Interview with Designer, Taylor Cole
“Stay curious. Work hard.”
Taylor Cole • Class of Spring 2012
What is your current professional position?
I am currently Head of Design at Seated, a startup based in New York City where I lead a team of designers that works across product, brand, and marketing.
I started my career on the agency side, and those years were invaluable. I was surrounded by amazing designers that elevated my visual craft, taste, and user-centered approach to design. I also learned a lot about organizing my thoughts into cohesive, powerful presentations. However, I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to work with early-stage companies. I love the magic that happens when engineering and design are more closely paired with the business—rapidly pushing ideas to market, testing and learning quickly, and repeating that process to create products that consumers actually care about. I also enjoy working side-by-side with product, tech, and marketing. It changes the way you think about design and your own biases when you are directly responsible for the in-market outcomes. I love that level of accountability—and I think it’s missing from a lot of the design portfolios that I see today.
How did your BFA in ComDes help you on your career path?
I had really great mentorship in the ComDes program at Texas State—and I absolutely would not be where I am today without my professors there. If you’re driven and eager to learn, you will become a strong designer by the time you graduate.
Different programs focus on different things. Some produce very slick, highly-polished portfolios—some that would probably feel more at home in a gallery vs. the app store. Others focus on very conceptual / advertising work—ones that may veer too far into marketing to land you a great design gig out of school. The program at Texas State does a good job of balancing these two ends of the spectrum, producing thoughtful, design-driven portfolios.
What do you want future graduates to know about the design industry and its opportunities?Technology is changing our world very quickly, and designers are increasingly playing a more central role in innovation. As the average consumer becomes more technically sophisticated, the need for experiences and interfaces to be designed by specialists is more and more important. The outlook is great for young designers.
“The ComDes program gave me rigorous attention to detail, solid foundations in the craft of graphic design, and placed communication and problem-solving at the center of everything”.
—Taylor Cole • Head of Design, Seated, NYC