Design Director at Microsoft


MilesFitzgerald (Design Director at Microsoft)

Design Director at Microsoft. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to work with some of the world's leading tech companies, including Microsoft, Spotify and Adobe. I'm passionate about crafting exceptional experiences and leading teams.

He/Him • Barcelona, Spain • May 18, 2024

What led you into design?

My journey into design was actually ignited by two seemingly unrelated passions: the internet and skateboarding. Discovering early forums opened up an entirely new world for me, and I found myself captivated by customizing Winamp skins and Windows themes to resemble Mac OS 😂. I also admired the designs of various skateboards. It took some time for me to understand where I fit in these worlds, but ultimately, software enabled me to create tools that empower others. There's something incredibly satisfying about that for me.

What's your workstation setup?

I’m fortunate enough to share an office with my wife Cristina, who runs her own creative studio, Studio Nieto. We've set up a cozy home office that allows us to collaborate and support each other in our respective creative pursuits. My personal workstation consists of a MacBook Pro, accompanied by an external monitor to help me stay organized and efficient.

I've also developed a fondness for keyboards, which led me to experiment with various options before finally settling on the logitech mx master setup. I find that it offers a comfortable and enjoyable typing experience, which makes a significant difference in my day-to-day work. Overall, our shared home office has proven to be a productive and inspiring space for both of us.

Where do you go to get inspired?

During my time living in New York, it truly felt like the epicenter of the world, and that city served as a major source of inspiration for me. However, since moving back to Europe and eventually Barcelona, I've found that my sources of inspiration have evolved. Now, I'm particularly inspired by the people I meet, as well as the unique physical objects that can be discovered at antique markets.

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

One product that’s not new but that I love is Figma. What they've achieved in terms of streamlining the design process and leveraging web technologies is nothing short of remarkable. Figma has essentially revolutionized the way large teams can collaborate on design projects by allowing them to work seamlessly from anywhere. This has, in turn, unlocked a significant shift in how designers approach their work, making it easier and more efficient than ever before. To me, that's a prime example of exceptional design that has a profound impact on its users. Additionally, I'd like to mention Framer as another impressive tool that has transformed the way designers create and prototype their ideas.

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

A few years back, we launched Tic Toc Transit, an app for the MTA (New York Subway service), a project I worked on with my friend Ozzy, and it turned out to be an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only was I proud of the product we created, but it also led to a personal milestone when the project was mentioned in the New York Times. Ship your side projects!

What design challenges do you face at your company?

We've recently emerged from a period of significant growth and transformation within our design organization. This involved defining the role of product designer, developing the Fluent design system, and rebranding our apps. I've led design for Outlook in the past and I am currently working on AI incubation and some yet-to-be-released projects. This is the moment when the investments we've made over the past few years will truly shine. With AI at the heart of our conversations, I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to do this at Microsoft.

What music do you listen to while designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

• Ask questions
• Let go of your ego
• Take time to think and write
• Be dependable
• Master keyboard shortcuts
• Balance screen time with outdoor activities
• Exercise

Anything you want to promote or plug?

Yes, my wife Cristina recently launched her own agency called Studio Nieto which specializes in digital marketing. In addition to that, she's ventured into creating a small batch of coffee specifically tailored for the creative and ambitious minds out there. I highly recommend you follow her work and stay updated on her latest projects – you can find her on Instagram. I spend most of my social media time on X (Twitter) these days and you can find all my links: