Sean Nelson is a multihyphenate designer with a focus on product and user interface design.
In junior high, Sean was kicked out of jazz band for skipping rehearsal to attend an after-school web design class. Learning to code was not only powerful for him, but by learning the basics of programming for the web, for the first time he not only needed to decide how something worked, but how it looked. And with little interest in fine arts at that time, it was technology that introduced him to design. In high school he worked for the district’s IT department where he was responsible for supporting faculty and staff with their computer hassles. Often being pulled from class to help a teacher or the principal, he gained valuable insight and empathy into how individuals used, perceived, and reacted to technology and software—something that would serve him well in the future. Years later, he found himself dropping out of university and moving to San Francisco to work as an interface designer, before accidentally becoming an entrepreneur and co-founding Y Combinator-backed startup SimplyListed. After its disbanding a year later, Sean fell into industrial design after visiting a Dieter Rams exhibit at SFMOMA and decided to move back to his home state of Ohio to study at DAAP.
During his time at DAAP, Sean was fortunate to co-op for a number of innovative design studios including MINIMAL, Sprout Studios, Loft, and Factory, working in a wide array of product categories including consumer electronics, healthcare, and user interface design for clients ranging from the Fortune 500 to fresh-faced startups. Nights and weekends were spent working on side projects including the acclaimed iOS game Patchmania that was featured multiple times on the App Store and grew to millions of players throughout 150 countries. Now completing his final semester, his experiences in studio and co-op cumulate into his capstone thesis Nimbus—a hardware and software solution to privacy and data ownership issues with cloud services. Nimbus is a multidisciplinary capstone, touching on industrial design, packaging, app design, as well as web design and development.
Sean takes a considered and minimalist approach to both design and life, surrounding himself with things that matter most (and as a result probably has the most organized closet in DAAP). His body is 40% Earl Grey tea and he loves to play the blues on his '97 Stratocaster Plus, Emma. Sean's background in interface design and formal education in industrial design have focused his efforts on consumer electronic products where its software is just as important as its hardware. Because to him, pixels matter just as much as matter.