About Me (The Long Version!)

ust to preface, this is more of an essay, rather than an About page. I couldn’t contain the things I love in only a paragraph! 

My name’s Andrea, and I design things at the crossroads of aesthetics and functionality. I take colors, text, and imagery, and arrange them in a way that makes sense. The main reason I decided to study design is because I’m fascinated by the power of imagery to change minds. I’ve always wanted to make a positive impact on the world and push the boundaries of daily experiences. There’s no doubt that good design can do just that. 

I went to Truman State University, which is one of the top liberal arts colleges in the midwest, where I got my BFA in Visual Communications. Upon graduation, I was looking for a change of pace and adventure. I moved out west to California for an internship at Hewlett-Packard as an Application Engineer. That internship lasted 6 months, then in December, I transitioned over to a full time employee as a VX Designer. I like being on the cusp of new technology, which is why I was so excited to start my first real job at a tech company. VX stands for Visual Experience, which is different than UX (I’ll save that for another day!). 

I work with all kinds of designers and developers on a daily basis. I enjoy collaborating with coworkers and clients who are engaged and excited about design and want to connect with audiences authentically. When a team vibes well together and designs in a forward-thinking way, it can be a driving force behind technological progress. I believe that every interaction a user has can and should be met with ease, simplicity, and beauty- this creates an overall enjoyable experience.

When I’m not working on designs, I enjoy getting out in the world with my fiancé, Steve! We’re amateur foodies and love trying new restaurants. I especially love asian cuisine and Korean BBQ, although I’m still terrible at chopsticks! Steve and I got engaged in September of this year in Chicago. We’d been dating for 5 years prior, and met right before Junior year of college. We happened to live on the same floor in our dorm, but it wasn’t until a mutual friend introduced us that we started hanging out. 

We also love taking weekend road trips. In 2017, we’ve gone to the Grand Tetons, Salt Lake City, and Chicago. On another trip, my family and I went on a road trip out west through a bunch of states. Check out this post for info about that trip! 

This year I’ve also started running, and Steve and I ran a half marathon together in Chicago. If you’re looking for one thing that could change your life, I recommend running. Not only does your body become physically stronger, but mentally you build up the discipline that inevitably spills over into other areas of your life. Check out this postfor the full story about the half!

I love long challenges like training for the half marathon or doing a Daily UI Challenge. Casey Neistat, everyone’s favorite Youtuber, always says that the thing that propelled his success was doing daily vlogging, and I think anyone can take this approach to whatever you want to learn. Focusing on the same skill every day both makes you better and faster at your craft, but also spreads awareness of what you’re doing.

Being disciplined when learning a new skill is a task in itself. I’m a big fan of behavioral psychology and the Stoic way of thinking. Stoicism has taught me a lot about maintaining discipline even when motivation has faded. A book I particularly recommend is the Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. 

I love browsing the GetDisciplined subreddit on Reddit in my free time; there are lots of references to Stoicism there! Some of my other favorite subreddits are MealPrepSunday (great recipes!), RoomPorn (houses I wish I had!), and anything with cute animals! If I’m not on Reddit, you might also find me browsing Medium. I love the UXPlanet section about design.

I also usually have a few side projects going on like the ones on the Personal Works page. The type of side projects that I love are usually focused around making something. Anything from photography to lettering to screenprinting; I love trying it all! One skill I’m currently trying to learn as much as I can about is videography. If you have any resources or tips, send them my way!

Another important thing to know about me is that I love kittens! I have a cat named Sprinkles, who I adopted in June this year. She was born on St. Patrick’s Day, so she’s a lucky cat. She’s the cutest little thing! I got her because I work remotely and I wanted a buddy to hang out with while I work. She was quite a handful at first, but she’s calmed down a lot since then! She follows me around to every room, which most people would think is annoying, but I still find endearing.

One last fun fact about me is that I’m a big advocate of organization and minimalism. I love reading about minimalist living and techniques. If you’re one of the few people who hasn’t read Marie Kondo’s ‘Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’, I have to recommend it. Life is always better organized! From my closet to my pantry to my desk, I prefer only the necessities. A few of my favorite brands to shop at are Everlane and Madewell for their minimalist, no-nonsense and effortlessly chic style. Organization is also a big deal when designing. I keep all of my folders meticulously arranged so anything can be found quickly and easily. Everything from the filenames to the assets to the file architecture all work together to make a project move along smoothly. 

I could keep going on about things that I love, but I’ll stop now. At the heart of it all, I think design is a part of everything I do. I enjoy solving problems, and design thinking is a way to do that. I like the sense of satisfaction that comes with figuring out a complex question. Those questions that designers ask ourselves feed into the experience of billions of people around the world that use our interfaces. Today’s bombardment of endless digital consumption makes it taxing to weed through all of the choices. Designers have the power to encourage the right decisions, and we seek to improve the human condition.

If you’d like to keep following my activities, I blogdribbble, and make playlists on spotify.

randomthoughtsAndrea Hock