SND35: Meet the Best of Digital Design judges

The backbone of SND35 digital judging is, of course, the judges. Along with the coordinators of this year’s event in Indianapolis, these professionals have sorted through and evaluated entries from publications worldwide and across platforms. Who are these design gurus? Find out here:

Judges

Kaitlin Yarnall is deputy creative director at National Geographic

Q: What do you do when you’re in a creative funk?
A: Take a walk.

Q: What is your best piece of advice?
A: Go with your gut.

Q: What’s your favorite design tool, and why?
A: Post it notes and a sharpie – they force simplification of ideas.

Q: If you could have coffee with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
A: Paul Salopek. He’s the coolest guy in the world.

Ted Irvine is senior director of design at Vox Media

Q: What do you do when you’re in a creative funk?
A: I just relax, take a walk, talk to co workers about anything but work.

Q: What is your best piece of advice?
A: Enjoy what you do, do what you enjoy.

Q: What’s your favorite design tool, and why?
A: The glass walls in our office.

Q: If you could have coffee with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
A: My grandfather – never got to meet him.

Chiqui Esteban is graphics director at The Boson Globe

Q: What do you do when you’re in a creative funk?
A: Take a pencil and paper, draw doodles.

Q: What is your best piece of advice?
A: Edit and edit.

Q: What’s your favorite design tool, and why?
A: A whiteboard, where you can draw without fear because you can always get rid of everything and start again.

Q: If you could have coffee with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
A: I’m quite shy. I guess I would end up having coffee with someone I admire we won’t talk much. So I’d rather go with someone I already know and have fun.

Len DeGroot is director of data visualization at The Los Angeles Times

Q: What do you do when you’re in a creative funk?
A: Take a walk.

Q: What is your best piece of advice?
A: Edit to the point of discomfort.

Q: What’s your favorite design tool, and why?
A: Pencil and paper because I can iterate quickly through multiple designs before starting to build.

Q: If you could have coffee with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
A: Howard Zinn. Would love to get his take on modern events.

Josh Keller is graphics editor at The New York Times

Q: What do you do when you’re in a creative funk?
A: Get away from the computer.

Q: What is your best piece of advice?
A: Don’t over think it.

Q: What’s your favorite design tool, and why?
A: Pen & paper.

Q: If you could have coffee with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
A: My grandfather.

Meg Martin is associate editor at Minnesota Public Radio

Q: What do you do when you’re in a creative funk?
A: Walk. Or take a long, windy, get-lost-a-little drive.

Q: What is your best piece of advice?
A: Don’t forget to be curious — on behalf of yourself *and* your readers(/viewers/listeners/community).

Q: What’s your favorite design tool, and why?
A: Sharpie and paper.

Q: If you could have coffee with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
A: My great-grandmas — together.

Danny DeBelius is a news applications developer at National Public Radio

Q: What do you do when you’re in a creative funk?
A: Crank Thelonious.

Q: What is your best piece of advice?
A: Keep iterating!

Q: What’s your favorite design tool, and why?
A: Sublime Text & Chrome. The sooner I’m working with the raw materials, the better.

Q: If you could have coffee with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
A: G.K. Chesterton. Hilarious journalist and theologian.

Sisi Wei is a news application developer at ProPublica

Q: What do you do when you’re in a creative funk?
A: I stop thinking about it. I take a walk, read the news, or look at random things on the Internet. Then come back with a fresh look at what was giving me problems.

Q: What is your best piece of advice?
A: Don’t hold yourself back.

Q: What’s your favorite design tool, and why?
A: A graphing notebook. Dot grid, white lines, or just a normal graphing notebook, the ability to sketch with gridlines to guide you makes sketches look clean and proportional, but give you the freedom to draw whatever you’d like, uninhibited by technology.

Q: If you could have coffee with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
A: This one’s tough — there’s too many great people I’d love to meet. Even fictional ones too.

Alex Bordens is assistant editor of news applications at The Chicago Tribune

Q: What do you do when you’re in a creative funk?
A: Listen to Notorious B.I.G.

Q: What is your best piece of advice?
A: Challenge yourself to learn new things and stick with it.

Q: What’s your favorite design tool, and why?
A: Pencil and paper. It’s easy to quickly bounce between ideas and collaborate. Any detailed mockup implies a defined starting point. A blank piece of paper will never do that.

Q: If you could have coffee with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
A: James Bond.

Fernando Diaz is managing editor at Hoy Chicago

Q: What do you do when you’re in a creative funk?
A: Go for a walk, preferably with my dog.

Q: What is your best piece of advice?
A: Work hard. No sleepwalking.

Q: What’s your favorite design tool, and why?
A: Screenshots with annotations.

Q: If you could have coffee with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
A: Lewis Lapham.

Yuri Victor is senior UX designer at Vox Media

Q: What do you do when you’re in a creative funk?
A: Fix small things. Little bugs, little things that have annoyed me, a wrong color, an old icon, a broken link. Tiny becomes big. Keeping active, the brain weaves. New connections and pathways are activated and creativity ensues.

Q: What is your best piece of advice?
A: 1) Don’t listen to pundits on journalism. The people most vocal about where journalism should go have the least responsibility to take us there. 2) Assholes, idiots and devil’s advocates are everywhere. Learn how to deal with them or they’ll plague you forever. 3) It’s easy to say yes. Yes to another assignment, yes to an early deadline, yes to a bad idea, yes, yes, yes. Yes traps your life into appeasing other for ideas you don’t enjoy. Learn to say no. 4) Make time for your own success. No one else will. 5) Be loud. Never be afraid to stand up for your ideas or beliefs. 6) Never stop learning. 7) Have multiple skills. You’ll be happier and more hireable. 8) Move your feet. Expirement. Fail. And you will fail. Learn to fail fast, fail faster, fail better. Fail until you succeed. 9) Find a mentor. Absorb as much from them as possible. 10) Be the future. Journalism is in a state of disruption. You have the power to mold where we go. Stand up. Change journalism and in so doing change the world.

Q: What’s your favorite design tool, and why?
A: Javascript

Q: If you could have coffee with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
A: Ben Franklin. Beers. Innovation.

Stephen Beard is senior news artist at The Indianapolis Star

Q: What do you do when you’re in a creative funk?
A: Go for a long run.

Q: What is your best piece of advice?
A: Keep your eyes open and talk to strangers.

Q: What’s your favorite design tool, and why?
A: The pencil. It’s tactile and never needs a reboot.

Q: If you could have coffee with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
A: Eugene V. Debs. I could see him leading the coffee shop in revolt.

Event Coordinators

Tyson Evans is deputy editor of interactive news at The New York Times
Joey Marburger is director of digital products and design at The Washington Post

Directors of Best Of Digital Design Competition

Jeremy Gilbert is deputy director of digital at National Geographic
Ryan Sparrow is an instructor of journalism at Ball State University


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