Design Team T-Shirt Illustration

Meet Alley the Octopus and their crabby friend (who apparently hasn't had coffee yet)!

It had been a few years since our last run of NI Product Design team T-shirts (designed in 2015 by the fantastic Ty Hudgins). Ty sent out a call to anyone interested in ideating and collaborating on a new design for 2021. Originally thinking I'd only be bringing my opinions and moral support, I took him up on that invitation. After our first meeting, I was so energized by all the external inspiration everyone brought to the table that I had to start my own ideation process.

I created a list of things that make our team unique: a previous team mascot, Uxey the Octopus (or UXtopus); music; cold-brew coffee; whiteboards. All these things are part of our team's history and DNA. Based on that list, I started sketching out concepts. I mixed and matched ideas until I had a direction I was excited about.

Armed with my iPad, Apple Pencil, and Procreate (tools I haven't had an opportunity to use for a long time), I dove into the initial sketch. By the time our next T-shirt meeting happened, I had a pretty decent start to the illustration. Nevertheless, as illustration has only ever been a side hobby for me, I was nervous to share my work with the actual Visual Designers on our team. I had no reason to be anxious. Our team was as supportive as ever, and with a few suggestions for continued exploration, I left that meeting excited to continue embellishing the illustration.

A few weeks later, our group had several amazing design concepts. I have no doubt that we will use all these designs (and new ones) in future shirts. Who knows, we might even do a team jumpsuit! (Kidding.) I feel incredibly honored and humbled that my illustration was chosen to be used for our first run of T-shirts, and I can't wait to share what they look like, along with Ty's many explorations of different colorways.

As an aside, I'm an Interaction Designer by trade, currently a UX Manager on this talented team of Interaction Designers, Visual Designers, UX Researchers, and Technical Illustrators at NI. As evidenced by the fact that as an IxD and manager I had the privilege of collaborating on the T-shirts and being the illustrator of this first shirt design, we value the principle "Ideas from Anywhere" on our team. If you're a UX/Interaction Designer or UX Researcher and you'd like to learn more about joining our team, we've got a handful of positions currently open that you can check out here: Senior UX Interaction Designer, UX Interaction Designer, and Senior UX Researcher.

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