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Creative Questionnaire: Suzie Im

Suzie Im is a Senior Web Art Director at Cadence Design Systems in San Jose, CA. She describes herself as an information/visual design problem solver with a high degree of design skill, innovative spirit, and business responsiveness. Suzie is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where she received a BS in Graphic Design.

Job Description:
I collaborate closely with web developers, internal clients, and external agencies to drive concept development and design execution for the visual design of web properties, online campaign deliverables, and online direct mail offers.

Current Project: went live on July 13th. It is the culmination of a huge volume of work, going back more than 18 months, which began with planning and defining a new architecture and design for the site. uses new web technologies that enable users to interact with the company and their peers in a more involved community-oriented manner, rather than just passively consuming content. Users can converse with each other and with Cadence in a more conversational way, sharing and learning from the collective participation. This helps us better understand our customers needs and develop solutions more quickly. Since going live, the site has received positive coverage from several sources including: Web Strategist, PL Design Line, as well as Newfangled.

First step in my design process:
I first run design concepts/ideas through my head then surf the web to gather more ideas, then search through stock photography sites such as Getty Images to develop concepts. I usually do a rough sketch only if I get completely stuck. Coming up with many options is the key for my design process.

Aspect of design I give the highest priority:
Design consistency, visual hierarchy, having a clear design theme.

Method for overcoming creative block:
Caffeine – cannot live without.

One typical myth about web design:
I still get really frustrated with this statement but sadly, its true. If I have a copy of Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Frontpage, Im a web designer.

Most challenging aspect about web design:
You need to have a full understanding of business objectives and translate that into a visual system that is user-friendly, brand compliant, clean, innovative, unique, beautiful, and functional. Its challenging to do all of these well but, if you tackle all of the above, you will be proud of what you did!

Most underrated aspect of web design:
I think web design in general is underrated because people think if they know simple HTML code and have copy of Photoshop they know how to do web design.

When I first knew I wanted to be a designer:
When I started getting As in all my design projects in college. 🙂

Everything I see is my design inspiration – from billboard signs to TV commercials. I always ask myself these questions: how would I do it differently? do I like that color, motion-effect, treatment? If you train your eyes to see things from your own design perspective, its a lot more fun and inspiring.

Favorite tool:
Firebug, IE Developers tool. These are the coolest tools ever!

Favorite design resource:
Surfing the web. There is nothing better than getting design ideas/resources from web. I also speak Korean so its interesting to browse through what the other side of the world is doing with their online space.


Design-related book I highly recommend:
I used to buy all kinds of design related books and magazines, but I stopped. Nowadays, I usually find design related topics through blogs and forums. I recently read this article on web usability which was quite amusing and interesting.

Currently reading:
Pretty embarrassing to say but the last book I read was The DaVinci Code. Ive been just swamped with work. Yeah… its an excuse.

Life lesson:
Overcome and learn from your own mistakes.

If I werent a designer, Id be…
a pianist

Favorite (non-design) past time:
Playing with my two dogs. Sleeping…

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