Matt D. Smith is the owner and Design Director at Studio MDS, a small independent design studio in Athens, GA. He created the Float Label Pattern for digital input fields, the Contrast app for checking WCAG 2.0 color contrast ratios, and Flowkit for creating user flows inside your favorite design tool. He's currently working on an intensive interface design course called Shift Nudge.
You can check out his work here.
Back in the Day
I graduated from the University of Georgia in 2005 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and the following year, interned at the UGA Wesley Foundation, a Christian college ministry.
Illustration was my unofficial career path at the time of graduation, but as the world so quickly pressed me to make real money, I took a job as an in-house designer with a cycling component manufacturer just outside of Athens. It was there that I began to make many awesomely bad Flash websites, design product identities, and virtually anything else that was needed. Additional responsibilities included (but not limited to): filming, video editing, bobcat operation, construction, CNC machine operation, powder coating, laser cutting, and more.
It was through those Flash websites, where I began to learn about object-oriented programming, interaction design, and animation.
After a few years, I ventured into contracting for some larger digital agencies based in Atlanta, where I became engulfed in information architecture and user experience design. My eyes were opened to a new world and I began to truly feel at home in the professional community, with a newfound higher calling.
More time passed and I contracted for nearly a dozen agencies, seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly when it came to project management, design culture, and general client services.
Because of the nature of my transient employment as a freelancer and contractor, it was imperative that I adapted to each new environment and adopted the culture and political climate as quickly as possible. I observed and quickly found ways to relate to colleagues around me, while treading the delicate line of being personable yet professional. My college job helped with that too.
I take great pride in my ability to communicate and articulate ideas through design and visual language, but perhaps more importantly through soft personal skills. Reading body language, intently listening, being persuasive, and empathizing are all part of my designer toolkit.
Nowadays, I won't start on a project unless I know the why behind it. I can't do my job effectively unless every screen, block of copy, or interface bit has an intentional value assigned, all supporting user goals first and business goals second. You can read more about my work, here.
Email is the best way to reach me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to hit me up on Twitter as well.