alex benson

What is
Full Stack Design?

full stack designer

n. / foo l • stak • dih-zahy-ner

Describing a designer whose specialties range from concept and strategy through content creation, design creation, prototyping, and implementation, including but not exclusively front end development knowledge. Engrained in everything they do is a desire to continue to expand and improve their skills, honing in on what can push them further, as well as a desire to share what they do with others in an open source model.

Practice what you preach

When I first began what is now called product design, I had no idea what you could do on the web. I taught myself how to develop so that I could become a better designer and along the way picked up these skills as well.

Print Design & Typography

My art school background grounded in me an appreciation for good typography. I carry this through to my designs. Helvetica is dead.

Concept & Strategy

My background in startups and product design has helped me develop critical design thinking skills.

Photography & Videography

My first exposure to art and creativity, I’ve had a camera in my hand since I was 14. More recently, I’ve been exploring videography.

Branding & Identity

A great product needs a great face. Branding is the glue that holds those experiences together.

Front End Development

While I don’t actively code, my understanding of HTML structure, the CSS box model, and more helps me work with developers to deliver achievable designs.

Prototyping & Testing

Due to my strong background in startups and product design, I am always eager to test my assumptions and adjust accordingly.

UX Writing

Products should tell a story, but you can’t have a story with out words. The right words. I’ve recently begun exploring this.

Software Skills

I wasn’t born with a pen in my hand, but I more than make up for it with my Sketch skills. Seriously, I’m an Adobe and Sketch nerd.

Critical Thinking

My experiences as a product designer has taught me how to approach problems from a design thinking approach and find solutions with the end user in mind.

All of this influences and informs my true focus...

Product Design

All my paths through the different creative specialties listed above have led to or intertwined with my real passion, digital product design. In this specialty, I’ve found a place I can create great visuals, tell stories, and advocate for the user through usable interfaces and informed decisions. Product design permeates all of our daily lives in this digital age, and I want to be at the forefront of crafting it.

There's a point to all of this

But why? Why spend all your free time focusing on so many different things? Thats a perfectly valid question, and one I can’t satisfactorily answer. Maybe it's because I have a restless mind that is constantly trying to work out problems. Maybe the desire to put my hand in everything I can is because I started late and am trying to make up for lost time.

Or maybe its best summed up in this poem: “The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive… Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create -- so that without the creating… their very breath is cut off from them. They must create, [they] must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.