Bottom Line Up Front
- Resumes can be found here.
- You can see my github page here.
- LinkedIn here (check out all the nice things people say about me!).
- Schedule a video call with me here.
Case StudiesResearchOps at the VAStop Reinventing a Square WheelTravis County DesOpsDepartment of Labor JobCorp RebrandDeep Dimension VR BrandingLodestone Social Atomic Design
A pithy “About Me”
Hey, my name is Aslan. I’m a designer and technologist. I am always refining my craft, and enjoy striving for creative and innovative solutions to problems. At heart I view myself as a craftsman, whether I’m working in code, or with pixels (or something else!). My interests include open source, civic tech, and improving the design of digital infrastructure for organizations. I’m also interested in the contemporary edges of creative expression in technology and in my spare time I work on physical electronic art installations with my art collective, create paintings using neural networks, or ramble about the button layouts of microwaves at parties.
Why am I creating this in Notion?
My last handmade portfolio was a couple of years old, the framework I used is no longer in active development, but more importantly: I just think building my own website isn’t as important as showing my design skills in a plain, content forward fashion. Trying to avoid NIH syndrome.
- You can see my old portfolio websites I’ve built here:
- 2019 portfolio, built with React + Frontity framework, hooking into Wordpress REST API: https://github.com/jcklpe/desert-jackalope
- 2017 portfolio, Wordpress: https://github.com/jcklpe/Jackalope
- 2014 portfolio, my first: https://github.com/jcklpe/jack-a-lope.net
More about me
I bought my first digital art program, Macromedia Flash 8 in middle school. I was hooked.
I focused on illustration and graphic design through high school. In college I majored in Studio Art with a focus on painting and continued my interest in digital media at our school’s Digital Media Lab, where I did a lot of film production stuff (see a trailer for my terrible but weird/ambitious senior student film here!).
Post-college I wanted to work in interactive media of some kind. There was an explosion in indie games, and weird art experiences like Sleep No More and Meow Wolf. VR was just beginning too, but after a few years of banging my head against that wall (the video game industry is tough!) I made a huge career shift.
Career Shift to Civic Tech
I was at a Code for America sponsored hackathon, contributing to an educational game, and I felt electrified. There were so many passionate people, working on real problems, and there was a clear need for talented designers.
I decided to switch to focusing on civic tech, with my first gig at the Department of Labor working on a rebrand for their JobCorp website.
Civic tech couldn’t be further from the game industry, going from building toys to building life sustaining infrastructure, going from making Art to designing…. lots and lots of boring forms… its’ a change!
But design and craftsmanship are the same no matter the context and I think my broad experience has been a huge asset to me as an innovator and “icebreaker” on teams. I look at things from a different angle, and I get things done.
Design and Technology
My art background informs my technical approach to design. The greek word for Art is “techne” in fact!
I often refer to myself as a “design technologist” because my skillset is much broader than the average designer (though I assure you not lacking depth). I joke “a design technologist is a designer who can program, or a programmer who is bad at their job”.
For a time I considered switching my career again to development but I think my unique blend of experience is more valuable on the design side, particularly in the context of Design Systems and operations.
Sometimes people will look at my work and assume I’m a programmer with some design flair, but I assure you I am not, despite how much I emphasize the technical aspects of my work. Instead I look at my work as being holistic in nature, from human to computer, from research to code.
I think this humanistic approach to technology is necessary not just to make good products that “delight Users” but in order to make products that work at all. The medium is the message as McLuhan said.
What am I good at?
I think my strong suit is my analysis and synthesis skills. I can dive into difficult problem spaces and sort it out fast, balancing agility and rigor. I’m a sponge for information, and I sweat documentation. I have a career spanning focus on Design Systems. I speak the language of Users but also Engineers. I see my greatest asset as helping to bridge the gaps between different stakeholders, and help operationalize team work and build consensus.
But don’t take my word for it. Here are some very nice words from former colleagues:
Aslan is a inquisitive designer with a keen eye for pain points in processes. He is an enthusiastic advocate for users, open-source software, and efficiency. He is comfortable navigating complex federated design systems and pivoting swiftly when project needs shift.Aslan has a great mix of technological know-how, systems thinking, and curiosity that serves him well as a designer. — Dave Pickett, Content Designer, CivicActions
I enjoyed working with Aslan. He has a pretty unique big picture approach to his design work. He is able to embrace open source and artificial intelligence to enhance his work. By reframing things like design systems, he is able to help teams better understand building a good customer experience. — Mike Gifford, Senior Strategist, Civic Actions
Aslan is a prolific designer, organizer and learner. He dived into complex spaces, under challenging circumstances and came up with strong designs that solved problems in elegant ways. He thrives in a fast paced, highly collaborative environment. — Vishal Iyer, Design Manager, Meta
Anything Else I do?
I’ve been using neural networks to make art since 2015. It’s actually how I learned to use Linux and the CLI. If you want a run down I’ve recently started collecting some resources here:
Aslan French's Neural Network Art resources: - WorkFlowy
Aslan French's Neural Network Art resources:
Check out my instagram to see some of my experiments:
Back when I was still thinking the future of UX was going to be a lot more VR heavy I also spent a year learning 3D art on the side. Neat to check out if you’re interested in the more experimental side of my work. You can see the work I did for that at my sketchfab here:
You can also check out my blog to see some of my writing about art, design, and development.