Software designer Laura Taylor (GD ’12) uses her skills to help deliver health care

I graduated in 2012 with a BFA in Graphic Design. I was interested in pursuing fine art, but knew that I was better suited to craft. Design struck me as a way to create something beautiful as well as functional. Now, with six years of experience working in the field, I find that design is first and foremost a way of approaching and solving a problem. And, because of that, what you can do with a graphic design degree is surprisingly and wonderfully vast. 

After graduating, ready for change of scenery, I moved to Boston and started working as a Junior Interaction Designer for Wayfair. This was an ideal first job. I was exposed to branding work and user experience/user interface (UX/UI) design as well as straight-up graphic design. UX/UI design emerged as my favorite discipline. I loved the almost-anthropological process of understanding a user's motivation and needs, and putting the "form follows function" adage to actual use.

I was able to follow this path forward when I decided to move to Germany. Even though I did not speak German, my abilities were sufficiently in demand that I got a work visa and job without terrible difficulty. I worked at a travel company in Berlin for two years, and was constantly grateful that my career choice allowed for both flexibility and security.

My initial experiences were with e-commerce companies, but I became interested in design applications within healthcare. Unsure how to pursue this, I moved back to North Carolina and started taking classes in UNC's Computer Science department, which specializes in medical technology. I worked on projects involving augmented reality and surgical procedures, and loved it. I also worked at a local dermatology office and got experience in creative strategy development.

Now, I work at a healthcare startup called Hometeam as a Senior Product Designer in Manhattan. I design medical and operational software with the goal of innovating how elderly home care is delivered. My team works closely with caregivers, clinicians and care coordinators to understand their challenges, so we can create tools that help them work more efficiently, and enjoy doing it. We have a close relationship with the company's leadership team, who helps us align on greater strategies and goals. Because design thinking is based in a thoughtful understanding of the user and the context of the problem, I've learned so much about other roles and about business in general. Gaining that range of understanding has been one of the most rewarding aspect of working in design. Another has been this ability to experiment. Design has literally taken me around the world, and through various different sectors and concentrations. For me, there have been are too many options to feel stuck, too many new developments to grow bored. I'm still excited about where design is going, and can take me. 

~ Laura Taylor