MEET: Ryan Stryker

I’m so excited to introduce you all to Ryan Stryker! I met Ryan last year at a networking event and ever since I’ve been such a fan of his work. Ryan currently lives in Columbus, Ohio and works as a Senior User Experience Designer for one of the savviest IT Solution Providers in the industry. When he’s not knee deep in design projects he enjoy volunteering his time at his church, exploring the local Columbus food and music scene and is a sucker for a nice glass of whiskey. Follow him on Twitter and say hello!

1. You’re a designer and a developer (which I love). What are you favorite aspects of designing and developing? What are your least favorite aspects of designing and developing? Thanks for the compliment, making the leap from designer to developer has been a challenging but rewarding experience. My favorite aspects of being able to both design and development are mostly related knowing that my vision for the design will be developed to pixel perfection since I can constantly check my work against the design. That being said sometimes I find the opposite can be helpful too, meaning that I can make adjustments on the fly in mid-development or rethink certain areas of the design without changing my original vision for the project.

2. How would you describe your college experience? My Undergraduate Degree was in Visual Communication & Design and was more than likely very different than what designers are experiencing today. At the time (1999-2004) web design was rarely a topic of discussion, instead we focused more on traditional design principles including a mixture of fine arts projects and learning early versions of the Adobe Creative suite.

3. How did you enter into the professional world after graduating? After graduation I worked as a Graphic Artist for several years increasing my skills using Adobe software but also began taking evening classes at CCAD (Columbus College of Art & Design) in Web Design / Web Development in order to create a new website for my employer. The class enabled me to start learning development basics as well as giving me the opportunity to start doing freelance design and development work. After moving on from my position I continued to take classes in web development which has continued to create both personal and professional opportunities.

4. What websites do you visit daily? I don’t know that I truly check any websites on a daily basis other than maybe Twitter. I do enjoy a variety of design blogs including Smashing Magazine, Vandalay Design, Web Designer Depot and most recently Viget Lab’s UX/UI Blog – Viget Advance. I am also very fond of LinkedIn TODAY’s email blasts which provide a variety of industry related news articles.

5. Do you have any creative outlets outside of your day-to-day projects? I have been creating some party invitations, Facebook Page Designs and am starting on some business cards – all of which are done for free for friends. It’s nice to be able to do something altruistic and not have to worry about a proposal or hard launch date. I also recently joined a band playing bass guitar which is a nice creative outlet not design related.

6. Why do you think Columbus is a great place to live as a creative professional? (or maybe you don’t! Explain either.) I think Columbus is a great place for creative professionals! There always seem to be great opportunities for design work both as a career and for full time freelancers. Columbus is also booming with entrepreneurs and start up companies allowing designers fun opportunities to be exposed to a variety of interesting projects. We also have several fun and educational professional organizations like the IxDA, CSCA, Columbus AMA and the Columbus AdFed in which you can meet other people in our industry and swap stories (good and bad haha).

7. Any advice to those looking into or still in college studying design/development? This is a tough question. I think the most important piece of advice for those studying design or development is to really check your motivations for choosing to enter this career path. You have to really have a passion for this industry and be ready to invest a lot of time and effort in order to succeed. I would also suggest obtaining quality internships before you graduate to start gaining valuable professional experience, all too often I see very creative individuals who struggle with professionalism in a typical business environment.

March 13, 2012