Hi there, I’m Alex.

I’ve been called a ‘pragmatic’ designer.

I take that as a compliment.

While I love geeking out over typefaces and Swiss posters, my professional work has always slanted towards product design that can make a measurable impact. Usability over style. Stylish when called for.

Learning from your customers and shipping delightful, yet useful tools for them is both rewarding and challenging, which is why I've been drawn to working with startups, where you can get to know your users personally and make an outsize impact.

I’ve had the privilege of working with some great teams on some truly impactful products, and have learned a thing or two along the way. I bring that experience to new ventures and try to share it with folks through mentoring and writing.

I tend to think about design like a founder, because I’ve been one. Balancing process and instinct, the goal is to find harmony between user delight and business strategy, as fast as you can deliver quality.

If this seems like your cup of tea, I'd be pleased to chat about your project needs. My availability is below.

There’s more information below for your perusal should you need to learn more.

-Alex-


Modus Operandi

I believe that businesses can make a positive impact on people’s lives through the thoughtful application of technology and design.

I’m not particularly picky about my role or title, but I am selective about the teams I work with. My approach is informed by these beliefs, and I try to work with teams that share them:

1

Design is a measurable strategic asset.

Good design can contribute directly to an organization's bottom line. According to multiple studies, organizations that value design consistently perform stronger on virtually all financial measures.

2

Good design can make life better.

From life-saving procedural instructions, to an easier-to-read ballot, to a more ergonomic product: design that we interact with everyday has the potential to make people's lives better (or worse). It is not simply an aesthetic treatment.

3

Diversity in collaboration yields the best results.

Our audiences are global. We live in an interconnected world where no one person has all of the skills to make most of the products we use everyday. We need to work with partners who are diverse in background and discipline to create better products, services and organizations for the future.

4

Technology should feel easy.

Every user is different and one size should not fit all. The goal of interaction design is to create products or interfaces that will work best for an intended user. That means it might have to work equally well for many users with many different technologies—today's tech has to be flexible and adaptable.

5

Marketing can be a force for good.

Understanding consumer behavior and knowing how to learn what a customer wants can work towards the promotion of a social campaign just as effectively as it can promote a product. Harnessing that power for the right reasons is a worthwhile endeavor.

6

Great brands aren’t just skin-deep.

You can’t throw a new logo and website up and call it a brand refresh (that is, in fact, an identity). Branding touches every facet of an organization and is reflected in everything an organization does, meaning corporate ethos and responsibility are more important than the design.

7

Trusting relationships produce better work, faster.

You trust me, I trust you; enough so that we both give honest opinions. This is how iteration produces better results, faster. Without this trust, it's hard to produce meaningful results. Trust takes effort, but it's worth it.


Experience

For over a decade, I’ve …
helped launch and scale businesses,
worked at a studio (and started one),
taught at a university’s design school, and
consulted with organizations of all sorts.

I design and code.

I've spent years driving design and technical projects from start to finish on a variety of very different teams. I've managed and contributed to projects for startups, universities, large international corporations, medical and research institutions, and government agencies.

I teach.

I’ve taught at Northeastern’s design program, now I volunteer to help young designers and entrepreneurs learn through design and technology. I've spend a good deal of time thinking about design in the classroom. This strengthens my practice just as much as client work impacts my teaching.

I’m an entrepreneur.

I've been involved in entrepreneurship for over a decade. I’ve helped start a venture accelerator, co-founded a design studio, been on founding teams, helped startups scale through multiple rounds of VC funding, and most recently am working to bootstrap a new venture.

Select Positions

Connected Proof

Co-founder and “CEO”

2019-21

AdmitHub

Head of Design

2018-20

Lovepop

Consultant

2018-19

BevSpot

Chief Design Officer

2014-18

Northeastern University

Lecturer @College of Arts, Media + Design;
Founding Faculty Advisor @Scout Studio

2011-14

Hifinit Design Studio

Co-Founder & Principal

2010-13

Metropolis Creative

Designer & Developer

2008-09


Expertise

Technical design partner and manager;
happy sweating the small details
or leading projects and teams


Design

UX + Research

Make a product or service more compelling by implementing best practices, user research, and usability testing.

UI + Interaction

Polished interaction design for software experiences on any screen size.

Brand + Identity

Graphic design of identity and collateral that move organizations’ brand strategy forward.

Data Visualization

Custom data visualizations and infographics to tell the story of your data. Possibly interactive, always engaging.

Design Systems

Systematized design tools to enable your team to move faster with greater consistency. Can include front-end code assets.


Code

Component Systems

Implementing interfaces and component systems for production. (Currently liking TypeScript, React, JSS, Sass.)

Website + CMS

Extensive experience designing and developing marketing websites, blogs, and microsites. (Sometimes JAMstack, still appreciating WordPress.)


Management

Design + Product Orgs

Growing internal design and product teams that make an impact (and engineers love working with).

Agile

Helping product teams find their organizational stride to ship faster.


Consulting

A fresh set of eyes, seamlessly integrated into your team

Teams may find me a good fit when they need an experienced contributor who can hit the ground running, tackle complex technical designs, help scope open-ended product challenges, and build design teams and culture.


Product Strategy

Helping organizations bring products to market, or "fail faster" to understand what their market really wants.


Brand Strategy

Work on a process to hone the authentic brand that’ll help you reach the right audience.


Design Sprints

Guide organizations though intensive design sprints to explore new product offerings in one week or less.


Building Teams

Working with organizations (especially startups) to figure out how to structure their product and design teams for operational success and scaling.


Every project is different—I adapt to your team and situation. This can mean delivering a specific project from end-to-end, working on retainer for a specific period, or being embedded on the team full-time to meet a milestone.

Best to start with a chat to explore options.

south Get Started

Contact

Consulting Inquiries

Happy to discuss consulting projects starting July 2021 or later

My availability varies a good deal but I regularly work with a network of talented consultants, so I can build a team around a complex project or refer you to another professional that might be a better fit for your project or timelines.

Getting Started

A quick intro conversation is the best way to start. Please email me to kick things off.

alex@turnwall.com

For something else

As always, I’m happy to chat about non-consulting-related opportunities like speaking, teaching, and writing engagements. Shoot me an email!