Brian Speier – Creator of Speier Design Consulting

We all need to spend time outside of our figurative “bubble”: Talk to people you wouldn’t otherwise encounter in your professional or personal life, and try to understand their point of view and their way of seeing the world.

Inspired by the Southern California visual artists whose work can be found just about anywhere — including from the walls of a fine art gallery to the walls of an alleyway or overpass — Brian Speier’s eclectic artistic sensibilities are immediately evident in his work as a freelance design consultant. Specializing in streamlined UX and UI designs for web-based platforms, mobile applications, and more, Speier’s consulting career was preceded by several successful stints with some of the industry’s most prominent design firms. Speier, however, ultimately found the siren’s song far too compelling to resist, so he set off on his own as a freelance design consultant: .

Speier, a graduate of UCLA, has always been deeply entranced by the artistry that seemed to surround him everywhere he looked. A student of Los Angeles’ long history of groundbreaking visual artists, filmmakers, authors, and poets, Speier’s professional endeavors have allowed him to imbue elements of Southern California’s aesthetic beauty into each of his highly functional and fully streamlined UX and UI designs. Although Speier considers himself an artist at heart, he is also fascinated by the many ways in which an existing product can be made to function with greater efficiency. It is his unique focus that ensures Speier’s designs consistently incorporate the ideal mix of form and function.

Where did the idea for Speier Design Consulting come from?

I adore the unique challenge of balancing form and function in UX and UI design, and even though I enjoyed my time working for some of the best design firms in the country, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to find out what I am truly capable of on my own.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Balance is the most critical element of productivity, at least in my view. I spend so much time behind a computer that I have to bookend my work hours with some form of physical activity, preferably in a more natural setting like a hiking trail or the beach.

How do you bring ideas to life?

My best ideas are the product of quiet contemplation, which is part of the reason I try to begin each day with some sort of activity that fosters such a deep form of contemplation. Yoga, Tai Chi, or even a dawn patrol surf session help produce the ideas that energize me each and every day.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The increasing functionality of mobile applications is quite exciting, particularly with all the opportunities made possible through improved mobile functionality.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

As I noted, I am constantly striving for balance in just about everything I do. It’s like what Oscar Wilde used to say: “All things in moderation, including moderation.”

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

Although the work helped me pay my way through college, I had a few jobs that just didn’t provide any sense of intrinsic reward. The pay was good, but I couldn’t stand the feeling that I wasn’t accomplishing anything of value with my time.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would have been a bit bolder in my initial designs; I definitely held back a bit when I first started out.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

We all need to spend time outside of our figurative “bubble”: Talk to people you wouldn’t otherwise encounter in your professional or personal life, and try to understand their point of view and their way of seeing the world.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Digital marketing strategies work exceptionally well in my field, but I also make a point to speak directly with the people I encounter every day about inefficiencies or anything else that might be improved via streamlined UX and UI design.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I felt as though I was hedging early on in my entrepreneurial career; only after I embraced the creative opportunity available to me did I experience truly meaningful entrepreneurial success.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

There are plenty of existing businesses thriving despite glaring inefficiencies; my firm has been a success simply by addressing those inefficiencies, and I’m sure similar opportunities exist in just about every industry.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I spent a little more than $100 on an original painting from an up-and-coming artist in the area. The painting is now hanging in my office as another reminder of the importance of incorporating creativity into everything we do.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I’m constantly messing around with recently released applications and web services to identify any functional inefficiencies or innovative design aspects, and, of course, I’m always developing new software for my own professional use.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“Don’t Make Me Think,” by Steve Krug. It’s basically a guide for user-friendly design, but the principles are ideal for anyone looking to create a truly consumer-centric business model.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Millard Sheets (and the art center that bears his name), José Clemente Orozco, and Eric Ries.