Introducing our Lead Design Partner: Michelle Schulp

Alongside the recent launch of Lumen Foundry, we have also forged key partnerships to provide our clients with expertise across a range of disciplines.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Michelle Schulp, our Lead Design Partner.

If you’ve been around the WordPress community for awhile, you probably have seen her and her on-brand pink hair at a conference, WordCamp, or on Twitter. There are many reasons she’s so well-known…

Her background

As a kid, a fun day for Michelle was participating in a design focus group for products. Once she found out that design could be a career, it was inevitable that it would be her life’s pursuit.

In college, Michelle’s studies prepared her for the world of user experience design. Her focus on Visual Communications along with minors in Psychology and Sociology worked to shape her skill set and design approach – “people oriented”.

“The difference between design and art, is that art comes from within to solve your own need, and design comes from without to solve an external need.” – Michelle Schulp

Since then, she’s built a notable design career and expanded her skill set to include front-end development and UX design.

WordPress Community Involvement

Michelle attends an inhuman number of WordCamps and regularly creates new illustrations of Wapuu, the unofficial mascot of the WordPress community.

She first attended a WordCamp in 2011, when she was just starting to familiarize herself with the content management system, and was fascinated by all the smart people sharing their knowledge. But she didn’t talk to anyone the entire time.

After that, she had a challenge for herself: she was going to break out of her shell and get involved the next year. From attending local Meetups to speaking about design to volunteering at WordCamp Chicago, her local community involvement turned into involvement in the WordPress community as a whole.

Michelle is a proponent of empowering people to accomplish the things they want to do via design. As she began presenting about design and received positive feedback, she fed off of the “A-ha” moments that she witnessed.

Oh, and it’s a pretty awesome platform to boot. Sorry, Michelle isn’t moving to Joomla anytime soon.

Michelle’s design philosophies

Michelle’s core design philosophy is that every aspect of a design should be powered by a reason.

“I don’t design to win design awards. I’m not a designer that wants to win the approval of other designers. I’m a designer that wants to design to achieve the goal, whether that’s an ROI, better clickthroughs, or an easier to use UI.”

Recently, there’s been a trend among the design community to call web design boring, uncreative, and dead. Michelle disagrees with the basis of that argument. She sees designing for the web as designing wayfinding. “You don’t want your street signs to be creative, because people won’t be able to understand them and will get lost.” Instead, she believes wayfinding (web design) should be clean, comprehendible, and consistent.

In other words, it’s not a place for ego-originated art.

“If a site is really well designed, you’re not going to notice the design… You’re just going to use it.”

Michelle is also prepared for the future of design. With the birth of smartwatches and even interface-less products like Amazon’s Alexa, design decisions will be less about the tools, platforms or appearance, and more about experiences.

Looking to the future

Our partnership with Michelle has already begun. We recently launched a redesigned Westlake Pro eCommerce site, which was designed by Michelle and developed by our team. It’s a perfect example of how our collaboration can produce beautiful results.

She’s looking forward to working with our existing and new clients on innovative projects.

Welcome, Michelle!

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