School of Art, Media, and Technology

BFACD Alumni Feature: Harlie Brindak

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Alumna Harlie Brindak’s described her latest venture, Looop, as the highlight of her career thus far: “At Looop, we’ve built an app that let’s you know how busy places are in real time that’s LIVE in the App Store today. In school everything is a prototype, or an idea; even final presentations are still just ideas. At a startup, every decision is important and it can feel like you are building endlessly in the service of properly questioning and validating your product. To have something out there in the world, being broken, praised, and questioned by real people, is the highlight of my career so far, because no matter how painful it may be to hear, it has allowed me to evolve as a designer.” Harlie is currently the design lead at Looop and was previously at Interbrand. Check out the app and more of Harlie’s work at www.harlierosebrindak.com.

What were your favorite classes at Parsons?

So many! but I will list the ones that had a direct impact on my growth as a designer:

  • Intro to Print Design (with Aaron Brashear) taught me how to explain my designs, defend my decisions with logic and reasoning, and think critically on the spot (not just in theory).
  • Topics: Advertising with Marcos Chavez, taught me the importance of a good presentation; consider the viewers experience and take them on a journey.
  • Translations (with YuJune Park and Caspar Lam) taught me that there’s nothing that can’t  be used to influence your work, just wait for the right time. I used plastic bags and containers I’d saved as the focal point of my project (yes I am definitely a hoarder, but aren’t all designers to a degree?).
  • Thesis with (Luke Bulman) taught me to go what with what felt right, even if the path I had been on was leading me elsewhere.
  • Of course all print classes, because… it’s print.

What did you wish you knew as a student that you know now?

I wish I realized how lucky I was to be able to work on different things at once. In school it’s easy to complain about your work load, but it’s really access to constant stimulus, and a workout for your mind. Working on the same thing all the time (no matter how challenging) can drain creativity. Find ways to keep your mind sharp and exercise design thinking – challenge what you think you know.

Who do you look up to in the design community?

Choosing to join the founding team of a startup means choosing the path of entrepreneurship, and I’ve had a cognitive shift in what I believe to be the purpose of design and how it impacts business. John Maeda’s Design In Tech reports, facilitate conversation around the relationship between design and business. Any designers (or anyone) interested in this industry should take a deeper look into what it really means to build a product for people – this is something I am still trying to understand.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

At Looop, we’ve built an app that let’s you know how busy places are in real time that’s LIVE in the App Store today. In school everything is a prototype, or an idea; even final presentations are still just ideas. At a startup, every decision is important and it can feel like you are building endlessly in the service of properly questioning and validating your product. To have something out there in the world, being broken, praised, and questioned by real people, is the highlight of my career so far, because no matter how painful it may be to hear, it has allowed me to evolve as a designer.

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