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Solid Sit-Downs: Meet Pete Ziegel, UX/UI Designer

Get to know Pete Ziegel, a member of our Creative team in our Chicago office, during our new blog series Solid Sit-Downs.
Pete Sitdown

Growing up with two artists for parents Pete never really had any question doing creative work. He has worn a lot of hats along the way: fine art, graphic design, mural art, digital interface design.  All of which have provided him with an extensive toolset and a never-ending source of empathy for users of all kinds.

“I’m interested in design elements that keep a user delighted and engaged in an experience such as animation and micro-interactions. I am continually exploring new ways visuals can evoke a mood and tell a story without words.”

Q&A w/ Pete Ziegel

Q: What is your favorite quote, and why?

“A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.”

-B. F. Skinner

I believe that improving craftsmanship is a result of creating a lot of work. The things we create are not perfect but are part of a continuous learning experience, so to stop trying is to stop growing.

Q: What inspired you to become a UX/UI Designer?

It was a natural progression of a career in the creative industry combined with my interests in technology and psychology. I had been doing graphic design for some time and was inspired by the challenge of designing with code and for much more complex systems.

Q: As a UX/UI Designer, what expertise do you bring to your clients?

Empathy for their customers. Most of the time organizations have values or mission statements that speak to caring for customers but often do not have a process in place for understanding and learning from them. My expertise is how to gather customer insights and then designing solutions based on them.

Q: What is your approach at providing great customer service?

Understanding a customer’s vision and then committing to delivering high-quality work that will help them achieve it.

Q: What do you enjoy most about being a UX/UI Designer here at Solid Digital?

Collaboration. I think, as a creative team, we have great chemistry, and that’s what fuels our collaborative approach to solving problems. This isn’t exclusive to our creative team though, as one of our core principles, we encourage thoughtful collaboration with everyone involved in a project, and I truly enjoy that.

Q: What is your favorite morning drink?

Regular old drip coffee. I enjoy making fancy coffee with my french press or a batch of cold brew sometimes but during the week I like the convenience of my coffee machine.

Q: What is your favorite morning drink?

The Art Institute of Chicago. I have so many favorite parts of this museum but I am always amazed by seeing the work in the Ancient Collection and Ivan Albright’s, Picture of Dorian Gray. The Andy Warhol exhibit last year was awesome.

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love spending time with friends and family, playing board games, going to a new bar or restaurant, and cooking at home. My wife and I recently got into the board game called Seven Wonders Duel. It has a well-balanced game design and is intended for two players. We have a lot of fun with it and it has a lot of replay value. Lately, my go-to deck-building board game for more players has been Ascension. This game is kind of like out of the box Magic the Gathering where players don’t own and build decks in advance.


Q: What is one of your favorite things about Solid Digital’s Culture?

The encouragement for us to keep growing our craft through continued learning and gaining new skills. This comes in many forms, one of which is our SolidPro program. We are also given a lot of opportunities for on the job learning.

Flannel Day

Q: What was the last concert you went to?

Culture Abuse opening for The Menzingers. I have been a fan of The Menzingers for a long time and seen them several times before, so this was a good double bill. I actually bought the ticket to see Culture Abuse, the opener, because I’ve been really into their last two records but had never seen them live. It ended up being an amazing show.

last concert

Q: What do you like on your pizza?

My favorite pizza is topped with Pepperoni only but I like to get wild with toppings too. I also like drawing cats on pizza.

Q: What are three things still left on your bucket list?

Own a house. Be a father. Build a halfpipe and teach my kids how to skateboard.

Q: What are you currently watching on Netflix, Hulu, or any of the streaming services?

End of the Fu***in World season two. I love the dark sense of humor of this show, I might be enjoying this season even more than the first and the soundtrack is awesome.

Q: What’s your secret talent that no one knows about?

If I told you then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore!

Q: What is the 1 piece of advice you would give others about life?

Live with intent instead of reacting on autopilot because your instincts aren’t always right. Habits take time and effort to build but learning to pause and act with intent when something happens is one that will pay off big time. This has been written about in various ways over the years such as the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, but I highly recommend Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal Methodology that involves a combination of intentionality and reflection. Also, I’d recommend reading Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow which unpacks cognitive biases we should be aware of.

Q: What would you like to be known for?

Creating imagery that changed the way American society viewed itself.

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