Stanley Wood — Volvo Cars
British Designer, currently Head of User Experience at Volvo Cars, living in Stockholm, Sweden.
Growing up I was surrounded by family members who had a creative craft that brought them so much joy: My mother’s calligraphy, my grandma’s baking, my grandpa’s woodwork. They were designers in their own right but just didn’t carry that title as a career.
I was blessed to have this natural born instinct but it really didn’t come to fruition for me until my junior year of college when I took my first creative marketing class at the University of Texas at Austin. There was a semester-long project of keeping an ‘idea journal’ and through this project, I quickly learned how much I loved making things that other people could enjoy.
From that point forward, I put everything I had towards changing my major, creating a student portfolio, and moving to NYC after graduation in hopes of pursuing a career in design. And luckily for me, that design career continues to charge full steam ahead.
I’m a morning person so I’m typically up and at ‘em by 6 or 7 AM. After a 20 – 30 min walk outside with my dog and a cup of coffee, I will head to the gym for a quick work out or run to get my mind right for the day.
Once I’m in the office I start to plan out my day, attempting to find that right balance of meetings and design time. From there it can really go any which way: either I’m in deep with Sketch and Principle or I’m bouncing around the office reviewing other designers work and staging environments, discussing and planning roadmaps with our product managers, and collaborating with our brand design team on various design needs (art direction, photography, copy, illustrations, etc...).
After work, I will usually find a few hours to work on my own artwork project that I’m aiming to launch by the end of this year. And if I’m not doing that I’m hanging out with friends just shootin’ the shit.
In the office, our product design team and a couple of front-end engineers all sit together at one long table which allows us to easily give and receive feedback in person. We have tried a few different things in my time at Warby but have found that this our preferred way of working together. It really helps in keeping everyone informed and involved across all the different projects we have going on.
I use a 15” MacBook Pro that I occasionally connect to a 27” Thunderbolt display. I’m basically running Sketch mirror nonstop during design time because, in my opinion, that’s really the only way to nail down the UI specifics.
The apps I use most are the ones in my dock but I really don’t use the dock that much. I typically lean on Spotlight to find and open apps as needed.
I keep it to just a few apps that for the most part are important to my everyday life (weather, news, maps, etc…). All my other apps are nested in folders on another screen so I have to intentionally seek them out when I want to use them. This organization of my phone happened because of a Tristan Harris podcast interview I listened to a while back. It’s been about two years now so I guess it’s safe to say I like this setup.
I’ve been living in NYC for 10 years and still to this day I can find inspiration pretty much anywhere. The history, the people, the museums, restaurants and bars, everything about this place seeps design to me. Even the really poorly designed aspects to this city I find inspiring to think about how I would fix and re-design them.
When it comes to the work I’m doing at Warby Parker I get a lot of inspiration from our beautiful retail stores (we just opened our 70th store, which is crazy). I also frequent a lot of the basic internet things such as Pttrns, Product Hunt, Designer News, and Pages.XYZ
This is a tricky one and probably depends on the week but for quite a while now I have been a big fan of the New York Times. From their podcast The Daily (and soon to be TV show), to their iOS AR articles (I love the recent ones on the Winter Olympics and David Bowie), to their cooking app (which has loads of deliciousness); they really continue to reinvent how we consume quality journalism unlike any other.
I’m most definitely very proud of the two iOS apps I’ve been able to create for Warby Parker in my ~3 years with the company.
Our e-comm app was named one of Apple’s 10 best apps of 2016 and we have a 4.9 star rating with 21.5K reviews. A more recent feature we created called Find Your Fit garnered quite a bit of attention because we were one of the first apps to utilize the iPhone X’s TrueDepth technology right on time with the launch of the device. The feature uses the technology to scan a customer's face and recommend frames based on the measurements the scan was able to find.
Creating our Prescription Check app was a design challenge unlike anything else I’ve come across in my career. I cannot express enough how vital and important usability testing was to our design process. There was A LOT of trial and error during the 10 month design period before we launched last May.
At Warby Parker we are always trying to create the best-in-class experience for our customer no matter how they interact with our brand: our website, apps, eye exams, retail stores, CX, etc... We believe there is a lot of potential for us in the future to further blend these experience so one day everything will feel effortlessly seamless for our customers.
Surrounding yourself with talented design peers with different perspectives and experiences is a crucial piece to your own development as a designer. So try to only work at companies and agencies who are doing the type of work you desire to be doing. Easier said than done but if you’re dedicated to your goal, you’ll eventually get there.
Yes 100%! We are looking far and wide to grow our design team so if there is anyone reading this who wants thinks they might be a good fit, please hit me up!