Hi Brian, tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hi! My name is Brian. I was born in Korea and moved to the states when I was very young (specifically Huntsville, Alabama) and spent most of my childhood there. I moved back to Korea due to some immigration problems and stayed there until I was 19. Needless to say, it was a drastic change, but the experience gave me exposure to Korean culture, and now I'm pretty fluent in Korean. I also spent two years in the Korean military, which helped me grow as a person. I'm now based in Vancouver, Canada currently going through immigration to become a Canadian.
I've been a UX/UI designer since 2014, and I'm a firm believer that design can change the way people think and behave. Great design can positively impact this world, and staying in the front line of that change excites me. I enjoy the process of exploring the unknown and creating something that will eventually help solve problems in this world.
Outside of my design realm, I have many hobbies, including 3D modeling/rendering, working out, coding, gaming, playing the piano, and most recently, learning about music production. My all-time favorite game would be The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 🙌
Can you tell us what you do as a Senior UX Designer at Unity for those who are unfamiliar?
I work full-time at Unity Technologies as a Senior UX designer. You can think of our team as an agency within the company that works with clients to create XR (AR/VR/MR) solutions that solve various industry problems. We get to work with cutting-edge tech, and that is one thing that brought me to Unity.
Every project comes with different team members and industry problems to solve, and that dynamic challenges me as a designer. I interact with everybody on the project team, including internal employees along with client stakeholders.
Being a designer within our team means that you'll probably be touching each part of the design process, from requirements gathering and user research to visual design and prototyping. The XR design process is slightly different from traditional screen UI design, which excites me!
How did you decide to pursue design? What pivotal moments pushed you to where you are now?
I know I've always wanted to do something creative, but I wasn't sure exactly what until I decided to go to an art school here in Vancouver called Emily Carr University. I started as a communication design student and eventually stumbled upon interaction design. The merge between technology and art was a great fit, and I immediately fell in love.
My first job was at a startup that gave me exposure to the business side of a product. This experience made me realize that I love creating products from scratch and having exposure to everything outside of design that helps build a product, including project management, development, and business. I joined a few startups and agencies afterwards that helped me satisfy these cravings.
I consider myself a lifelong learner and learned many things outside of my full-time jobs. This slowly shaped who I am as a designer today.
What programs & tools do you use everyday for work? What do you like/dislike about these programs?
I use ...
• Figma for UX/UI design
• LucidChart for UX design
• Blender for 3D modeling
• VSCode and Webflow for front-end development
• After Effects, Protopie, and Unity for prototyping
I love Figma as a product because it's available on all platforms and a fantastic tool for collaboration and maintaining a design system. The new Figjam feature excites me since it's one step towards reducing another tool I have to use during the design process. Also, auto layout FTW!
Any advice on how to stand out and get hired for those starting off?
Include your personality and your thought process in your work and try to communicate that effectively. Not all design processes are the same.
What have you done and why?
What was your takeaway, and how did that inform the next step?
What were the problems you were trying to solve, and how does the final design solve that?
These are all questions that should be included in your portfolio. Also, keep things as concise and straightforward as possible. Lastly, be genuine and keep that fire in your belly. You can teach others design skills, but you can't teach them passion.
What are some must-have resources (books, tools, podcasts, etc.) you would recommend for your industry?
- Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
- Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug
- 99% Invisible
- New Layer
- Design Better Podcast
The Hipper Elements UX Crash Course is also a great way to learn about the overall design process
What are 3 character traits that would make someone excel in your field?
Passion, empathy, and curiosity
Most satisfying & difficult thing about your job?
Problem-solving. It feels great to help others with their problems. I'm a workaholic, so staying away from work and sleeping has been challenging.
What would you like to say to your younger self?
Stay humble and passionate, and you'll eventually figure things out along the way. If you don't know something, don't be scared to ask questions. Reach out to others for help.
Best advice you've received/heard?
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." -Steve Jobs