About Me

Hey there! I’m Nick, and I’m an interactive designer based in Chicago. I design and code websites, apps, and digital products.

The interaction between people and technology is what drives my work. In design, people are always part of the equation, so they influence every step of my process. I love to identify opportunities to improve ease of use, with an end goal of creating an optimal user experience.

My mission: To create above-and-beyond digital experiences that have a transformative impact on people’s lives.

Here's where I've been so far:

Current

  • Interactive Designer @ Real Art • Chicago • 2016–Present
    • Designer and front-end developer on the team for AZEK.com, which earned a Platinum Award in "Best Website Design & Marketing Strategy" for the 2017 Brand Builder Awards
    • Lead developer for an arcade-style video game installed on a 6-foot touch screen in client’s office, including research, testing, and adaptation of JavaScript game frameworks

Previous

  • Design Intern @ HAUS • Los Angeles • 2015
    • Contributed to the design, UX, and prototyping for the new award-winning HAUS website
    • Website was awarded Site of the Day from AWWWARDS and Best Visual Design of a Mobile Site from The 2016 Webby Awards
    • Designed digital ad campaigns and assisted with advertising strategy for national corporations including Beats by Dre, Macy’s, and Nike
  • Graphic Designer @ University Promotions • Allendale, MI • 2014–16
    • Lead designer of the 2016 “Laker Guide,” a university-wide publication distributed to over 4,000 new students
    • Lead designer on “Laker Hub,” an initiative to create a new digital signage system throughout the GVSU campus, including initial concepts, UX, and strategy
  • Web Design Intern @ Real Art • Chicago • 2014
    • Designed a variety of web-based projects for clients including Mastercard, Sony, and Essence Global

Project Highlights

Slightly • View Theme
  • Designed and developed Slightly, a minimal theme for Wordpress available in the official WordPress theme directory
  • Slightly is certified as an Accessibility-ready theme; fewer than 3% of directory themes have this designation
Swipeless • View Case Study
  • Designed and prototyped a new iPhone app that helps users improve their spending habits
  • Final prototype featured by Marvel as a Staff Pick, and prototype has received more than 10,000 views
GrooVe! Website • View Case Study
  • Completely re-designed and developed the GrooVe! Website
  • After launch, client saw a 57% increase in booking requests

My Story

I discovered my passion for design and tech while studying graphic design in college. Through my undergraduate studies, I came to understand that design is a superpower: it transforms concepts into reality, and fundamentally affects human experience. After mastering “design thinking” through that program, I realized how well those concepts translated into the development of digital products. After graduating, I knew that I wanted to identify opportunities to further explore the relationship between design, technology, and people. Energized by that possibility, I moved into several design internships that also provided an opportunity to develop a strong set of coding skills. After joining the team at Real Art, I discovered that I had enough coding expertise to succeed in front-end development projects in addition to design.

While I primarily consider myself to be an interactive designer, my experience in the field has broadened my awareness of how a designer can contribute. Designing, coding, and developing strategy can all be part of a designer's role, and I thrive in a position where I can contribute to multiple stages of the design and implementation process.

Technical Proficiencies
  • JavaScript and jQuery
  • JavaScript frameworks such as Angular and Vue
  • HTML and CSS
  • Custom WordPress websites
  • Responsive web design, accessibility, and progressive enhancement
  • Sketch
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Marvel and InVision (prototyping apps)
  • Basic knowledge of PHP
Education and Professional Development
  • AIGA Chicago Mentor Program Participant — Fall 2017
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts, Graphic Design — GVSU in Allendale, MI
Professional Values
  • Challenge and Exploration
  • Empathy
  • Honesty
  • Team-Oriented Culture
  • Diversity and Inclusion

Say hello

Thanks for stopping by. You can also find me on LinkedIn and Twitter. You might also be able to find me on MySpace, although I wouldn't advise looking for that, and I can't remember my password anyway. If you'd like to get in touch, please use the form below. You can also reach me directly at nickciliak@gmail.com.