Crystal Folkes is currently a Senior UX/UI Designer at Comcast Business, and have designed for brands like GE and Verizon. Before Comcast, she designed digital and print work at Jefferson Hospital, and worked at an ad agency where she helped build brands and worked on established ones like AmerisourceBergen.
Nothing fuels her mornings more than seeing measurable change as a result of her designs. Crystal truly nerds out about building systems and improving processes. Relentlessly passionate about even the most mundane project, she never half-asses anything. While she is proud of this high-profile client roster, she’s even prouder of the ways she uses her design and communications prowess for the good of others.
She co-founded Uplift, an online directory of Black owned businesses in Philadelphia, and is a proud member of CRAFTED/, a collective of BIPOC creatives working to build a better creative industry. Every year, she dedicates pro bono design work to local nonprofits. She loves to share industry knowledge with younger designers just starting out, and hopes to continue this passion for teaching through public speaking. Designing for accessibility and inclusion is hugely important to Crystal, because she believes there’s room for everyone at this table.
Tell us about the type of work you do. Walk us through a typical day for you.
I am a UX/UI Designer, and my job is to create user-friendly journeys and interfaces to educate users on business solutions and promotions.
I’m fortunate enough to work from home, so my day starts around 8:00am, I grab some coffee, check emails, FaceTime my mom to get my morning started. She’s a really good problem solver, which is probably where I get my love of UX. By 9:00am I have my first meeting of the day. Early morning meetings can be just our 30 minute stand-up or a project kick-off.
My job is pretty fast paced so once I receive a new project I spend the day creating design solutions, as well as simultaneously joining meetings. I often forget to eat lunch, something I’m working on. If I’m not in a meeting, I’ll usually have a podcast, playlist or an audiobook playing. By 5:00pm I usually wrap up my work day, which these days just means moving from my desk to my living room. I will normally wind down by playing chess or busting out some freelance work.
What does your studio look like?
Quarantine lasted a lot longer than we all hoped, so I made it my goal to make my work area fun and a space I enjoy. I’m usually a black and white interior decor person, but I wanted my workspace to feel colorful and creative. I have some design books on display, a few of my friend’s work, and some plants to finish the look.
What are your biggest obstacles in being creative every day, and how do you overcome them?
My biggest obstacle is staying inspired and motivated especially throughout this past year. There’s something nice about being in a workspace with other creatives, which I miss. That’s what inspired me to begin working on creating my own working space that gets me excited to be creative. Also my background looks a lot nicer on video calls!
How does Philadelphia influence your creativity?
Philadelphia has an amazing creative community. Everyone is so passionate and driven. It’s so inspiring and you can’t help but want to join in on the fun.
What woman/women are you most influenced by?
I’m inspired by women who make things happen. My local inspiration is Shannon Maldonado. I loved her story of how she built her business. She had a vision and made it happen and is killing it! What’s not to love about that?