Each month we invite a creative to curate our social feed for one week. We spoke with this month’s Guest Curator Maddy Beard about her creative career and the inspiration behind her moodboard.
“When I think back to where my creativity started, I think of two very different things: watching my older sister create incredible, expressive art, and wanting so badly to be like her,” shares Colorado-based UX designer and Adobe Creative Resident Maddy Beard.
But unlike her sister, Maddy’s perfectionistic tendencies held her back from free creative expression. She describes her childhood drawings as “tiny drawings lined up perfectly” and recalls countless sketchbooks that were abandoned after “messing up” one single page.
Balancing raw creativity with her penchant for order and organization was a constant challenge—until she found graphic design, a discipline that would allow her to tap into her creativity while embracing guidelines, problems, and solutions. She calls it “home.”
After getting her degree in Graphic Design from Penn State, Maddy decided to hone in on her strengths in UI/UX design. “Designing things that people use is such a powerful concept to me,” says Maddy. “They’re not just looking at my work, they’re using it as a tool to accomplish something for themselves.”
As a part of her Creative Residency this year, Maddy is creating 4 in-depth case studies in different areas of wellness. Her first project is a smart diffuser app that integrates aromatherapy into everyday life and helps facilitate mindfulness.
Maddy’s approach to UI/UX design is rooted in empathy and cognitive psychology. As such, research is an integral part of her design process. The first step for any project is to conduct foundational research to identify the problem and make sure that she is solving the right problem. Then comes synthesizing, writing, and Maddy’s favorite — sketching: “I’ve gathered so much information, I have all of my ideas in front of me on sticky notes and the possibilities are endless! This is when all of the long hours researching and planning finally come together into something visual.”
Maddy often finds visual inspiration through Behance: “When I’m starting a project or find myself in a creative rut, I’ll look at what people are posting on Behance and the magnitude of creativity is so motivating and inspiring.” She also creates specific moodboards for reference, like case studies or progress bar designs.
Her moodboard for this week’s takeover is inspired by vibrant colors and bold graphics: “I’ve found myself craving color and vibrance in my life and work. I used to be drawn to minimalism, neutral colors, and lots of white space. But lately I’ve been getting inspiration from the exact opposite.”
One of the projects in Maddy included in her moodboard is a project by designers Elena Saharova, Elina Chanieva, Natalia Yankelevich. Titled Balance, it’s a tool designed to help people evaluate their lives and reflect on their goals. “The blend of typography, photography and gradients makes for such an interesting visual voice,” says Maddy. “I also love the smooth, natural animations in the interface.”
Another is a series of neon collages by Olga Tkachenko. While the medium and style are very different from Maddy’s designs, she says collages are one of her favorite mediums to get inspired by. “I love how bright and interesting these are — there’s so much to look at in each one!"