Able to Leap graphic novel

Able to Leap Tall Buildings: Teachings from the Top graphic novel

Hello, I'm Courtney Markuson. I’m a seasoned problem solver, specifically in the areas of visual design, art direction and technical expertise. My formal education includes a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (specializing in graphic design and photography) and a Bachelor of Science degree in mass communications (specializing in public relations).

My background is different from most UX designers - I've spent many years practicing design fundamentals in the educational field, specifically in communication and public relations. In the public field, you learn to do many tasks and serve in other roles outside your comfort zone simply because you don’t have the budget to do more or hire additional staff. This, combined with my natural technical aptitude and desire to learn, has really turned me into a bit of a design generalist (or unicorn, if you will) when it comes to the art, design and communication fields. 
I’ve worn many hats in my different roles and have gained a wealth of experience across multiple disciplines, including: design, art direction, photography, web design, video, content writing and project management. Along the way, I’ve also had an opportunity to dive into user research and strategy through website governance, analytics and web accessibility (WCAG 2.0).

Need a logo design? Check. Need some data on your new website users? Check. Need a wireframe and mockup for that cool new app you want to launch? Check. Need help tutorial written and recorded for your staff on how to use the new website? Check. Need a some light background entertainment for your next company event? Check - well, sort of. My dancing skills could certainly use a boost, but I can definitely sing and play something nice for you. My point is if you need someone who is knowledgeable and versatile, I’m your gal. My portfolio really speaks to this skill variety, as well as my ability to tackle both print and digital projects. 

I absolutely love bringing brands to life and defining a brand's unique style and voice. I think the whole process of creating sketches, mockups, wireframes, flowcharts, prototypes, style guides and infographics is fascinating and find it really appeals to my organizational skills and attention to detail. The UX process at the bigger picture level, to me, is pretty straight forward in terms of its categories (strategy, research, analytics, design, etc.). It can get a little trickier when it comes to exactly how the steps are carried out depending on where you work, but I’m used to chaos on a budget. I love a good challenge and anything that allows me to practice critical thinking and learn something new. There’s a rhythm to each step of the UX process that really comes alive when you see all of the parts put together, and that’s something I want to put my energy into each day. With my previous design experience, I know that I can create clean, modern and usable design that works for users. 

I’m ready to stand up and be the voice of your users! If you agree, please don’t hesitate to connect with me at: or at:
What I do
I think any good designer is also knowledgeable about other roles your team is performing. I think all UX designers should also be competent information architects and understand how coding works at a basic level. Don’t forget about web governance and accessibility standards too! I’m always striving to learn more in these areas by reading about and practicing these skills whenever possible. 

-Visual/UX design: Sketches, wireframes, mockups, prototypes, UI assets (icons, logos), web design, mobile app design, user personas, user scenarios, user journeys, user flow, user stories, storyboards, design systems, style guides, product design.

-Graphic design: Print design and deliverables (posters, brochures, books, logos, etc.), art and creative direction, branding and identity, layout, illustration, electronic designs and deliverables (e-newsletter templates, presentation templates), style guides, brand books.

-Content: Content/web/technical writing, journalistic-style writing (feature articles), style guides, brand books, news articles, proofing, photography, videography, editing, production. 

-Research and analysis: Website analytics, governance, web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG).

-Coding: Basic knowledge of HTML/CSS. I'm currently studying to improve my coding skills.
-Fluent in modern UX toolsets and design frameworks: Adobe Creative Cloud (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Acrobat Pro, DC, XD), Sketch, Balsamiq, InVision, Zeplin, UXPin, OmniGraffle, Axure, pen and paper and Material Design. 

-Content management: 
Blackboard (formerly Schoolwires Centricity2), iContact, HootSuite, Meltwater. 

-Analytics/governance: Siteimprove, website accessibility guidelines (WCAG), Google My Business, Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

-Audio/video editing: GarageBand, iMovie, Final Cut Pro and QuickTime.

-Productivity: Google G Suite, Microsoft Office 365.

-Style and usage: Associated Press (AP) Stylebook.

-Social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Instagram.
Strengths and abilities
Creator. Organizer. Problem solver. Engineer. Fountain of knowledge. Computer nerd. Quirky sense of humor. Cycling enthusiast. Multi-instrumentalist. Avid reader. History enthusiast. Toe shoe fan.

Perhaps my greatest ability is problem solving. Design is all about problem solving and I love a good puzzle and learning about new things. At my core, I desire to be helpful and that has made me resourceful/my own best resource. It's given me a strong sense of empathy in wanting to make sure users can easily make sense of whatever I'm designing. After all, it's all for them.  
Design style and influences
Art has always been an essential part of my life - from spending happy hours as a kid recreating Calvin and Hobbes comics and figures from Ed Emberley’s instructional drawing books, exploring different art mediums as a freshman in high school to designing the cover and layout of my senior yearbook while serving as editor-in-chief. These experiences inspired me to pursue a career in the creative field.

As an adult, I’m continually inspired and influenced by the world around me. I might see an interesting configuration of shapes in a magazine ad, breathtaking scenery out and about somewhere that makes me take a snapshot or a cool font in a movie and try to build my own version. I love to sketch and doodle, so I often carry a notebook with me. I also like to plan out to-do-lists along side my sketches. 

In terms of art styles, I absolutely love (and am continually inspired by) the Art Nouveau movement (1890 through 1910) and the Art Deco style that followed shortly before World War I. I think of my personal design style as something that's clean with modern flourishes (like flat design) and is always well-organized.

I’m always up for a challenge and I love finding creative solutions to problems, no matter the subject area. Perhaps my greatest ability is problem solving. Design is all about problem solving and I love a good puzzle and learning about new things. At my core, I desire to be helpful and that has made me resourceful and my own best resource. It's given me a strong sense of empathy in wanting to make sure users can easily make sense of whatever I'm designing. After all, it's all for them.  
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