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Meet Designer: Charlie Gedeon

Charlie Gedeon

I help ambitious teams realize their vision by asking questions, conducting research, and creating digital prototypes.

My job title?

Product designer and Co-founder

What is your typical "day in the life of a designer"?

Until recently I was often the only designer in a team. I'd work directly with the founders to build the first version of a product. Most of my day is spent communicating. People think design is about sitting around moving pixels, but I've found over and over that it's mostly communication. Whether it’s asking hard questions, getting feedback on the designs, coordinating with developers, or jumping in with marketing, there’s always someone that needs their concerns addressed or their ideas heard.

Design principles you live by?

1. Context is king.

2. Always seek inspiration but don’t make it your bible.

3. Communicate frequently and clearly.

4. Feedback from a colleague says more about them than the work.

5. There’s no innovation without getting weird.

What problem can't you stop thinking about?

Isolation and teenage suicide. All else is for nought if our youth feels hopeless and people feel alone. There are stats that show only one in two people in the North America can say they have one close friend. Imagine that! Half of the population can’t think of a single close friend. It makes me incredibly sad… Especially when you consider that loneliness is shown to be worse than smoking for your health. It’s no wonder we see the rise of magical thinking and cult-like behaviour. Everyone is just searching for meaning in a world that moves too fast for anyone to stop and genuinely ask “how are you?”

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Advice is very contextual so, it depends… Ha! A designer’s favourite two words. I recently learned from a therapist that I say “should” too much. Her reason for why that may be a negative thing is because I'm holding myself to ideals that may not be my own. At first I didn't believe it, so I went back and read my journals and it is very true. Now I try to think of what I really mean when I say should. Do I want to do something but dread the perceived effort? I.e. working out. Or am I doing something to fulfill someone else’s vision of what’s right? I.e. when to settle down.

When is "Design done wrong"?

Most design has gone wrong even when it’s worthy of praise. Design is a field that has an inherent conflict at its core. We are trained to create solutions in a world that has too much stuff and too little attention. Anything we make comes at the cost of creating trash (hardware) or draining more attention (software). Unfortunately I don’t have coherent solutions to what can be done about any of it.

What skill do you wish you picked up really early on?

Patience. To this day I struggle with waiting for results from my efforts. The world rewards consistent effort over long periods of time, and so without patience there is little room for meaningful rewards.

Design tools you can’t live without? (Physical and/or digital)

Digitally, Figma and Alfred are life changing. The first because it revolutionized collaboration in our field. The second because of much time it saves me searching for files.

Physically, I can’t help but have a nice pen and Japanese paper nearby to scribble on.

Books you highly recommend for anyone pursuing a career in design?

Figure It Out by Stephen P. Anderson is phenomenal.

(Design is the perfect marriage between curiosity and craft, and this book is one of the rare ones that focuses on psychology that is applicable to designers.)

Engaged by Amy Bucher

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman (Too cliche?)

Two Designer friends you admire and we should talk to!

The first person that comes to mind is my business partner, Allan MacDonald. Beyond UX/UI, he's an incredible illustrator and has a knack for making any conversation feel at once heartfelt and weird.

The second is Sena Partal. She's able to ask the perfect question at any given moment and perceive nuances in behaviour invisible to anyone else.

Where and What did you study?


Interaction Design Programme

Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. Denmark

Unofficially: Photoshop forums during middle school.

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