Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Jeff Patterson

Four propane patio heaters. Eight rows of chairs. Six types of chip dip. Several beer kegs, one big projection screen and, altogether, one great night of tailgate-style learning and networking. More than 160 local digital and design professionals representing over 15 companies, as well as two dozen students from local colleges and universities, gathered in the Swanson Russell parking lot on Thursday, Nov. 1 to see “Designer & UX’s Role in Crafting Design Systems” presented by Josh Clark, the founder of New York’s Big Medium design studio.

User Experience (UX) design is a key part of marketing and communications as digital technology grows and integrates with daily life. Clark’s presentation covered how design systems are the new hotness for helping designers, developers and marketers roll out beautiful, cohesive applications faster than ever before. 

“We live in a connected world. Whether it’s something you see on a screen, or something you talk to like Siri, those are systems that we need to design to be simple and efficient to use,” said Johnny Le, senior vice president and director of digital services at Swanson Russell, which hosted Clark’s presentation, as well as a hot-off-the-grill dinner and networking opportunities for participants.

As the Silicon Prairie continues to grow, Le said, what better way to support our local tech community, professionals and students than by bringing in one of the industry’s top UX and design leaders. Clark has headlined cutting-edge digital conferences across the United States, and spoken to communications and tech professionals in more than 20 countries. In fact, Clark was on his way to Berlin just eight hours after the event finished. 

“He came here between speaking engagements in Norway and Germany, which says a lot about where our state is headed in the future of digital technology,” Le said.

As the founder of his own digital design agency, Clark’s insights also extended across the marketing and communications industry into daily tasks such as managing client expectations or determining how much time a team needs to complete projects. In addition to the presentation, Swanson Russell also offered tours of the agency’s office to participants and provided students with resumé and portfolio reviews.

Josh Clark is a UX designer and design leader who helps organizations build products for what’s next. He is the founder of Big Medium, a New York design studio specializing in future-friendly interfaces for artificial intelligence, connected devices and responsive websites. His clients include Samsung, Time Inc., ExxonMobil,, TechCrunch, Entertainment Weekly, eBay, O’Reilly Media and many others. Josh is the author of several books, including “Designing for Touch” from A Book Apart and “Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps” from O’Reilly Media.