WHERE I AM TODAY
Greetings and salutations! My name is Craig Graue. I am an artist and engineer with a marketing degree – otherwise known as a designer.
These days, new university degrees are being created for the sole purpose of becoming a user experience designer. They combine all the essentials from business, technology, and human behavior to train new generations of designers. When I went to college, the design degree was part of the art department. During the dot-com bubble & burst, designers were simply tasked with taking all of this new Internet technology and "making it pretty." Even back then, the part that interested me more about the web was how it worked.
I was already a decent visual artist, so I taught myself how to code and took classes to learn about business. In hindsight, I gave myself the best design education possible. But to me, I was just pursuing unrelated interests and hobbies. It wasn’t until a few years ago that the pieces all clicked and I realized what I was doing had a name and a whole industry of people focused on human-centered design.
Since then, I’ve read a ton of new books and even attended the awesome UX training seminar offered by the industry-renowned Nielsen Norman Group. I got to spend three straight days learning from Bruce Tognazzini, the heart of Apple’s interface design team in the 80’s and early 90’s.
- Henry David Thoreau
"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."
Obviously I’ve had moments where I wish I’d learned this 15 years ago in college, but I know that all of the experiences I’ve had over the years are supporting and shaping my current success. Ever since the light bulb went off, I’ve found a renewed surge of passion for my work. I enjoy learning more about design thinking, user research, and usability best practices. More importantly, I love to share all of these ideas with other people.
Harnessing the power of empathy to understand customers and build things that resonate with them on an emotional level is critical to creating things that they love. That’s quite possibly the single most important aspect of business that’s been lost over the years, and I’m having a ton of fun helping to bring it back.
You might notice that I don’t have much of a “design portfolio” on my site. Due to the proprietary nature of what I do for Scottrade (and previously at Mastercard), there’s not much I can show to the general public yet. However, in addition to sharing my illustration work here, I’ll be posting a lot of my ideas and design approaches in my personal blog that should give you a taste of what I do with my day. I appreciate you taking the time to read my story, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or want to talk shop!