Freelance Product Designer


KylerPhillips (Freelance Product Designer)

Kyler Phillips is a Lead Product Designer working on building user-centric experiences previously at Product Hunt. Usually found drinking tea somewhere.

He/him • London, UK • May 13, 2024

What led you into design?

It's hard to pinpoint exactly, but I'd say it was probably around 2018 when the YouTube partnership scene started becoming popular. I started designing banners and thumbnails for high-profile gamers and, through word of mouth, began to start picking up more work and gradually branch out into different facets of design from logos to websites, even posters and flyers.

I had a YouTube design channel where I would create speedarts (back when they were popular) or try to re-design a popular website or product with a twist, gradually picking up visual fundamentals along the way. Like most of us, I picked up a version of Photoshop and was like a kid at Christmas trying every graphic design technique I could and convincing friends and family to hire me to design posters, websites, logos, or anything that they wanted really.

I became pretty obsessed with Apple products and once the first iPod was released, quickly became addicted to people like Surenix who designed iOS themes and then made some of my own jailbreak tweaks like Weasel and Quick Contacts to name a few.

As a young designer, I found it pretty hard to break onto the product design scene without much "real work" or a portfolio, I certainly learned the exposure vs getting paid to design route the hard way but luckily was able to land my first job in London and since have been fortunate enough to work in both the agency and startup world alike.

What does a typical day look like?

I work remotely so a lot of the time my day varies, I tend to wake up and either read for a while or go for a walk and start work in the afternoon after I've had a coffee or two. I'll usually split my time between working from home and a WeWork somewhere around London; if all else fails, I'll find a coffee shop and open up the laptop. It's always nice to mix up the space you work in from time to time.

I try to do a lot of thinking and research outside of Figma, so I'll usually read a design article from to get the creative juices flowing or see what the design or Product Hunt community have been discussing. I'll then start to tackle whatever design project is most important.

Usually, we're trying to build more enjoyable experiences for makers and builders so being at the heart of the community and understanding what our users do and how they interact with Product Hunt is pretty important, that said I try not to make design projects too prescriptive, I think there's always an opportunity to insert fun and personality into any brief or project.

What's your workstation setup?

Where do you go to get inspired?

Most of my inspiration tends to come up randomly and away from the screen, as designers I think we're often trying to solve complex problems or interactions at any time and so often it can be the most random of ideas or sparks of creativity that can fuel a design surge.

There's quite a beauty when everything just "clicks" together and something amazing is born out of it. Granted that doesn't happen often. Usually, time, a quiet mind and space to think really help when solving problems and being creative.

I’m a sucker for spending too long on Twitter, and more often than not something sparks my brain into action either if I’ve spent too long on there or I see something that looks cool.

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

I came across this espresso machine the other day on Kickstarter - I haven't quite had the urge to bite the bullet and purchase it yet but by the time you read this, there's a very good chance that might have changed.

I'm super impressed with all the work that's going on over at Daybridge. It's interesting to see how they're reimaging what digital calendars can look like and I'm a big fan of the build and design in public initiative from the likes of @svlleyy and Andrea Conway (@ehikian).

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

Back in November 2022, the Product Hunt team shipped a version of "wrapped" called Rewind that gives our users a summary of what their year looked like on the app, everything from contributions to products made and impact on the community. It started out as a week's hackathon project, but from initial pitch to implementation was just over 2 months and a real team effort.

During the pandemic, I worked on a side project called Readium which was a place to track what you're reading. It was a side project that I worked on with a few other friends and was super fun to lead the product direction and work with a passionate team of product thinkers and engineers.

We knew we wanted to prioritise creating a better Goodreads that was designed well. We were able to build most of what we set out to and market and ship to around 1,000 users, eventually, we decided to kill the project but I learned far more from this project than I have from any other job - from management to product thinking, to planning and more and I was very proud of what we created in such a short time.

It was a great example of putting your mind to something you believe in and are passionate about.

What design challenges do you face at your company?

Our biggest challenge is trying to help create a place where people can discover new and exciting products that are being built on the daily, trying to capture what's trending in the industry and what people will care about the most. We do our best to capture just a small snapshot of what thousands of makers and builders are putting into the world into just an above-the-fold webpage experience, but it can be pretty hard.

Giving folks the air-time they deserve to boast about their launch is always tricky given that everyone expects their launch to do well on Product Hunt so competition for exposure is always tricky.

We're always trying to find new and exciting ways for makers to share their products out into the wild and build a welcoming and supportive community that is arguably the heart of what we do here at Product Hunt, through new projects like our mobile apps we're making Product Hunt a place that people can discover things on the go and interact with the community from their pocket.

What music do you listen to while designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Fall in love with your work, but just don't get too attached to the outcome. Embrace vulnerability and don't be afraid to share your work early and often, no good product or outcome ever starts out perfect. Everyone is just figuring it out as they go along, so don't be afraid of being an imposter or not fitting in with the crowd.

Keep your mind open to different possibilities and avenues you haven't yet explored because there might just be something better around the corner. If you want to improve, dedicate your life to being content with cluelessness and stupidity, and don't seek to be too come across too knowledgeable, we can always learn from everyone and every life experience.

Anything you want to promote or plug?

I run a design studio called Hurdle which partners with early stage founders on 0 to 1 products. Reach out if your interested in learning how I can help you with your design needs.

You can find me over at @kylerjphillips on Twitter or at where I'm usually continuing these rambles.