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carbonmade.com

Roundhouse

Charles Adler

is a designer and founding partner of Kickstarter.com. His adventures and constant nomadery include working as a programmer, designer, information architect, user experience strategist and creative director. If you can’t pick up some keen insights from this dude, pack up your pencils and call it a day.

Do you make a habit of seeking out new talent or is it completely
needs-based?

I’m constantly looking. Meeting designers (product, ui, graphic), reviewing portfolios and such.

What gets you excited about someone’s portfolio?

Solutions for personal problems. It’s impressive when anyone identifies a conflict in their community, company or personal life and takes initiative to design an alternative without being prompted.

What’s the first thing you want to see in a portfolio or you won’t
go any further?

Personal work, outside of work-work. An innate interest in delving beyond the projects handed to you. An entrepreneurial, creative, curious spirit.

Personal work, outside of work-work. An innate interest in delving beyond the projects handed to you. An entrepreneurial, creative, curious spirit.

Are you okay with sketches or are you only interested in fully comped ideas?

Both. They provide you two lenses/perspectives. Sketches tell me the process or evolution by which you think through a problem. It’s also a character reference in some cases. Someone sketches out their thinking and might be more open to share those early sketches and collaborate.

Final work or comps are nice as well. Presents the finished thought, but it’s typically a collaborative effort if it’s not a personal project, and thus understanding which pixel belongs to which team member is hard to discern (sometimes even for the candidates).

How important is it to let who you are as a person shine through your portfolio?

Incredibly important. I’m hiring people not machines. I want to understand the individual. It’s ultimately the individual I need to work with, not their designs. Their character influences their work.

In addition to the work itself, how should a prospective hire let you know they’re someone you want to work with?

Side projects. Also, twitter, tumblr, dribbble, github, etc. Show me that you’re interested in the space you’re working in. Show me your curiosity for your craft, be it design or development.

If you had to choose between a capybara and an aardvark to join the Kickstarter team, which would it be and why?

Huh. Ummm… the aardvark seems more nimble as a creator. I like nimble. But I like the grittiness of the capybara (can sleep in the water to avoid prey). But I pick aardvark. Don’t judge.