Table of Contents

Yannell Rodriguez

Design Thinker.


STATUS: 10% completion of redesign.
Expected completion: 3 weeks.
In-progress: The linkage system & imagery integration

Quick Synopsis

I'm a UX & Interaction Designer. I dream. I believe in pushing and moving forward. I'm an advocate for major innovative leaps in technology. I don't like to be pigeonholed into one skillset. There are times when I'll be knees deep in analytical data and there are times when I'll get my hands dirty to paint and setup photo scenes. I like startups because it caters to my needs as a designer. I wake at 5:30am everyday to do some type of sketch, sometimes it's in a sketchbook and sometimes they are snippets of code. I like to have design conversations, brainstorm through ideas, read books, craft, photograph, I'm a designer at heart.

Tools I use

Coffee, Espresso's, Pen and Paper, Glue, Post-its, Sketchbook, Balsamiq, Markers, Cupcakes, Aptana, Photoshop, Illustrator, CrazyEgg, ClickTale, Google Analytics, MacBook, iMac, Wacom, Alfred, Dropbox, Spotify, Chrome, Silverback, Alfred, Sketchbooks

Why I do what I do

I like making things. I like making things online and offline. I like making things because I want to contribute to the world. I want to solve problems, big problems. I believe in working towards a vision. I like creating things that haven't been done before. I like getting my hands on new tech like the Leap Motion. I daydream all the time about all the awesome things I could build if I could clone myself into a developer, scientist, architect, etc. etc.

Things that get me up in the morning

I'm a very passionate person. Once an idea taps into my passions, I will push and push until I can't push myself anymore. I have a passion for change and innovation. I'm at a point in my life when some of these ideas are starting to come into fruition. One of those is the idea of reading in an interactive world. Unfortunately, reading gets put on the backburner at many companies because it rarely has a direct affect on revenue. Fortunately, I'm a big believer in that reading makes all the difference in the world when it's properly designed.

I'm also a big believe in bettering the world. I find it difficult to work on projects that have no positive value. I'm at Birchbox because I believe in the business model. I work on my side projects because I truly believe it's going to help people. One day, I'll hopefully get to work on bigger world problems like helping in redesigning the education system or helping the world live a healthier lifestyle or working on the next generation of content platforms.

About Me

I often get asked where my name comes from.. if you must know - my mother made it up. I find that little piece of info awesome and entertaining because it really does define who I am as a person and as a designer. The second most common question is where I'm from. I'm from El Paso, TX, few minutes north of Juarez, Mexico. I grew up in a rather unique city... I spent my days in El Paso and my evenings in Juarez.

Here's a little bit of history of how I ended up in the position that I'm in now. My dad was an engineer in Juarez so he had access to all the latest and greatest at the time. When we were very young he gave me and my siblings a computer and a laptop, back then we played around with PowerPoint. Sometime in middle school, I started playing around with HTML and making Geocities sites, hah! A little bit later, my brother went to college at USC to study engineering. He came back one vacation period and handed over a Deitel & Deitel C++ How to Program book. O_O As you might imagine.. I picked up the book and then stuffed it in a shelf somewhere after attempting my first "hello world" program. High school comes around and I end up in Computer Science learning Java, winning UIL contests, hah, who woulda known that I would have fallen in love. Concurrently, I was drawing a lot, making a lot of typographical projects for class, getting really hands on with materials, making characters, joined the Tech Club, built a rocket car (with real tools), learned MAYA and Rhinoceros, began to create 3D objects and as I was applying to college… I had NO FUCKING CLUE of what my major could be.

I wanted to be an animator. I had drawings of monsters wayyyy before Monsters, Inc. came out (fav movie ever). The problem was that there were no schools! The closest school I could go to was in Houston but who the wants to live in Houston? I sure didn't.. I also didn't have 30k to pay for school. What ended up happening was that I ended up going to the cheapest school in Texas (University of North Texas) because it had a GREAT communication design program and a decent Computer Science program. So I double majored.

Here's where the fun begins. Both programs were equally intensive- as in, you had to do 500 thumbnails by next week and you have to figure out how to do a 7-segment display. It didn't help that the art teachers would give me shit for being in Computer Science and the Computer Science teachers would scoff at my design career path. It was painful. However, the farther that I went along, I realized that I was absolutely in love with having the time to do whatever I wanted. Computer Science might have given me a gigantic salary but at the end of the day, money doesn't drive me, nor has it ever driven me, nor will it ever drive me. There was something about working in the design industry that really grabbed my attention, I would get the ability to be creative, to have the freedom to travel, to splatter paint on walls, to get my hands dirty, use machines, sweat, live.

To be continued...

Interests

Reading

I love to read. I read books, I read blogs, I read magazines. I love the concept of reading. I love everything about it. I love the design of reading. I love the idea that a reader has an easier time reading with larger serif type. I find it interesting that layout has such an immense impact on the way people read and the way they are able to process ideas. I find it interesting that the choice of type plays a huge role in the cognition of a reader. I find it amazing at how one word can have so many meanings, i.e. love. I wrote my college thesis on reading and cognition. If you get me talking about this, I can go on forever.

Innovation

I can’t even begin to explain how much of myself gets poured into innovation. I wake up at 5:30am every single day so that I can have at least a couple of hours to work on experimental things. You can’t get the freedom to innovate at work, it’s very difficult, so I do it on my own. I have LeapMotion coming in July and I hope that I can start experimenting with it. New Technology excites me, the idea of the future, moving forward, learning from the past to make the new, giant leaps in progress are all so incredibly important that it’s an integral piece of who I am. So, I find it interesting when companies hire me and expect me to work on very standard products because that’s not who I am, I’m easily bored by micro optimizations.

Design

I’m a big believer that in order to be happy, one must design their own lives. I love design. I don’t think people understand. I really love all aspects of design. You know how a person will begin to salivate at the sight of chocolate and an overwhelming feeling goes through your body? Something inside becomes excited, that’s me, I get that feeling every time I see a perfectly proportioned letter ‘C’, or when a layout is so damn sexy, or when I run my fingers on the grain of a beautifully built credenza or when someone will exploit human interactive patterns. That’s stellar... that’s absolutely stellar. It’s fascinating that some companies are able to use these patterns wisely. Like the way Target will sandwich diaper coupons in between irrelevant coupons to soon-to-be-moms. It’s like.... haha, I know that you’re going to use this coupon but I don’t want you to know that I know, so I’ll stick it in between two coupons that make no sense so that you think you weren’t target, but you werrreeeee! :-D amazing! I also love the way cities design their cultures but that’s an entirely different conversation that might go on forever.

Photography [two parts]

A. I don’t care much for commercial photography, what interests me is how an artistic photographer can pour out so many emotions into a single photograph. The ability to capture atmosphere in a still is amazing. Favorite photographer: Sophie Calle. B. I also love to take my own photographs. I have an old russian camera, three polaroid cameras and my Yashica (medium format). I have hundreds and hundreds of photos

Cooking

Cooking is a weird one for me because I didn’t grow up liking to cook, in fact, I really stayed away from it. The funny thing about growing up is that cooking is essential and you need it to survive. I learned something in this process of learning how to cook. I learned that it’s more than just cooking! haha, isn’t that silly!? There’s a lof of care and love that goes into every meal and because I’m seeing what’s being cooked in front of me, meal patterns begin to shift. All of a sudden, the plate of fries drowned in mozzarella cheese that I used to tell my gramma to make, is now a little bit unappealing. All of a sudden, buying the freshest ingredients is more important, making dinners with my boyfriend becomes more important, crafting a dish with the right plates and the right cups with the right setup is much more important.

Work

Birchbox

Refinery29

Interior Design Magazine

Warby Parker

GeoGraffiti