AIGA SB is shining a spotlight on our membership in 2014 with our “Three Questions” series. Today’s star is Stef Miller, marketer at UserTesting, principal at Thinktapp, and founder of Relish Santa Barbara.
1) Are “good design” and “a good experience” mutually exclusive things, or is there a happy medium?
I believe that design is all-encompassing. Design, for me, is the epicenter of any experience. If something is intuitive, interesting, and delivers exactly on the experience it was intended for—is that not great design? As explorers we experience things. We are enthralled by the sensory pleasures of print, we spend countless hours on our favorite website, we use handheld video to share private moments with faraway friends. These are not simply designs we covet, these are complete experiences. There is definitely a happy medium where design and experience intersect, and that is what I call great design.
2) Do you have a favorite design or project that you feel best represents your creativity?
I haven’t been as hands-on with design over the past couple of years as I would like. I’m chuckling a little bit as I write this, because I can’t think of a standout project. I will say that the projects that have always been the most successful are those that were a collaboration. Relish is my current favorite. The exploration of photography and writing has really pushed me to identify with my creativity in new ways.
3) Relish Santa Barbara seems like an inspired mix of work and play. How did it come about?
When I moved here from New Mexico, Relish was a way to connect to all of my new experiences and teach myself new skills. It became a personal quest to find interesting things about Santa Barbara that not everyone knew about. I fell in love with the frog wall, the baby ducks at Alice Keck Park Garden, and the little free library next door to the Horny Toad offices. By pushing myself to discover my new city, I was able to adapt to my new life really quickly. In the process, I became a better communicator, photographer, coder, and—my favorite—travel agent.