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Design the User Experience
with Samantha Eide

“My favorite projects are the ones that go through a lot of revisions,” shares Samantha Eide, CEL Graphic Designer. “That may sound strange, but I love looking back through the process to see iterations, changes, and improvements. I like the process of design—working with the client to ensure that everything is on-brand, on-message and focused on the user experience—it’s my favorite part.”

This Iowa State graduate (“Go Cyclones!”) admits that she originally went to school for pre-architecture. “I was a crafty kid, always into the creative fields. In college, I dabbled in different design areas. My professors recommended that I consider graphic design because my interests and skills seemed more closely aligned with the field. I fell in love with design and never looked back.” 

Continuous learning is Sam’s favorite part of the job. “Through design, I’ve learned so much about so many different industries and subjects. From asphalt to interior design to the science of drying corn (seriously!), design is everywhere. I’ve learned so much working with a branding agency on different projects—obscure knowledge that I never would have come across on my own.”

Sam’s breadth of work is impressive, spanning both physical and digital mediums. “Recently? My projects have included website design elements, branded event packages—flyers, nametags, business cards, pop-up signs, social media posts, billboards—you name it. I was able to create an animated video for a school marketing campaign recently, that was a unique challenge I enjoyed. More recently, I created some catering van logos, and a hand-drawn t-shirt logo.” 


Sam’s colleagues identify her as a strong interpreter and a consummate problem-solver. “I’m always impressed by Sam’s ability to problem-solve for clients,” said Kelly May, CEL Design Director. “Every project will inevitably have some sort of roadblock as we work through the process, and she’s always able to find creative, functional solutions.”

“I strive to be a good interpreter, understanding what a client needs and what they’re asking,” said Sam. “Sometimes there’s a barrier between designers and clients; we may use different terminology or want to prioritize different things. It’s important to me to anticipate any problems throughout the entire design and branding process. Problems range from small issues like a lack of important photos or having too much copy, to a larger problem like a single graphic being asked to meet the needs of too many audiences at once. We can work through any problem with creative solutions by ensuring we keep our goals in mind. Does the design meet the needs of the audience? Does it meet the goals of the client? Does the design work within the brand? There’s always a solution.”

Building client trust is also important to Sam. “It’s easy to take an existing brand and run with it, create items that work. But we can appropriately stretch brands and extend limits once we have a good trust level with a client. Once we get to know each other, understand the brand and develop goals together, that’s when we can break out of the box. We understand what clients want, and they know we have their brand’s best interest at heart.”

Cultivating trust is vital to expanding or refreshing a brand. “Working with Christy McGee (Director of Communications, Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8) is great because we’ve built a level of mutual respect and trust. I’m able to use their brand elements in creative ways, rethinking color palettes and graphic assets for new uses, and I know Christy will share honest, thoughtful feedback.”

That trust led Sam to create a hand-drawn, custom design for an upcoming community 5k run/walk, which incorporated school district colors and incorporated the mountain range from within the district logo.

“Keeping the user experience in mind is always a primary goal,” said Sam. “Designing for the community 5k was a great experience. We wanted something fresh and new, that would build excitement over the event but also communicate that it’s a part of Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8. We ended up with a design that is both functional and fun, and can be used for years to come.”


“I’d say I’m more utilitarian,” said Sam. “To some people, that isn’t always a positive description. People often imagine graphic design as abstract creativity and non-stop out-of-the-box thinking, but I like organization and hierarchy. I like document design. I like useability. My passion is the user experience. On a small scale, it’s how people move through a document to understand and interact with the content. On a larger scale, it’s how users experience a website or an event.”

Even with constraints, Sam is able to flex her creative muscles—including developing unique, hand-drawn art. “Sometimes we need cutting-edge technology, and sometimes we start by sketching on paper. There are times when something needs the extra touch—and the extra time. Hand-drawn and unique isn’t always appropriate. It’s not easily replicable or edited. It’s better for single-use or single-purpose. I am very much an upper case, sans serif font person, so I love the chance to break out and do eye-catching work, push the boundaries.”

Sam’s skills make her a unique part of the CEL design team. “Anna helps push me toward more abstract thinking when I need support,” said Sam. “She excels at brainstorming and seeing things in a completely new way. With Kelly, she knows every brand inside and out. She can pick up on small details and see how things fit into the larger body of work. She has the ability to see a brand from the thousand-foot view and then narrow in on details to ensure everything aligns with the brand. Together, our different perspectives strengthen our work.”

Sam hopes to expand her skills and do more of what she loves in the future. “I want to try things I’m not 100% comfortable with. I want to push myself to learn. My goal is to improve, learn more, and continue to support clients no matter their industry.”

Curious about Sam’s hand-drawn artwork or her expertise in user experience? Give her a shout to schedule a virtual coffee meeting.




Published on: March 20, 2023