Lauren Manuel

Lauren Manuel

Staff Product Designer in Boulder, CO

Work Experience

2023 — Now
Self-Employed/Career Pause

While I had a fantastic career at VMware, I've made the deliberate decision to take a pause from "the 9-5" to prioritize the needs of my growing family. This has also given me the chance to engage in freelance projects to maintain professional development and contribute to projects I'm passionate about.

2022 — 2023

After joining VMware's Services Strategy team, I was chosen to be one of two founding designers of Spring Academy: a new hands-on learning platform dedicated to teaching developers the Spring framework.

Working alongside senior leadership, external teams, and internal instructors, I led research and design to ensure the creation of highly engaging and effective educational content and shaped the overall vision of the platform. The outcome of these efforts was a rapid onboarding of over 11,000 new users within the first three months of launch.

It also earned me two VMware "At our Best" Awards in just six months for my design leadership and outstanding contributions to the team's success.

2018 — 2022
Denver, CO

In this role, I brought a unique, strategic approach tailored to each client. As a champion of Balanced Teams and Lean/Agile methodologies, I not only designed thoughtful, user-adored, products but also mentored teammates and organizations to embody healthy product development practices. Operating in a player/coach capacity, I prided myself on leading teams through complexity across a wide range of domains and team maturity levels to launch products with confidence.

I had the pleasure of designing everything from enterprise software to consumer-facing products for teams ranging from Fortune 100 organizations (Vizient, CVS Health, FedEx) to the Department of Defense to early-phase startups.

Outside of my client work, internally at VMware I established and led a remote-first design community, fostering collaboration and skill development within the organization. Recognized as a design leader, I was entrusted with mentoring new hires and upholding design standards for our distributed team's success.

(Worth noting: although my title remained 'Senior Designer,' during this timeframe I was promoted from Level 3 to Level 4 within the IC leveling system, which consists of six levels)

2014 — 2018
Los Angeles

I paired up with my insanely talented Developer husband to start a boutique agency where we created custom branding, websites, and products for both clients and ourselves. We won the chance to build some pretty amazing projects like a Coachella map experience for Sephora and a guitar school and community for Synyster Gates (of Avenged Sevenfold). We also carved out time to innovate and develop our ideas, like a companion app for rideshare drivers to optimize their earnings.

2013 — 2014
Lead UI/UX Designer at Five by Five Global
Los Angeles

I got to walk into the headquarters of clients like Red Bull, Activision, Blizzard, Ubisoft, and more, and pitch my designs to win new work and deliver sleek marketing and web experiences.

2011 — 2013
Visual & UI Designer at Lunchbox (acquired by J. Walter Thompson)
Culver City, CA

I collaborated with a close team of copywriters, art directors, developers, and project managers to create and implement campaign ideas. From pitching wild ideas in the brainstorming rooms to creating pixel-perfect imagery, games, and websites, I led the design for online and in-store activations and engagement pieces to increase sales for Walmart's retail partners such as Walmart, Mattel, Hasbro, Mars, Kimberly-Clark, Unilever, Philips, Sanrio, and more.

Writing

2022

On behalf of VMware, I co-authored a Learning Path that provides insights and guidance for practitioners, partners, and leaders to navigate the intricacies of working with design systems, fostering collaboration and informed decision-making. It's a resource offering tips and tools to harness the benefits of design systems and steer clear of common pitfalls that have impacted our industry.

Side Projects

Ongoing

Specifically designed for drop-shipping storefronts, my mockups empower store owners to effortlessly showcase their designs on real models dressed in the very clothing brands they offer in their store, eliminating the need for traditional photoshoots. I'm proud to say my mockups were the first of their kind and have since created a whole new category of product mockups.

This side hustle is a bit of fun for me as I get to run the business, plan the shoots, and then dust off my Photoshop skills to let the mockups be as flexible and easy as possible for the end-user.

2023

As a passion project aimed at connecting a geographically dispersed team of designers, I helped spearhead a guided experience for remote product designers to level-up their visual design skills, regardless of their time zone. The week-by-week Figma guide is a journey that empowers individual designers or design teams to craft a UI kit and get comfortable gathering valuable feedback amongst peers.

Certifications

2020
Creative Leadership from IDEO U