Go! Pause! Go! (Illustration by Andrew Wilshere).

Hey there, design reader!

Long time, no see! Welcome to week 20 of my UX Academy Journey, which has arrived at long last (and after a few weeks’ hiatus).

Having delved into the nitty-gritty of rapid color palette generation in the last post, this week I’m taking a step back, and reflecting on the individual nature of the creative process, mentorship, and how to gear your learning experience to your own unique goals.

Sometimes things do fall apart

As those of you that have been following the series may have guessed, Phase 2 of UX Academy is effectively a practice in rapid UX design. But — Murphy’s Law being…


Hey there, rainbow! (Illustration by Andrew Wilshere).

Hey there, design reader!

Welcome to week 19 of my UX Academy Journey, where things are really starting to get serious. Actually, who am I kidding — it’s been serious pretty much the whole time!

Last week we took a little break from our regular UX design programming to zoom out and discuss how the lessons from UX Academy translate into everyday life. The week before that was all about improving a rapid UX design practice. This week I would like to do the opposite and zoom in on and dissect one particular process that always trips me up: color palette selection!

Color theory is hard…

…just take…


My design states of mind in emojis. (Illustration by Andrew Wilshere).

Hey there, design reader!

Happy week 18 of my UX Academy Journey (or at least it is for me!).

It’s time again to take a little break from our regular UX design programming, and zoom back out to the big picture — by looking at how the lessons from this full-on world of UX Academy are being synthesized into everyday life.

Last week’s post was all about how to transform a design education into a rapid UX design practice. …


The Completion/Perfectionism Curve (Illustration by Andrew Wilshere).

Hey there, design reader!

Guess who’s back and blasting through Phase 2 of my UX Academy Journey? This aspiring UX designer is who!

A quick catch up on what’s been going on with the program thus far: With three back-to-back capstone projects (sort of like final projects that display both your design skills and the processes used all wrapped up into pretty portfolio pieces), Phase 2 is like the last leg of the marathon, to say the least. …


Professorial mentorship. (Illustration by Andrew Wilshere).

Hey there, design reader!

Welcome to Week 16 of my UX Academy Journey. Last week we discussed the intersection of art and design, where they diverge, and how this thinking plays into design learning. Now it’s time to take what we’ve learned and jump, head first, into the first of three capstone projects. Are you ready? (I am!)

Ah, Phase 2! What’s it all about? (Capstone projects!) What are they? …


Mondrian vs Mobile (Illustration by Andrew Wilshere).

Hey there, design reader!

Welcome to Week 15 of my UX Academy Journey. Last week we delved into personal branding, and took a tour through ten years of portfolio iterations on the Wayback Machine. As we move away from personal branding and towards preparation for the first of three Phase 2 capstone projects, it’s time to wax philosophical on art, design, and how to develop that design eye!

When I was a freshman in college, one of my first assignments for the student newspaper was to cover a gallery opening showcasing the thesis project of a graduate student in the visual arts program. Not…


The ghosts of past portfolios from way, way back. (Illustration by Andrew Wilshere).

Hey there, design reader!

Welcome to Week 14 of UX Academy! What a whirlwind! As you may remember, I rewarded myself for reaching the UX Academy halfway mark by taking a much-needed (and largely tech-free) vacation, which reminded me just how valuable downtime is in feeding both body and mind. Now, as I jump back into the coursework and start gearing up for the final phase, the very hefty task of personal branding is at the forefront — of both the curriculum and my brain space.

There’s no time to waste — whole careers are in the making (no pressure)!

A brand new world

We live in a…


A/B/C? (Illustration by Andrew Wilshere).

Hey there, design reader!

Last week we were discussing how a nice break from work does wonders for your mental state (and your productivity, once you’re back at it!) Let’s pick up right where we left off — exploring how folding UX design principles back into my other work has led to accelerating returns.

Ready? Set… Let’s go!

How user testing adds value to projects

Lately I’ve been approaching my existing client work from the perspective of a seasoned UX designer (well, a newbie half-faking it and learning as I go) — and I’ve noticed that both my processes and my work deliverables have vastly improved.

My marketing copy is cleaner…


Hello, streamlining! (Illustration by Andrew Wilshere).

Hey there, design reader!

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post — did you miss me? I most certainly missed you!

In my last entry I was just about wrapped up with Phase 1 of my UX Academy Journey, and celebrated reaching the halfway mark (almost) by taking off for an entire week of dedicated “unplug and play” on a beautiful tropical island. Now I’m back, and ready to ramp up again for Phase 2. Shall we jump right in?

Relax, Reset, Repeat

Boy, time flies, especially when you’re on vacation — though, I must admit, it first appeared to slow to a halt…


Time for a little unplug and play! (Illustration by Andrew Wilshere).

Hey there, design reader!

Welcome to week 11 (actually, more like week 12) of my UX Academy Journey — the halfway point! Huzzah! If you’re a fellow UXA student in the Weingart cohort, go ahead and give yourself a high-five. It’s been a long road and you deserve it! And if you’re in another cohort, or just an enthusiastic follower of these posts, also give yourself a high five for being awesome and supporting this journey with your readership. Thank you!

After three months of rigorous study, we students are given the chance to take a break week — and break I, for one…

Thea Chard

I'm a writer, editor and designer live/working in Seattle. Designlab UX Academy student. Nat Towsen’s Downtown Variety Hour (at UCB East!) producer-at-large.

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