Jill Yoe Graves

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DIRECTOR OF EXPERIENCE DESIGN, TBWA NEW YORK, NEW YORK NY

Jill was brought on as Director of Experience Design at TBWA’s New York office to aide the build-out of the agency’s evolving digital practice. Her multi-disciplinary background and approach to UX, utilizing a holistic and systems view of design, has served her well as she develops processes to help the agency respond to new cultural and market demands. Prior to TBWA, Jill co-founded Volta Collaborative, a service design consultancy devoted to social innovation which encourages different design disciplines to collaborate to impact the worlds of renewable energy, education and community development. Jill brings this same human-centered design approach to TBWA, an approach that explores behaviors, needs, wants … and is grounded in research. This process, she believes, makes for better problem-solving and creates more successful and meaningful design solutions. Apart from this work, Jill is committed to her passion project: a service for women who have experienced loss with a specific focus on widows. This helps empower women, tapping into humor, femininity, their strength and connectedness; there are longer-term plans to evolve it into larger peacekeeping efforts.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?

Do not forget the value of putting your fingers in your ears. Critique, discussion and debate are necessary to forward growth. But sometimes to explore new ideas, brave uncharted territory and break boundaries you must silence the “noise” that could stifle this adventurous push.

HOW DOES WHERE YOU WERE BORN, GREW UP OR LIVE NOW EFFECT YOUR DESIGN SENSIBILITY OR STYLE?

I grew up with the meditative hum of cicadas in the rural south. Though an area great for fort building and bike riding by creeks, my quirky bookish ways made me an odd fit. This actually turned out to be a real positive, because from a young age I learned to be comfortable in my own skin which furthered my ability later to break convention and think differently.

FAVORITE COLOR?
Greens

FAVORITE TYPEFACE?
Gothams

FAVORITE APP?
Medium, Noisli, Monument Valley

FAVORITE WEBSITES?
I spend way too much time on Pinterest and I love But Does It Float. Fav blogs: tumblr and tomboystyle. UX answer: the search feature on designspiration.net is really fine

FAVORITE TV SHOW?
Northern Exposure, Carnivale, Pushing Daisies

FAVORITE BOOKS?
Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking. Most Tolstoy, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Proust was a Neuroscientist, Southern goodness like Mark Twain, Eudora Welty, Padgett Powell’s rowdy southern fun/trouble, the strange Southern darkness of Falkner. The Goldfinch

FAVORITE MOVIES?
Sleeper, Harvey, Paper Moon, Blue/White/Red Trilogy, Dreams

FAVORITE MUSICIANS OR BANDS?
I like everything from gritty gangsta rap to Bach sonatas. Lately, I’ve been enjoying Fat Possum’s re-release of old blues greats like Mose Allison, Jesse Mae Hemphill and R.L. Burnside on 45’s

FAVORITE FINE ARTISTS?
Through literary journeys and communion with artists connected to magical realism in my younger years, I see there is a place for fantastical thinking that unites both the real and imaginary worlds. From my adult life, I’ve always been enchanted by the work of Shadi Ghadirian and Shirin Neshat both artists in exile.

TALENT YOU WISHED YOU POSSESSED?
Time travel (naturally) so I could do the work that I’m passionate about, but never miss a moment experiencing life and being with those I love. If too big of an ask, I would settle for super breakdancing skills.

IF YOU WERE NOT A DESIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
Conduct a symphony orchestra … or dig deeper into neuroscience.

A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?
One is not born a woman, one becomes one – Simone de Beauvoir

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