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Life and Work with Helen Sugano

Today we’d like to introduce you to Helen Sugano.

Helen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My love for design dates back to my summer days as a child when I would stay in and create masterpieces in a myriad of complex mediums such as Shrinky Dinks, Sand Art, Spirograph, BeDazzler, and Twirl-o-Paint.

After an epic week at Josten’s Yearbook Camp in high school, I knew this was my calling. As Editor-in-Chief, I showed up early and stayed late perfecting each pixel of the award-winning Overlake School Yearbook.

I ventured off to the University of Southern California to obtain a degree in psychology while picking up a few design jobs here and there. As it became apparent to me that I would not be the second coming of Freud, I began using my open credits to take design courses and started working for an online educational company as a Marketing Assistant (which I morphed into a Graphic Design gig when I learned we were rebranding).

After graduating, I took my skills to the mean streets of Los Angeles and realized I had a lot of work to do. Luckily, a fellow Trojan hired me to work for a Webby Award Winning interactive design company called Fluidesign. Seeing the graphic design industry first-hand, I knew this was my home.

Hundreds of websites, mockups, and logo comps later, here I am in all my graphic-design glory. I am currently the lead designer for many apps, a contractor for a major educational website company, and a freelance artist specializing in web design & development.

Has it been a smooth road?
To be honest, I’ve gotten very lucky throughout my career. I’ve been surrounded by extremely talented individuals who believe in me, push me, and always look out for my best interest. The tech industry is typically a male-dominated field, but that actually works out in the favor of women, because we are more rare and therefore more sought after. My advice to young women in the graphic design industry would be to take risks – say yes to projects you may not think you’re qualified for. This will force you to research, grow, and expand. You don’t improve when you never leave your comfort zone. I took a full-time position as the lead (ONLY) designer for a messaging app a few years ago with absolutely no experience in mobile UI/UX, and now that is 50% of the work I do.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Helen Miyoko Design – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I am a graphic designer who specializes in mobile & web UI/UX design. I do some print & identity work – logos, business cards, letterheads, flyers, etc., but I really prefer to design app interfaces and websites. My style is very clean, modern, and aesthetically pleasing. I believe strongly that less is more when it comes to design. I am very proud of a website I recently designed for a La Jolla based lash studio – Ininfit Lash Boutique (https://infinitlashboutique.com/). I think my ability to decipher what a client wants from their explanation sets me apart from others.

Often it feels as if the media, by and large, is only focused on the obstacles faced by women, but we feel it’s important to also look for the opportunities. In your view, are there opportunities that you see that women are particularly well positioned for?
I think the tech industry has a ton of opportunity for women at the moment. I see a lot of campaigns for girl coders, and I think it’s great. In my office of about 40 people, I was one of just three women until recently. There is so much money in tech, and every company I’ve worked with would be extremely excited to have a woman on the team.

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Image Credit:
Helen Sugano

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