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Digital Designer
In Austin, Texas

Hi, I'm Rick Messer. I have around 15 years of experience designing for start-ups, enterprise software businesses and agencies. Working in different types of companies gives me a unique perspective. At every opportunity, I apply what I've learned and keep adding to it.

Just a little bit about me; I'm a friendly person who likes talking about music, cooking, or your latest streaming-binge. I'm passionate about my opinions, but I really enjoy hearing different perspectives that challenge my assumptions and learning from others.

Anyway, have a great day :-D

Work Samples

Topgolf VR

Hit some bombs from your living room with up to 8 players in real time. An Oculus Quest favorite, brought to you from a tiny team with a huge name.

Golf Scope

Get those strokes back that you keep leaving on the green. Read the green like a pro with the power of AR for every putt.

Arrive

Form can inspire function. A visual vision of a design language paired with new functionality that speaks with the voice of travel.

Best Light

Equipping and enabling vacation property owners to show their listing in its best light.

Daily Digest

What do you need to know right now? Get the essentials on the go, and be on your way. A helpful tool for vacation property owners looking to track goals and stay on top of their bookings.

Booking Assistant

Help is on the way to vacation property owners struggling with response time due to inquiry volume.

Info & Approach

Design for real people

I like designing for real people with real goals. That's why I dislike the word "user". It feels derogatory to me somehow. Almost like it removes humanity from the equation a bit.

I design with my head + heart

Digital design lets me be creative and get signals for ways things can improve. I approach problems with curiosity, and strong opinions loosely held. As a designer, I love a good problem. I believe defining it is half of the battle, if not more. Most of my playbook involves collaborative rituals that continuously strengthen the team's understanding of the problem.

You can't steer a ship that's not moving

I believe that the best way to find the right direction is to get things in motion. Maybe that means a design spike, a problem framing exercise, or a concept exploration that helps us re-position. The important thing is to shine some light in the darkness. Then we can begin adjusting our trajectory with more and more confidence.

I believe in open work and that collaboration makes work better

When everyone feels represented and safe to express their opinions, we're all more excited to do the work and the result becomes more well-rounded. This gives us as builders pride and ownership in our work.

I'm big on the power of visuals

It's inspiring when aesthetic can help you feel or perceive something and invite you in. Appealing to what you like instead of forcing you down a path that feels like work.

I love the challenge of addressing business goals with new design solutions for real people. The more work I do, the more I understand that how you work is as important as the work itself.

Work Experience

Founding Designer, Golf Scope

2019–2021

Big team to small... 2D to 3D... AR to VR... I was craving a small team that could do more with less. Around this time, I had the opportunity to work on Golf Scope, an impressive AR iPhone App that showed a lot of promise. I joined a small team of 4 people, and we did a lot with a little...

Highlights

Topgolf VR - an Oculus Quest VR Game

  • After launching a successful VR Game called Pro Putt. Our small team of 4 partnered with Topgolf to create a Topgolf VR Game on Oculus Quest.
  • Art Direction for 3D Graphics and level design.
  • Created menu and UI system for 3D VR environments.
  • Oculus Quest Feature: New Multiplayer Games we love in Nov 2020.

Golf Scope iPhone AR app - Use AR to visualize your putt on the golf course

  • UI and UX for this Apple-Featured AR app
  • Branding, Logo design, website & development, marketing collateral.
  • Designed and tested methods to optimize subscriber conversion.
  • Worked closely with small team to rapidly theorize and test out features and flows.
  • App Store Feature: #5 in Sports June 2018.
  • App Store Feature: Golf Apps We love, August 2019.

Simply Putting - A Golf Putting Game for iPhone and iPad

  • Game design, UI UX
  • Art direction for 3D designers and sound designers.
  • Created game brand, aesthetic, UI, brand, website, marketing collateral.
  • Brainstormed and conceptualized features that targeted player engagement and monetization strategies.
  • App Store Feature: What we're playing right now, August 2019.

Design Team Lead, Vrbo (HomeAway)

2017–2019

In late 2016, my business partner, Phi Hoang and I at Awake Studios joined HomeAway to lead their native mobile design team.

Highlights

Design Lead, Partner Mobile Team  (2017)

  • Organized team short and long term goals and worked with leadership for alignment on goals.
  • Advocated for system UI and UX pattern changes that affected other teams, and worked with them to see them through from conception to launch.
  • Designed and pitched new feature concepts to the org that required a mental shift from near-term thinking to a new concept.

Team Lead, Design Systems  (2018)

  • Built dedicated team to 5 fully dedicated heads. It was awesome. We had 3 product designers (including myself), 3 web design technologists, 2 native mobile technologist (1 iOS, 1 Android), and part time dedicated resources from brand (for illustrations and icons) and content (to help with content guidelines).
  • We had about 6 months to prove our team’s value to the company, which we did by evaluating a few key areas that our small team could show a impact across the entire product on efficiency, consistency and accessibility standards.
  • Adoption, documentation and syndication. Evaluated and organized existing components and established a plan of attack for a new system and how it would be integrated and adopted with other teams.
  • Our team created a tool to map over 500 of all squads color systems down to a set of 12 variants that could be rolled out in a single repository that all teams could pull from.
  • Developed a custom icon system with our brand designer for our new library. We also tested icon interpretation comprehensibility with teams outside of the U.S. and iterated until they were acceptable for their intended meaning in all areas of the world that we had listings.
  • Designed a process for designers (UX studio consisted of 70) to submit requests and suggestions for patterns and components. We created an internal site for requests. We would review these requests weekly and work with designers to on a solution that met the systems standards before implementing them.

Owner, Design Director, Awake Studios

2016–2017

Wanting to form my own processes and explore other mediums like film, I started Awake Studios with Phi Hoang. We wanted to provide emotionally gripping product design work and learn to tell stories with film. Awake was an experiment that opened up incredible opportunities and fulfilled our curious desire to create.

Highlights

Co-owned a product design studio with one of my best friends, and the best designer I'd ever had the pleasure of working with

  • “Acqui-hired” by HomeAway to lead their mobile design team.
  • Created our own culture of favoring risk over certainty.
  • Operated a business, budget, client base, sales pipeline, provided client services and ran every aspect of a business.
  • Created a vlog and made a mini-film about a trip we took through the pacific northwest in our transition from our company to join the team at HomeAway. We debuted the film at a live talk we gave in Austin at an Under the Radar event. The talk showed footage of our trip in January 2015 and we collaborated with a musician who performed a live score along with our footage and talk.

Design Director, Funsize

2013–2016

At Funsize, I began to do product work for large and small tech companies in the bay area and around the world. I got my first taste of leading design teams, working with larger companies and helping new companies bring their products to market.

Highlights
  • Helped build an incredible design team.
  • Started, produced and hosted a podcast with Anthony Armendariz called Hustle.
  • Collaboratively built and established processes for onboarding clients, design retainers, and team structures.
  • Managed 3 to 5 projects at a time, serving as designer director, evaluating work, designing feature concepts and working with clients and designers on projects.

Creative Director at SceneTap

2011–2013

SceneTap was a client of my freelance business initially. As their business grew I was asked to joing the team full-time as Creative Director, overseeing marketing and product design (though, I was the only designer at the time). SceneTap was my first experience working at a start-up and what brought me to Austin.

Highlights
  • Brought a product to market for the first time!
  • Designed first iPhone and Android apps
  • Front-end developement on a Ruby stack

Early Career & Education

2003–2009

Highlights
  • Full-time Freelance: Branding, Web (Flash, WordPress sites) 2007-2011
  • Graduated from The Art Institute of Colorado in 2009
  • Started with Websites T-shirts Brochures in High School 2000ish

Reach out on the usual platforms.

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