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From illustrator to designer to LaunchNotes

Hi there! I’m Michelle and I’m thrilled to be the new Product Designer at LaunchNotes!

A little about me and my product design journey

My journey to becoming a product designer is a little unusual - I accidentally fell in love with design while studying to become a medical illustrator. After college, I spent a few years taking post-graduate courses so that I could apply to grad school for medical illustration. I stumbled upon design and coding in my first computer graphics course. The professor was a programmer who taught me how to code interactive games in Adobe Flash and build websites from the ground up. I didn’t know it yet, but I was hooked on web design.

Eventually, I attended grad school in Chicago and then relocated to Denver for a job at a medical legal agency where I illustrated personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Looking back, it’s obvious that medical illustration wasn’t the right fit for me, and I left the field after a few short years to follow my true passion: design.

Although big career changes can be challenging, I’ve never regretted my time as a medical illustrator. Medical illustration and product design aren’t that different at their core – both use research and data to create impactful visuals that communicate complex concepts to target audiences. Grad school taught me business and design thinking and how to conduct research, and gave me a wide breadth of technical skills, which ultimately made me a better designer. Plus, I can read x-rays!

Back to the present day

I love being a product designer and I’m a little addicted to working at startups. I’ve spent the last few years working for fast-paced SaaS companies and I’ve fallen in love with the tight-knit camaraderie of small teams, freedom to innovate, variety of projects, and the endless opportunities for learning and growth. Joining an early-stage startup and helping to build a fresh product has been a dream of mine since I entered the startup world and so I was absolutely thrilled when LaunchNotes invited me to be their first Product Designer!

Here are a couple of things that sold me on the team, and why I’m so excited to be here:

LaunchNotes really is customer obsessed

Like many designers, I’ve spent a good deal of my career advocating for usability. I’ve tried convincing, cajoling, and pleading with stakeholders through decks, metrics, and meetings to see that usability and design are critical to the success of every product. That’s why working at LaunchNotes is such a treat: they really are customer obsessed. Design is not an afterthought for Tony, Tyler, and Jake – it’s a critical pillar of product success. I am thrilled to join a company that is laser focused on their customers, where I can put my energy into building thoughtful, intuitive, and delightful products - rather than shouting about the business case for usability. I don’t need to convince them – they already know.

Everyone is a forever student

I love learning – whether it’s listening to a podcast, nerding out on UX research, or picking up a fresh design book – I’m energized by new information and ideas. I already feel right at home on the LaunchNotes team. Tony, Tyler, and Jake have built an incredible team of forever students – talented people who are always learning, hungry for feedback, and excited to grow and improve.

Practicing what we preach

One of the incredible things about LaunchNotes is that the values that go into the product – openness and transparency, communication, and celebration – are also reflected in the company culture. In the same way that the LaunchNotes platform makes communicating product changes simple, intuitive, and delightful – everyone at LaunchNotes is entrusted to take ownership, problem solve, and leave their mark on an amazing product. We make a point of constantly celebrating wins and kudos – through weekly team meetings and taco emojis on Slack – so that even the smallest wins are recognized and cheered. Sometimes, startups are so heads down and moving so fast that new projects are started the second old ones are finished and there’s no time to pause and celebrate. That’s not the case at LaunchNotes – I’m just wrapping up my first week and my tiny tiny victories have already been cheered.

Passionate about product design? Something in LaunchNotes you’d like to see us give some design love to? Curious how to read x-rays? Just want to talk shop? Reach out at any time: michelle [at]

Join us

We're hiring! If you’re a Principal Software Engineer or a Senior Software Engineer passionate about the collaboration and developer tools space and interested in working for a fast-paced, customer-obsessed company, we'd love to hear from you!

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