UT monthly staff kayla banner

Unleashed is the leading web development and design firm in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area according to Clutch. We can only earn that recognition by having some awesome designers on our team. This month the Unleashed Spotlight is on Kayla Sears, one of our talented and creative designers.

1. As a graphic designer, where do you find the most inspiration? Is there a specific brand or company you admire?

I normally find inspiration in everyday items. It could be the texture of clothing, which then creates a sample hero texture. It could also be the coloring of buildings in a city that will be the start of a company's brand colors. For inspiration, Toby NG Design does some creative print and packaging work that I really admire.

2. What is your favorite design software? Why?

It really depends on what needs to get done, but XD is nice to use for interactive design and I think it helps tell more of a story when the work is prototyped and After Effects can be fun to bring life to a design.

3. What has been your favorite project this year? How did it go?

SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) was pretty fun. I have no interest in cars, so I watched a lot of Top Gear to see the different opinions of appeal people had for how cars look and handle. I learned more about the small detailing that went into them and the manufacturing choices behind it. I tried putting those details into the designs, so the automotive world would show through in my designs.

4. What are some of your favorite web design techniques?

Creating and setting up all the styles first, this makes it easier to design so you don’t have to bulk change them later, if you have so many instances where they repeat. This just allows you to have a universal style guide within your work.

5. What is a web design technique that is overrated?

It is overrated to have a normal standard visual hierarchy, which is the idea of arranging elements to show their order of importance. Instead, I prefer an unconventional design that still has hierarchy but through consistency and not size.

6. Do you prefer to work on in-house projects or client work? Why?

I prefer to work on client projects. It’s more challenging and unpredictable. Each project is more of a puzzle and being able to work on multiple projects at once doesn’t leave room for repetition.

7. Working on so many projects, how do you stay organized?

Knowing the deadlines and the difficulty of the project allows you to work backwards and lets you know how to manage the time, as you learn how long each part will take. The only issue is when small things pop up that need to be done that day and then you have to reprioritize the time.

8. What is your creative process?

Research or gathering everything we’ve done at the start, coming up with ideas from research or inspiration, collaging the comp or piecing parts together like a loose sketch, designing and refining, presenting, going through revisions, then final approval.

9. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Lemony grilled salmon.

10. If you could live anywhere in the world all expenses paid for one year, where would you live?

Hobbiton in New Zealand.