Northwestern University students Rebecca Lai and Hilary Fung asked the Best of Digital judges a few questions in their spare time. Stephanie Stamm illustrated their portraits once again.
BEST OF DESIGN JUDGES
Jonathon Berlin, Chicago Tribune and SND president
Job title: Graphics Editor
Favorite App: ESPN Score Center, and I probably can’t live without Pandora.
What inspires you? All sorts of stuff. Jogging. The visual world. Newspaper and magazines. Stuff. I constantly try to expose myself to new stuff, but you also have to give yourself time to process and digest it. Read, read, read. Look. Watch. Expand. Give yourself the chance to think.
Where do you go when you get stuck? I scribble and sketch. I am a big scribbler. I automatically think spatially, to see how pieces fit together. It’s also useful to talk things through; saying it in a definitive way can help put things in perspective. My dad used to say, “When you’re the most frustrated is probably the closest you’ll be to solving the problem.”
Song that describes you: “Thriller” by Michael Jackson
Brain food: Trail mix, spaghetti. I can probably eat spaghetti my whole life.
Advice you live by: Be positive. Find solutions. Press. Press. Press. Press. Press. Keep learning all the time. Have fun.
Chiqui Esteban, Lainformacion.com
Job title: Digital narrative director
Favorite App: Twitter
What inspires you? New York Times — the way they deal with information
Where do you go when you get stuck? Talk with the writer, specialists on the topic. Find out what’s important about the story.
Song that describes you: “Lady of a Certain Age” by Divine Comedy
Brain food: Coffee, lots and lots of coffee
Advice you live by: Enjoy what you are doing.
Brian Ellcierto, The Globe and Mail
Job title: Lead design for all digital products for the Globe and Mail
Favorite App: Jetsetter, Facebook, GarageBand
What inspires you? People who have a clear sense of mission
Where do you go when you get stuck? I shut my brain, go fishing or go for a walk.
Song that describes you: “Sanctus 8” by Mozart
Brain food: I don’t eat when I design.
Advice you live by: Indulge myself, and be happy.
Tyson Evans, New York Times
Job title: Deputy Editor for Interactive News
Favorite App: Instapaper
What inspires you? I’m most intrigued to look at design decision from high-profile companies like Facebook and Apple. They have an ability to make people learn new behaviors that I’m fascinated by.
Where do you go when you get stuck? Usually to get some coffee.
Song that describes you: An album I go to when I have a lot of work to do is OK Computer.
Brain food: Hummus
Advice you live by: The Steve Jobs quote: “Design is how it works.”
Jeremy Gilbert, Northwestern
Job title: Associate Professor of Media Product design
Favorite App: NPR News, Wunderlist, Wunderkit, 1Password
What inspires you? Architecture. I like to look at interior and exterior design, the design of spaces.
Where do you go when you get stuck? I like to move around, walk around. Seeing the space outside.
Song that describes you: “The High Road” by Broken Bells
Brain food: Triscuits
Advice you live by: Seek out interesting companions.
Jennifer George-Palilonis, Ball State University
Job title: George & Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Multimedia
Favorite App: NPR
What inspires you? Students. We are living in a very inspiring time — the new technology available, multimedia tools.
Where do you go when you get stuck? Clean the house. Vacuum.
Song that describes you: “Talk on Indolence” by Avett Brothers
Brain food: I don’t eat when I work. I eat when I’m done!
Advice you live by: Care about what you do. Be passionate about love and family.
Sara Quinn, Poynter Institute
Job title: Visual journalism faculty
Favorite App: AroundMe
What inspires you? Art work, paintings. […] To discover how people inspired each other is really inspiring.
Where do you go when you get stuck? I feed off of people. I go to other people to kick ideas around; I get energy from people. […] I’ll yell and they can hear me, or I’ll dial someone up.
Song that describes you: An old song called “The Mighty Quinn,” just because of my name.
Brain food: Typography, words and things that make me laugh
Advice you live by: Shake it off.
Joey Marburger, The Washington Post
Job title: Mobile designer
Favorite App: Tweetbot. They have a really good UX and have taken advantage of a lot of things that Twitter hasn’t. Like swiping left for the past and swiping right for the future … part of UX is doing what makes sense on a subconscious level.
What inspires you? I would say architecture. I wanted to be an architect and slightly studied some areas of it. I’m kind of just an architecture nut. I think of some of the apps I work on as doing architecture, like a building where it all has to make sense and all has to function. […] No one ever asks an architect whether they’re an artist or an engineer. When people ask if I’m a designer or a developer, I usually say I’m an architect.
Where do you go when you get stuck? I like to walk a lot. Or ’cause sometimes walking is even more frustrating in D.C., I go to the Hirshhorn Museum of Art. You can walk around the whole building in a circle, so I can walk and still look at all the art and the installations.
Song that describes you: “Passenger Side” by Wilco. The whole song is about not having as much control as you maybe want to, but realizing you have to let it go. I have a hard time with that sometimes because I’m a perfectionist with design.
Brain food: I eat sushi a lot, because it is brain food — potassium, vitamins. I’d say noodles really — really good plain ramen or soba noodles, handmade. It forces you to stop, you can’t just snack on it at your desk.
Advice you live by: It’s a quote from Albert Einstein. “Imagination is more important than knowledge because knowledge is limited and imagination encircles the world.” The only way you’re going to learn is by challenging what people tell you you can’t do, or what’s already been proven one way. I think I have a lot of friends who don’t even have a degree from college and are really good developers. What I did to challenge myself was to take the classes I wanted to take. Some were still for my majors, but many were classes that most people didn’t take, like organic chemistry for a science class.
Ryan Mark, Chicago Tribune
Job title: News applications developer
Favorite App: Instapaper, 1Password
What inspires you? It’s really simple stuff. New ideas. A lot of the stuff the New York Times does is really inspiring. I love to see all sorts of different things and different stuff that people have built. There are so many good ideas.
Where do you go when you get stuck? I go to music.
Brain food: Indian food
Advice you live by: Don’t settle for mediocrity. I was a band geek when I was in high school and college, and that was the one thing that I remember from my band instructor.
Rob Schneider, The Dallas Morning News
Job title: Presentation director
Favorite App: FIFA12
What inspires you? When something transcends language. When the user experience feels distinctively natural, when I know what I should do, when I know where I should go.
Where do you go when you get stuck? I walk around, I go away for a while and then come back. What I usually do is I’ll go hang out with my family and think about it and come back to it later.
Brain food: Popcorn
Advice you live by: Most of us improve incrementally. It just takes little improvements — daily, weekly, monthly — to get better.
Will Sullivan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Job title: Director of mobile news
Favorite App: My browser
What inspires you? Being around things that are different, forcing yourself to be exposed to things you’re not comfortable with
Where do you go when you get stuck? I have a huge archive — it used to be on Delicious, now it’s on Pinboard — where I catalog inspiration and things to read. It’s my lifeline for everything.
Song that describes you: Depends on my mood
Brain food: Trident Tropical Twist gum, coffee
Advice you live by: Lately I’ve been focused on trying to find a better balance. That’s a life thing, not a design thing.
David Wright, NPR
Job title: Lead interactive designer
Favorite App: Instapaper
What inspires you? Good content. Designing things that help people get to really great content is what gets me really excited.
Where do you go when you get stuck? I walk away.
Favorite Song: “Watch Me Jumpstart” by Guided by Voices
Brain food: Almonds
Advice you live by: You should absolutely do what you love because there are too many good jobs out there and not enough good people to do them.
Chrys Wu, Matchstrike
Job title: User engagement strategist
Favorite App: The navigational things that come with iOS. Maps is very useful. I also love Tweetbot, and I’m on Instagram all the time.
What inspires you? In the context of this competition, I’m inspired by the fact that people are trying to show the best work that they’ve got. You see a lot of different approaches to the same problem. What’s also inspiring is that people are still willing to try despite the constraints of the economy, not having a lot of people or even knowing that, say, the New York Times is going to win a lot of things.
Where do you go when you get stuck? If I’m coding, I try to do something that’s not coding. I listen to a lot of podcasts: Planet Money, More or Less, 99% Invisible. If I’m writing, I’ll go for a walk or do the dishes. I’m also learning Korean. I like challenging myself by learning a whole different language — but an achievable one — it’s fascinating in a lot of ways.
Brain food: I eat a lot of plain Greek yogurt with cherry preserves. Or carrots with peanut butter.
Advice you live by: Be the best version of yourself you possibly can. Also: Talking is good; making is better. It’s important to discuss things like we’re doing here, but if you never actually make anything, it’s just hot air.
Ben Wuersching, The Guardian
Job title: Design editor for the digital and mobile sector
Favorite App: TrainTime, The Guardian
What inspires you? Nature and art
Where do you go when you get stuck? I go for a walk.
Song that describes you: “Namhanje” by Abdullah Ibrahim
Brain food: Walnuts and apricots, at the same time!
Advice you live by: Relax.
Digital competition coordinator
Kyle Ellis, CNN