Yaron Schoen is one of the 10 nominees for Designer of the Year (opens in new tab) in the 2014 net Awards (opens in new tab). He led the New York design team at Twitter last year, before leaving to work on his own projects. We quizzed him to find out more.
Give us a summary of your career so far.
I'm a Brooklyn-based interface designer. I started designing websites in the late 90s and landed my first real professional gig in 2001. I spent the first half of my career working at agencies, the most well known one being Fantasy Interactive. There I helped launch websites for EA, National Geographic, Time Warner, Nintendo and more. The second half of my career was all about product design with the most recent being Twitter. There I led the NY design team, Search, and Discover.
What have you been working on over the last year?
I left Twitter to focus on a mix of client work and my own products. To name a few: Wishbone.org, Brooklyn Beta 2013, Eatify (opens in new tab), new features to Float. I printed my first ever poster for charity: water’s September campaign (yup, I barely ever do any print work), Kiddo, and some features my team and I worked on at Twitter launched early in the year.
What have been the particular high points of your career?
Some things that come to mind in no particular order: opening the Twitter NY office and building its team; mentoring younger designers; launching any one of my own products; charity work, which is always extremely fulfilling; Kontain, which was the first full scale product that I worked on; my work at Fi in general; my blog and the fact that I started writing never ceases to amaze me; MalcaAmit (not live any more, but it was my first client website).
Who and what influences and inspires your work?
I’m inspired by the most random things: Takashi Murakami, Tiffany lamps (and stained glass in general), Tom Waits, the Glass Flowers gallery (omg it’s amazing - go there, you’ll thank me for it), the Beatles, the Natural History Museum, anything designed by Dieter Rams, beautiful typography, The MET, random acts of kindness, young designers that have been killing it recently, and of course my wife and daughter <3
What are you excited about at the moment?
The fact that the internet is now connected to everyday objects is really fascinating. But when you combine that with good design, something companies have recently started to embrace properly, it gets me really excited.
Tell us about an important lesson you've learned in your career.
No matter how good the idea is, no matter how much money you’re making, no matter how sure you are that you can do it all by yourself, at the end of the day it’s all about the team. Without a good team, it’s pointless. Find one and stick with them, only good things can happen from there.
Name an 'unsung hero', someone you admire who deserves more recognition for their work.
The people I’m currently working with are some of the best and brightest: Joe Schmitt, Glenn Rogers, Christoph Ono, Al Barrentine, and Wes Billman. Really proud to be building things with them.
Vote in the net Awards!
Celebrating the best in web design and development, the 15th net Awards (opens in new tab) is open for public voting until 24 March. With a record breaking number of nominations this year, it's set to be the biggest and best yet. Have your say by casting your votes here (opens in new tab).