jennifer.figueroa@ac4d.com

Student

Jen Figueroa

Professional things about me, in no particular order: I have a nearly 20-year career as a graphic designer/art director. I used to dog- and house-sit as a side hustle. I was a chalkboard artist at Whole Foods Market for 3 years and eventually moved up to Regional Art Director. I worked at an Apple store as a side hustle. I won several Addy awards the very first year of my career. During college, I was a camp counselor every summer. I’ve rebranded a gym.

Other things about me, in no particular order: I have 2 dogs, a greyhound and an Italian greyhound. I love to read. I love to eat. I’m a high-fuctioning introvert. Other than college, I’ve lived in Texas my whole life. I love having a jigsaw puzzle in progress on my dining room table. My favorite hobby is planning my next vacation. I recently started a watercolor painting practice to counterbalance the pixel-perfection of graphic design.

I’m excited about starting at AC4D for a myriad of reasons but these are the main ones: For a long time I’ve wanted my work to have more meaning than just being pretty. One of my biggest frustrations in past jobs is when the “why” makes no sense. I want the “why” of why I’m designing things to make sense again. And with my background in print design I’ll not only be learning new ways of thinking, but new design software. It’s been too long since I’ve been at the bottom of a steep learning curve and I’m very much looking forward to learning, stumbling, recovering, growing.

Recent blog posts

Theory: Being a Designer

Throughout this Theory class I’ve been asked again and again to show my perspective. Regurgitating the info we’ve learned isn’t enough. And a lot of what we’ve read in this last section resonated with me more than the other readings. (I’ve heard the same from other students, I imagine this is by design.) And I’ve…

Week Seven (Seven?!) Reflections

Two days after my last Reflections blog post we got an email from Ruby saying that they were no longer mandatory but if they help then of course we should keep blogging. And I thought, “I like them, I’m going to keep doing them.” And then three weeks went by. After I felt like I…

Design & Poverty: The Harry Potter Lens

Sometimes when I want to understand something deeper I apply a Harry Potter lens to it. I’m a Meyers-Briggs ISTP, which Harry Potter character is that? Oh, it’s Harry. That makes sense: I’m in my own head a lot, I’m not trying to be the center of attention but when it comes down to it,…

Week 4 Reflections

Apparently we’re halfway through Q1? Scott mentioned that in our Theory/102 class on Thursday. We had another assignment and presentation due in that class this week. We had to take all 8 authors we’d read and place them on an axis of designing for/designing with and then create another axis of our own choosing and…

103 Assignment 3: Life Drawing

I have a hangup about figure drawing. I was an art major in college and I had a 3.98 GPA in my major- I got As in all my classes except figure drawing, where I got a C. So I went into this last studio session with more than a bit of trepidation. But Pat…

The Role of Design Research: 8 Authors, 2 Questions

Over the past 2 weeks we’ve read a variety of articles that touch on theories, frameworks and practices of design research. We were asked to consider if they were designing with or designing for. I interpreted that as designing with or for the end user. As a designer I was most curious about where each author…

Making the Grade

In one of my earlier blog posts during orientation I wrote that I was worried about failing. We were told constantly that we’d fail in the beginning for the simple reason that we don’t know what we’re doing. After all, if we did, why would we be going through this program? I’ve been graded on…

Week 2 Reflections: Still not drinking coffee

I’ve always thought of myself as relatively laid-back. I prefer chilling to being active, I like my drama to be on television—not in real life, I’m calm in a crisis. But ask me to present a six minute presentation and I spend a whole calendar day spiraling into anxiety. I don’t know what I’m so…

5 Intellectuals on the Importance of Design in Society

In an alternate universe Edward Bernays, John Dewey, Victor Papanek, Neil Postman and Maurizio Vitta sit down over a glass of their beverage of choice to discuss the role of design in society. This is how I imagine that conversation would go. Neil Postman weighs in first. He’s not against design, the same way he’s…

Week 1 Reflections, or The Time I Gave Up Coffee

This week a friend asked how school was going and I didn’t have time to go into detail so I described it like this: It’s like being thrown into the deep end of a freezing pool with all your clothes on and wearing weights and they’re like, “Swim to the shallow end in 30 seconds,…

So working in groups is hard, now what?

Keep working. Today is the first day we drew. Was it Drawing 101, draw some white boxes and cones and cylinders? Learn to draw shadow and perspective? NEWP. We sketched vignettes (a single page drawing that clearly illustrates your idea) of the ideas we created yesterday. Then we sketched storyboards of those vignettes. Buses and people and…

“Morning people need condoms, too!”

  Today, though. Building consensus is hard. Which I guess is why it’s called “building consensus” and not “everyone already agreeing on everything.” Today we had to take our raw data and make inferences with it and create common themes. Some themes were easy and materialized quickly and organically. Others (one in particular) seemed to…

“Flip a fork?”

Today we were divided up into small groups and sent out in the field to ask strangers questions about their experience with Austin public transit. Before that, our small groups strategized about what we would ask and where we would go to ask these questions of people. Before that, we had to pick a focus:…

“This is a great space to f%$k up.”

Y’all. I don’t like to fuck up. I don’t like to be bad at things. (e.g. I’m terrible at singing, or doing anything musical and so you will never hear me do it.) Even in a safe space I want to be really good at things. I want to nail that yoga pose. I want…

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