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My story


A non-linear design path 



I’m the third of three humans raised by a single mom in the salty, humid core of Central Florida. I spent my childhood surviving two clever older brothers, immersed in art, writing, water polo, my close extended family and the wide Florida outdoors. Discovering a love for pairing words with pictures, and the power of telling good stories, I graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida with a degree in Graphic Design. I then promptly jumped aboard a plane to London to teach myself about the world.

Living in London gave me access to Europe and I learned so much that I never had available to me as a child: the world, culture, politics, design, all from a non-American point of view. It was enlightening. Intoxicating. After London (and Surrey), I moved sight unseen to Toronto, and then rural Paris, Ontario, ultimately living away for twelve years before moving back “home” to Orlando and my family.

It is still salty and humid but I’m glad to be back in Florida, helping to build a closer design community here.

Orlando → Gainesville
Gainesville → London
London → Egham
Egham → Toronto
Toronto → Paris
Paris → Orlando
Download my résumé

An five, an enthusiastic idealist
At eight, a cautious optimist



Roots in digital


Interactive design has always led me down interesting paths. Some of my first projects included designing flash sites in 13 languages for European ad campaigns, putting in the hours on big ad agency projects for fancy shoe companies and the deep-pocketed fast food industry. As I gained more experience I moved closer to work that was aligned with my own values, especially arts and technology organizations, more than happy to be working alongside other excellent human beings (or “human beans”, as I once called us).



Design in healthcare


My first significant departure from traditional design work was stepping into the world of healthcare in 2011, where I was the first visual designer embedded in the Human Factors team, a part of the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation at Toronto General Hospital. We designed and tested interfaces for medical devices and I got into the world of mobile app design, specifically for self-care of chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma and heart disease. One of our projects, Bant app, won several awards including the People’s Choice at the mHealth World Congress. Other work is still in clinical trials.
I became a design lead in the Centre and grew an in-house studio with both staff and physical space. I helped bring Hacking Health to Toronto to connect designers with medical professionals. I blogged regularly to attract designers to the industry and spoke across Canada and in the U.S. at Harvard, HXD Conference, Medicine 2.0 and others.

It was during this fertile period that I was on the founding team of Creative Mornings Toronto. I also started the Women && Tech project to highlight the stories of women in our industry, one of the first projects to do so.















Technology non-profit


In healthcare, progress was painfully slow-moving and I felt I could do greater good in a faster-paced environment. I decided to move back into technology where there was also more room for me to grow.

I started at the Mozilla Foundation as a UX/UI designer working on interfaces for the Webmaker suite of tools: Thimble, X-Ray Goggles and the Webmaker app. I advocated for design within this developer-centric organization and forged a role for myself as Design Director. I now oversaw a team doing the product design work I previously did single-handedly, and much more, including brand design, the web literacy and advocacy work around Net Neutrality, event branding and wayfinding for the annual Mozfest, and Mozilla’s large scale fundraising campaigns.

My colleagues were talented and ambitious and I learned so much about leading a team, my craft, and the serious issues threatening the openness of the web today.

Mozillians remain one of my favorite groups of alums, certainly one of the most interesting. The work I did and the people I met at this intense, mission-driven organization have become foundational to my belief that my skills are flexible and infinitely applicable to helping lift up the things that I believe in.





Running a studio


After Mozilla I started a small design studio with my husband that allowed us the unconventional flexibility to share care for our two young babies. Despite the competing challenges for our time, we built a sought-after, meaningful design business in the small town where we lived, Paris, Ontario (about 1.5 hours from Toronto). We helped dozens of businesses with graphic and web design, videography and animation. We refined brands, built them from scratch, ran campaigns, and published books, along with our normal bread and butter, the UX/UI of websites and digital design. We worked with the County on their economic and tourism strategy, planning and building campaigns and accompanying collateral. We worked with other talented local designers like Studio50 to tell the stories behind their products.

We were deeply embedded in our local surroundings and frequently volunteered whether to combat a local gravel pit, to slow urban sprawl, or to engage a community to raise money for a new school playground. We ran the frequently sold-out Paris Lectures event series that featured local artisans, a series of 20 events that grew from 13 people in a room to 150+ with waiting lists.

Our business grew steadily until my mother's Parkinson's diagnosis drew us back to Florida. You only get one mom!

Read the deep history of our studio and local interests in the Jane & Jury blog.

Currently Design Director at Glitch
Currently Design Director at Glitch

Advocate for design & humans


Over the years I have learned what doing work I love feels like. I have led projects, teams, and functional departments. I have started side hustles, seen them grow, and absorbed how different people, organizations and industries work. Throughout all of this, I have realized what matters to me, and as one of the few women design directors in our industry, I proudly serve as advocate for both my fellow designers and for great design.

The people closest to me know I am authentic, earnest, and an excellent communicator, an inspiring design leader with experience across a range of industries, remote and otherwise. Anyone who’s been in design review with me knows I have a penchant for the big picture and an obsession with the details.

Currently I am leading all design functions at Glitch, building tools to help people bring their ideas to life on the web. I always welcome opportunities to meet other people also doing interesting things! Be sure to say hello.


Skills
Design Leadership
Design Ops
UX/UI Design

User Research & Testing
Branding
Graphic Design + Illustration
Content Strategy
Writing
Remote Work
Open Source

Sectors
Technology (web & apps)
Startups & small businesses
Arts & culture
Community & non-profits
Healthcare

Orlando, Fla.   hello@cassiemcdaniel.com