I’m Derek — a designer, musician, and friend.

Principles —


Communicating honestly and transparently helps me to understand others and allows me to better be understood. Listening to someone speaking takes precedence over checking the latest notification received, so I keep my phone on 'Do Not Disturb' to ensure I am fully engaged in the present moment and giving the human or task at hand the attention it deserves.


Instead of being very active on social media, I value in-person interactions which provide a more welcoming space for emotion, clarity, and appropriate silence. This is difficult as an introvert, but I've found that staying connected with the world beyond the screen improves the wealth of my mind and the health of my heart.


Giving back of my resources and gifts is worth more to me than receiving clout or money. Monetization is never the first goal of any project I create. It is important to me to be present among marginalized communities and educate myself on the way others experience the world. The more empathy we gain for others, the more harmonious we can live among each other and help give of what we each have to benefit the greater good of humanity.


Creative inspiration and spiritual growth occur most when I listen to people who are different than myself share their stories. Recognition of privilege by way of race, class, and access to resources is necessary for me to acknowledge differing perspectives. I typically find this in music, podcasts, books, film, and most of all, through engagement with others.


I believe that practice makes progress. Striving for perfection limits my ability to connect to my purpose. Design and music are both forms of communication I use that can transcend barriers of culture, language, and emotion.

Design —


Spreadsheet Budgeting • 2015–2020


Alarm.com Design System • 2018


Accessibility Experiment • 2018


E-Commerce Startup • 2015–2017

Music —

As a multi-instrumentalist, I enjoy trying to play anything I can. In 2019, I attended an online Music Theory course with Berklee College of Music, but much of my writing comes from what feels right and is not rooted in theory techniques.

I have played bass in a gogo band, guitar in a folk band, drums in a worship band, and now I produce my own music using electronic and analogous instruments.

Currently, I am exploring how the influence of music from all over the world manifests through what I can create, with a project called Sequoia.

Writing —

Volunteering —

Giving back to the community that has surrounded me through the different stages of my life is a very important personal value of mine.

Speaking Engagements:

The Journey from Sound to Color, Sound Scene, 2020

Designing Systems with Others, NOVA UX, 2019

Animating SVG, Hackital, 2017

Design Disrupters Representative, Washington, DC, 2016

Humor in Design, Maryland Institute Colleg of Art, 2011

With the privilege of education and experience comes the wealth of knowledge. Without sharing this gift of knowledge, we selfishly hold back others from helping move the goodness of humanity forward. As much as people reach out on Out of Office Hours, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email looking for any level of design mentorship, I make time. Whether having a short discussion, periodically meeting up, or helping a new designer break into the industry of design, I am grateful to learn as much from them as they might from me.

Society contains systems that often distort and devalue the identities of our neighbors. One of those systems is the need to carry identification documents in order to receive employment, housing, education, or services. In DC, I serve on a leadership team that helps to bring restoration to neighbors in our community in need of these documents.

Portfolio Archive —