Recently, art director Adam Ladd found himself wondering, How much of a designer’s interests and personality is revealed when looking at their smartphone screens? Given that there is an incredible number of mobile apps in existence today, an infinite number of images at our disposal for backgrounds, and limitless customization options for the design savvy, the HOW team was willing to bet you could learn quite a bit about a designer by looking at his or her smartphone screens.
Too curious to go on simply wondering and betting, we reached out to a handful of designers we know and love and asked them to take a screenshot, swipe, and then take some more screenshots. Below, you’ll find the results of our little experiment—Aaron Draplin‘s “out-there” lock screen, Khoi Vinh’s landscape mode, Matteo Bologna‘s backgrounds (“boring,” he calls them), Debbie Millman‘s puppy-themed screens, Alex Griendling’s “dumb phone” and more. Some of the featured designers have intriguing apps, some have interesting backgrounds, and some are not what we were expecting at all.
Take a peek for yourself and let us know in the comments what insights you’re finding here—and which designer has screens most like yours!
Aaron Draplin’s Celestial Screens
Read more about Draplin in this recent interview.
Alex Griendling’s “Dumb Phone”About Griendling: Griendling is a freelance designer and illustrator. Previously, he was a part of the Google Art Department, helping to revitalize Google’s visual language.
Dan Gibson’s Smile-Inducing Screens
Dan Hon’s Mobile Modifications
About Hon: Dan Hon is Director of Content at Code for America. Don’t miss seeing Hon at HOW Interactive Design Conference in Chicago, Oct. 5–7, where he’ll present a case study titled “Coding for American: Delivering Government that Works in the 21st Century.”
Debbie Millman’s “Best Friend” Backgrounds
Fredrik Öst’s Assortment of Apps
About Öst: Creative Director and Founder of Snask, an internationally renowned creative agency.
Hannah Paramore’s Sweet Screens
Joel Beukelman’s iOS and Android Screens
About Beukelman: He is currently a UX Designer on Android at Google, and has previously designed at Netflix & AppStack. Read more about him here. And don’t miss seeing Beukelman at HOW Interactive Design Conference in San Francisco, where he’ll present “Your Bias is Bullsh*t.” Register by Aug. 20 to save $200!
Khoi Vinh’s Landscape-Mode Look
Matteo Bologna’s “Boring” Backgrounds
About Bologna: Matteo is the founding partner and creative director of Mucca Design. Don’t miss the Design Heroes Premier Collection: Glaser, Millman, Kidd & Bologna.
Michael Nielsen’s Tight Ship
Sean Klassen’s Screenshots
Do your best ideas come up when you’re sitting at your desk? Neither do ours.
That’s why you need to be ready for those times when your mind is clear and your best ideas flow freely. From Aaron Draplin comes the Field Notes Mixed 3-Pack to help you get your ideas down no matter when or where they strike. This three-pack of pocket-sized Field Notes includes one graph, one ruled, and one plain paper notebook, each with 48 pages and a craft paper cover. You never know when you’ll feel inspired, so tuck these handy notebooks in your back pocket and you’ll be ready to jot down your million dollar ideas on-the-go.