Laurel Schwulst

Laurel Schwulst

Design Leader in NYC

About

“In the age of information overload, the ultimate luxury is meaning and context.”
— Louis Rossetto (1993)

For 12+ years, I’ve brought to life networked tools as a designer, writer, educator, & power user. My creative practice is holistic — I establish strategy, build with code & copy, and grow an aligned team and process.

laurel.schwulst@gmail.…

Work Experience

2022 — Now

I'm curious what it'll be like to work on an app — specifically, an otherworldly one that may be interested in natural cycles and networks of people.

2012 — Now
Power User & Advocate at Are.na

Are.na is a platform for networked curation & research. It's been my public brain for over a decade. I've also been a core advocate at Arena both formally and informally: hosting events, publishing commissioned interviews & essays, maintaining popular public channels, and commissioning artist collaborations for their store.

Example: are.na/blog/the-wildne…
Role: Commissioned author

Example: are.na/the-creative-in…
Role: Creator

Example: are.na/blog/restaurant…
Role: Interviewer, editor

2013 — Now
Educator and creator of asynchronous learning materials at Yale, Princeton, New York Times, others

I have been an award-winning teacher of semester-long undergraduate and graduate design courses and workshops at Yale, Princeton, and other universities. I also lecture internationally. As part of those roles and independently, I create immersive videos, essays & tutorials about design, technology, and the creative process. Learning happens when people are comfortable and curious — and this feeling can be created through thoughtful pacing and the right amount of mystery. I’ve produced learning content for the New York Times, The Creative Independent, and others.

Example: nytimes.com/interactive/20…
Roles: Director, writer, editor

Example: youtube.com/watch?v=CkzbI1…
Roles: Writer, editor, publisher

Example: veryinteractive.net/about
Roles: Creator, archivist

2017 — 2022
Creative Direction & UX Consulting at Laurel Schwulst, LLC

I engage with organizations when they need to re-think their identity and information architecture on the web. My process for building lasting and accessible design begins with research and dialogue to re-articulate the goals of a project, and arrive at a shared language through shared documents. Once we’ve built this structure, the design and development fall naturally into place — it’s the easy part. Clients include Kickstarter, Artists Space, and Eyebeam.

Example: artistsspace.org
Roles: Lead design, front end coding, strategy, research, information architecture, accessibility testing and education, team building

2016 — 2017
Brooklyn, NY

In 2016, I joined Kickstarter to launch “The Creative Independent,” a unique digital platform serving creative professionals. As creative director, I was involved in everything — from establishing our principles, to designing the site, to building with code & copy, to growing an aligned team and process. The vision was a “Wikipedia of the creative process,” a networked resource that was radically readable and evergreen. I built the site with evolution in mind — it’s constructed to grow every day and be gardened over time. The site has continued to grow and evolve like a living organism and today is a network of over 1500 interviews: a rich database of thought from writers, musicians, designers, visual artists, and others in six languages.

Website: thecreativeindependent…
Roles: Design, strategy, code, writing, team building

Essay: thecreativeindependent.com/essays/laurel-…
Role: Author
This essay has become required reading in many design syllabi worldwide and has been translated into multiple languages.

Blog: thecreativeindependent.com/notes/spiral
Role: Author

“i think that @thecreativeindp has the best web design of any blog ('digital platform') that i have seen ... it's such a pleasure to visit after a time away, and find the homepage has completely changed.” — @theinvertedform on Twitter, summer 2020

2010 — 2015
New York, NY

I was core to the growth of Linked by Air, a design & technology firm specializing in design systems and creative tools for cultural organizations. I worked with clients through the entire product lifecycle — driving design, front-end development, & project management. I also led design of the studio's popular CMS, Economy (ecnmy.com). Selected clients include the e-commerce site Printed Matter (the world's largest artists' bookstore), which helped double Printed Matter's online sales; the Yale AIDS Memorial Project; and the popular urban game Midnight Madness, which raised $7m for charity.

Example: printedmatter.org
Role: Lead design, content architecture, user testing

Projects

Ongoing
My Read.cv Webring 💫
2022

ambient, live-streamed artist-made wind chimes

2022

dynamic seasonal variable typeface & sound

2021

tutorial that doubles as a meditative experience

2020

interviews with artists & technologists about simple tools

2020

exploring new ways of publishing to the www

2020

accessible website design & identity

2019

calming website for philosophy by Yancey Strickler

2019

an app & "ode to airplane mode"

2019

information architecture for generous traversal

2018

slowly color shifting & collage-based artist website

2018
Identity for public art garden in San Antonio

graphic identity, signage, & website for the "San Antonio T"

2017

web presence weaving architecture, poetry, & nature

2016

creative strategy, web identity, writing, code, etc.

2015

a book of 36 lyrical fragrance reviews

2015

early artist-run gallery that exhibits & sells files as artworks

Speaking

2022
Talk at Werkplaats Typographie
Arnhem, Netherlands
2021
Visiting Designer Talk at Google
New York, NY
2019
Talk at CalArts
Santa Clarita, CA
2019
Visiting Deisgner Talk at RISD
Providence, RI
2018
Awardee Talk at Inspiring Yale
New Haven, CT
2018
Lightning Talk at The DWeb Summit (The Internet Archive)
San Francisco, CA
2018
Visiting Artist Talk at Kunsthall Stavanger
Stavanger, Norway
2018
New York, NY (School for Poetic Computation)
Instagram
Twitter