Vote Johnson, Kemerling, McClung or Murphy for Startup Designer of the Year
The four finalists for the Startup Designer of the Year award run the gamut in terms of their personal design preferences and the kind of products they work on, but all are alike in at least one regard: the effusive praise heaped upon them by their colleagues.
At our inaugural Silicon Prairie Awards event on Aug. 30, one these four finalists will be crowned Startup Designer of the Year. In anticipation of that celebration, we're providing overviews of the four contenders for each of our 12 Silicon Prairie Awards. The finalists — 48 in all — are the result of public nominations in July and input from our selection committee earlier this month.
A public vote will help determine the winners of the awards, so cast your ballot for the Startup Designer of the Year below, or visit the awards page to vote on all 12 categories.
Join us for the Silicon Prairie Awards: We have a fun night of community celebration planned for Aug. 30 at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha. Tickets still remain for the event, which includes an opening reception, keynote talk by TechStars founder and CEO David Cohen, awards ceremony and a closing party. Purchase your tickets today.
Meet the finalists
The Startup Designer of the Year is a team member, freelancer or consultant who made a mark on a startup's product by providing an amazing user experience or beautiful design. (Contributed to product active between July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012.) (Descriptions provided by respective designers.)
Jake Johnson, Divshot co-founder (Kansas City, Mo.)
As co-founder of Divshot, Jake Johnson works on the user interface, user experience, branding and code. He's a hybrid designer and developer creating a web app interface builder leveraging open source projects.
From Divshot co-founder Michael Bleigh: "Jake built Divshot's image from scratch in less than 48 hours … twice. As a co-founder he's doing more than just helping provide great UX, he has a major impact on every aspect of our product, brand, and image. … Jake isn't afraid of a little code. When it comes to front-end JS work or even diving into the back-end from time to time, he's an extremely well-rounded guy."
Examples: Above, responsive Divshot lander design; Divshot logo
Justin Kermerling, design for MindMixer (Omaha)
Since MindMixer launched the second version of its engagement platform with Engage Omaha in 2011, Justin Kermerling has led the design of its application, project sites, iconography and overall brand.
From MindMixer CEO Nick Bowden: "Justin's deep understanding and genuine interest in making the world a better place manifest itself in MindMixer's design philosophy and UX. MindMixer's UX is explicitly and frequently cited by clients and users as the difference-maker in them choosing to interact with our company. … Justin has an incredible knack for taking the complex and making it simple and easy to use. He's an integral part of everything the company has achieved to date."
Rachel McClung, Goodsmiths design lead (Des Moines)
As the Goodsmiths design lead, Rachel McClung is involved in all aspects of the site design, including visual page design, user interface design and information architecture, plus design for content like email newsletters and interactive PDFs.
From Goodsmiths CEO James Eliason: "Rachel's ability to see the big picture as we develop the Goodsmiths product is what places her at the top. She is constantly thinking about what a small change in design will do to the overall experience of a Goodsmiths shop owner. More importantly, the buyer experience is one of the best – clean, concise and leads buyers to purchase with confidence. … This isn't just about the web. Offline, Rachel has not only designed beautiful print materials but is responsible for the look/design of our new office."
Kyle Murphy, Hudl VP of user experience (Lincoln, Neb.)
Over the last year, Kyle Murphy built the Hudl design team from two to five. He coaches the company to imagine its products in ways that reflect an understanding of deep, real problems facing coaches, athletes, recruiters and fans.
From Hudl CEO David Graff: "Kyle's ability to listen to our coaches, understand their real problems, and translate what he learned into well-designed solutions has been key to our growth over the past few years. Without his efforts, we'd probably have only half the number of teams we have now, but need a support team that is twice as big. … It is worth knowing that Kyle is a computer engineering major who taught himself design. He spends an amazing amount of time honing his craft by reading, watching videos, attending conferencing, and experimenting. When Kyle decides he wants to be good at something, no matter what it is, he has the patience and persistence to make it happen."
Examples: Above, Hudl's iPad app
More: hudl.com and Dribble
Thanks to sponsors that are making this inaugural event a reality: Bellevue University, Hudl, Centennial Bank, Lightbank, West Corporation, Koley - Jessen, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Verizon Wireless, University of Nebraska and our Startup Alley participants. To learn about more opportunities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.