’s worth taking a look at our relationship with technology and how its makers can shape it to serve the needs of its users.

The way we relate to technology is constantly evolving — in less than a decade we’ve seen content move from newstands, to our laps, hands, and soon directly into our eyeballs. This is why I’m a big believer in future-proofing design. This usually means learning new tools and platforms, like 3D and motion design. …


Why escaping from strong opinions will make us weaker

Image for post
Image for post
All illustrations by Ouch!

Behind every product, there are usually hundreds of tiny little battles fought by a disciplined group of individuals who have somehow squeezed the remains of a vision between uncountable constraints. This process involves folks from multiple disciplines with different goals finding a compromise, coming up with a myriad of hypotheses, and validating them with a diverse number of users with their own set of expectations. This is a process I love. It makes the journey of building products exciting and infinitely engaging. However, this process creates imperfect products. Therefore, it can be improved.

There are many ways we could improve the products we ship. Encouraging a healthy public discourse where we can learn from the opinion of our peers could be one of them. …


How the increasingly interactive way in which we experience content will shape our responsibility towards Design.

Image for post
Image for post

2019—The Greatest Bastards

All lights go down and in the pitch dark, Mr. Rice walks into The Town Hall commanding an intimacy that the Big Apple doesn’t deserve. A room designed without a bad seat, which once aimed to give people of every rank an opportunity to be educated on the important issues of the day.

Before Mr. Rice’s grand entrance, the audience was performing street acrobatics to retain — or rather discover — focus. In spite of being surrounded by the worst kind of stimulus, Midtown was the destination to find intimacy that night. …


Image for post
Image for post

Whether you’re a designer or someone in any creative field, these are a few bite-sized pieces of advice to help you level up on your career.

Image for post
Image for post
Illustration by Adrien Ghenassia.

Find Your North Star

Explore everything you’re interested in, then double down on the few things that you’re good at and enjoy doing (that combination is key).

If money is an issue, don’t pretend it isn’t. Work on whatever you can (no job is too small for anyone) to make enough money so you don’t have to worry about meeting your basic needs. Then get back to exploring your interests. Don’t give up!

Image for post
Image for post
Illustration by Adrien Ghenassia.

Follow Your Role Models

It’s important to take a look at what “making it” looks like (whatever that means to you). If you don’t know where to start, Twitter can be a great place for this. There are a myriad of curated lists of people to follow. Find (google?) them and discover new talent. …


Image for post
Image for post

Principal & Founder at Plume Design

About this series —

Impostores is a series that explores the perspectives of diverse folks — outsiders, immigrants, and minorities — who reclaim the word from the Imposter Syndrome and wield it with pride every day.

Image for post
Image for post

What’s your immigration story?

I was born in Uruguay; a small, progressive country in the lower eastern coast of South America. Uruguay is swept by beautiful beaches on the southern coast, and gently rolling hills inland. Montevideo is the capital city — as densely populated as Buenos Aires and just as passionate about soccer, tango, and asado, but more intimately condensed. My family immigrated from Spain and Portugal long ago to parts of Brazil and Uruguay, where I see them every year for the holidays. Sometime in the late 90s, when I was a rather awkward 11-year-old tween, my dad came across a job opportunity in the US. My dad was a successful Engineer in Montevideo, where my mom, a Psychologist, had her own thriving private practice. As surprising as the news seemed to my older brother and I, my parents saw the move as an opportunity for our family to experience living abroad for just one year, and decided to go for it. We put our furniture in storage, packed our bags, and set off to the suburbs of South Florida (quite the culture shock for a city kid). …


Image for post
Image for post

Former Experience Designer at AirBnB

About this series —

Impostores is a series that explores the perspectives of diverse folks — outsiders, immigrants, and minorities — who reclaim the word from the Imposter Syndrome and wield it with pride every day.

Image for post
Image for post

What’s your immigration story? How did you get to where you are today?

My great grandparents migrated from Spain and Italy to Argentina at the beginning of the twentieth century. Argentina, like the rest of the American continent, was the land of opportunities. They left everything behind to start a new life.

I was born and raised in Buenos Aires and studied design there too, so I always lived in the same city. I always wondered what it would be like to live in another city. In 2010, I went to New York and spent 4 months there working as a freelancer. …


Image for post
Image for post

Senior Design Producer at Intercom

About this series —

Impostores is a series that explores the perspectives of diverse folks— outsiders, immigrants, and minorities—who reclaim the word from the Imposter Syndrome and wield it with pride every day.

Image for post
Image for post

How did you get to where you are today?

My grandmother immigrated to the US in the ’50s. She came from a farm town in Sinaloa, Mexico. She relocated to Las Vegas where she worked as a nanny. She met my grandfather through a friend who would translate their love letters to each other. They married within a year of meeting and moved to National City, where my family now lives. …


Image for post
Image for post

Mexican American Product Designer at Invision.

About this series —

Impostores is a series that explores the perspectives of diverse folks — outsiders, immigrants, and minorities — who reclaim the word from the Imposter Syndrome and wield it with pride every day.

Image for post
Image for post

What’s your family’s immigration story?

My family’s immigration story is probably atypical in the fabric of hispanic immigration stories to the U.S. My Mom is from Hamilton, Ohio and my Dad is from Mexico City. My siblings and I were all born abroad but since my Mom is American, we all had U.S. citizenship from the time we were born and it was very easy for my dad to get residency and later, citizenship. …


Image for post
Image for post
Image credit: 3D for Designers

A look into what happens when we design beyond a screen

Like many designers, I started my career as a Graphic Designer. I dealt in picas, carried Pantone books, and swore to measure twice and cut once. Then the web came along and with it came Web Designers. We had to become acquainted with HTML, CSS, Javascript and we’re still trying to keep up with the right way to build for it.

These websites quickly demanded more interaction from us when Flash entered the scene and conquered our hearts. We turned our attention to animation to convey expressive user flows through interaction design. Then, the iPhone showed up and forced us to think smaller. …

About

Gabriel Valdivia

Design Director at CNN // Prev Jigsaw, Google, and Facebook // Big fan of music, dogs, and bread.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store