Interview with Freelance UI Designer & Developer Tanya Merone

Last month, I was listed in a post on Line 25 called 40 Amazing Female Role Models in Web Designcrazy, i know! I was pretty excited to be included on such a list of kick ass ladies, including a couple I’d already interviewed for this blog, including Niki Brown and Krissy Gogel. From this list, I let word out on Twitter than I was interested in interviewing many other ladies from the list and the first to come forward? The lovely Tanya Merone! You can check out her site at or follow her on Twitter @tanyamerone.

Good design must be intuitive, memorable, and deliver its message.

Give us your “elevator pitch”, who are you and what do you do?

I am a Graphic Designer based in New York, specializing in User Interface Design and Development. My edge is creating clean, appealing, and functional designs which comply with the latest web standards. I love when people look at the finished product – whether it’s an application, a website, or a postcard – and find the user experience and presentation intuitive.

What’s the most inspirational book in your library? (Doesn’t have to be design related)

There’s an old illustrated children’s book that I flip through sometimes. It has been published around the time I was born by an obscure author, and I used to love to read as a child. Its yellowed pages are decorated by colorful doodles that cover simple but captivating illustrations. Looking through the book brings back many happy memories and inspires me to this day.

What do you do when you’re feeling uninspired or burnt out? Do you have any rituals to help you cope? Resources to get you inspired?

It depends on where I am at the moment. If I’m at home, I got for a walk, a jog, or use my home gym. If that’s not an option, I rely on design blogs and my twitter stream for inspiration. Some of my favorite blogs are:

  • Jason Santa Maria: My favorite part is the always-changing design that custom fits every article Jason writes.
  • Veerle Pieters: love Veerle’s blog colors, her designs and tutorials.
  • Web Designer Wall: amazing vector and “scrapbook-like” hand-drawn design.

You work out of your home-office How do you keep your personal and work life separate – or do you?

I have two types of clients, those that require on-site presence, and those that do not. When I started 6 years ago, I made a conscious decision to keep my personal and professional lives separate. I failed. The only rule of thumb I’ve been able to follow is to keep Facebook private to friends, and Twitter open to everyone.

What’s your favorite project to date?

My favorite project would probably have to be the NFL intranet portal. The client envisioned it as a very dynamic site filled with colorful imagery, that invited a lot of creativity from my end. Plus, the client was very receptive to new ideas. They were happy to consider them even if they did not end up using all of them.

Do you have a nightmare client story?

Who doesn’t have a client that rushes you only to drag their feet, that can’t relinquish any control, or who demands design that doesn’t comply with usability standards? I think all designers have come across these kinds of clients at one time or another. It’s the designer’s ability to handle situations gracefully that showcases their professionalism.

Why do you think design is important? How do you see design effecting the day to day lives of ordinary (non-designer) people. What makes “good or bad” design?

If the iPhone and the iPod have demonstrated anything, it is that user experience matters. Good design must be intuitive, memorable, and deliver its message. When 9 out of 10 people can use your product without flipping through an instruction manual, you can almost pat yourself on the back for good design. The design must also be aesthetically pleasing. There are common shapes, patterns, and colors that suggest excitement, relaxation, or other emotions. Picking the right combination for the desired effect is essential to an aesthetically pleasing design.

The Bonus Round!

Favorite HEX? My random number generator tells me it is #cc0066.

Do you say “font” or “typeface”? Font.

When setting live San Serif text, which do you choose more often; Helvetica, Arial or Verdana? :) Probably Arial.

Favorite Keyboard shortcut? Ctrl+Z. Too bad real life doesn’t support it :)

Favorite internet celebrity &/or internet celebrity crush? Heather Armstrong from Her writing style, openness, and humorous photography are impossible not to enjoy, whether you agree or disagree with her approach to life.