PRINT’s latest Designer of the Week, Seattle-based Bethany Heck, is the creative lead for the Microsoft Power BI team and enjoys putting her traditional design education to use in new media. Her work has been featured in New York Magazine, the New Yorker, Wired and several other international publications. Read on for a peek into her mind as she makes some important observations about the design industry.
Name: Bethany Heck
Design school attended: Auburn University
How would you describe your work?
Melding modern trends and historical influences
Where do you find inspiration?
I love to go antiquing and badge hunting, particularly in the world of sports. Ceramic makers marks, military insignia and baseball ephemera are my favorite sources of inspiration right now.
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?
The Eephus League is the thing I’ve created that I’m most proud of. Not every designer has the opportunity to take a student project into the real world, so to create the Eephus League scorebooks and have them become a reality based on two successful Kickstarter campaigns was a very humbling experience. The Eephus League is my opportunity to create tactical objects, try new things and celebrate my love of baseball.
Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
Working on Power BI at Microsoft has been the most challenging job I’ve had, but I think it’s helped me grow the most as well. My role there is essentially that of a creative director, and I oversee UX decisions, established our branding, ensure UI fit and finish and am establishing our style guide of common components and UX patterns. It’s forced me to be a better mentor, communicator, and to learn so much about product design, data visualizations and the complicated field of business intelligence.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I want to make a positive impact on other designers, whether that’s by providing them useful resources, liked a tagged archive of design pieces, sharing stories of my own experiences in agencies and corporations, or by mentoring and teaching. If I can get someone else to look at design conventions in a new light or help designers in general fight for more respect and control at their jobs, I will feel like I’ve made a good use of my own career.
What’s your best advice for designers today?
I have serious concerns about the way the majority of startups, branding and ad agencies are treating their designers right now. Design is a very valued asset at this point in time, and you are a trained professional, not a special snowflake with a made-up job title and finger-paints. Just because a place has a cool office and beer in the fridge doesn’t mean you need to be working 60-hour weeks for below-average pay and no benefits. Respect yourself and your profession, and work at a place that values designers and includes them in every step of their process, not just at the end where all that’s left to do is decoration.
Additional work by Heck:
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