Coworker #1: Jessie Farris

Jessie Farris, also known at “Jesaaaaaaaay” and “Dragon Drop” (put Drag and Drop through a midwestern filter and you get…) hails from South Dakota. She write a lovely blog, is literally always running races and is a smart designer with a great eye and an effortless aesthetic. You know how you look at designers who come up with compositions, colors and designs that seem so obvious when they do it, yet you know you never would have thought of it yourself? Jessie is like that, shaming us all with her sweet excellence.

“She pushes the envelope and is always trying to get the most hierarchical scale she can into a design.”

There’s a fine line to being opinionated as a designer. You can be constructive or destructive, you can be judgmental or you can be analytical. Jessie has a thoughtful opinion about all the design we look at while working and has a real talent for finding the silver lining in most work. She’s so good at calling out the good ideas and replacing the bad ones with something better. Jessie makes classic design with a modern aesthetic twist, and she’s capable of adapting styles to the project’s needs.

Jessie and I have worked on a lot of projects together at the MIL and it’s been so exciting to watch her apply her typography and branding skills to the mobile realm. I’m a firm believer of the idea that the things that make a designer good at one discipline can be used to help them adapt to new fields, and Jessie is proving that theory to be correct. She pushes the envelope and is always trying to get the most hierarchical scale she can into a design. She also has contributed something monumental in the way I work in mobile by establishing the aesthetic for the wireframing she does for mobile screens.

Wireframing and I don’t have a very pleasant past. I struggle to find the right level of fidelity to test and communicate ideas. Wireframes need to be created quirky while still having enough detail to be a reasonably accurate representation of the final design. When I started doing wireframes for mobile, I stuck to white backgrounds, black shapes, and dull, slapped-together typography. As marvelous as that sounds, it’s not a great way to get your idea across, and led to me being frustrated and just going right into full designs. Then, something magical happened. Jessie and I huddled at the end of a workday and she showed me the most lovely grayscale, low-res wireframes I’ve ever seen. They were easy to create, allowed for subtly in shading, and didn’t distract from the interaction ideas we were trying to demonstrate. It was a revelation. I’m not sure I’ll ever do wireframes any way other then the Farris method from now on. He eye for composition and subtlety put me to shame and I’m forever grateful.

Working with Jessie has taught me to look at what’s out there with a different analytical lens and I know she will continue to help us all as a team be better designers. Be sure to keep up with Jessie work on dribbble and her writings on her blog.

Photographs of Jessie are courtesy of Jeremy Barnes.