About

Hi, my name is Grace Lihn.

I'm a product designer and design consultant.

I'm currently a designer at IBM Garage, a design thinking accelerator working with IBM cloud solutions clients around the world.

Previously, I worked at Madison Reed, where I designed new website experiences, developed innovative agile research methodologies, streamlined design process, and built a new design system with the engineering team.

Outside of my 9-5, I'm also a consultant for nonprofits and local entrepreneurs. Past projects include designing e-commerce websites and learning management systems, as well as consumer research and overarching design strategy. In some cases, I also provide systems architecture support, since many clients' websites need to be designed and built with integrations to data analytics, operations, sales, supply chain, and marketing tools. My approach to consulting is a blend of being designer, strategist, and product manager – I take the time to understand existing processes and work with my clients to establish new ones that incorporate human-centered design thinking into their day-to-day workflow.

I have an interdisciplinary background in environmental studies that is rooted in systems thinking. When I'm not designing in Figma, I'm usually building systems and tools (I spend a lot of my free time experimenting in Airtable!) or brainstorming ideas for inclusive, equitable digital experiences.

My skill set

Product design:

  • Design thinking
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Low, mid & high fidelity wireframes
  • User experience (UX) flows, journey mapping
  • Interaction design, CSS animations
  • Responsive web design
  • Inclusive, participatory design facilitation

Research & testing:

  • Planning, recruitment & analysis
  • Ethnographic interviews
  • Usability testing
  • A/B testing
  • Metaphor Elicitation Technique (simplified)

Software tools:

  • Design: Figma, Sketch, Affinity Designer, Adobe CC
  • Prototyping: Figma, InVision, Marvel, UXPin
  • Web development: Webflow

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science, UC Berkeley
  • UX Design Certificate, Designlab

See additional details and work history on LinkedIn.

My approach to design

My design framework is influenced by human-centered design principles, Frank Chimero's ideas in Shape of Design, Liberatory Design, Design Justice Network Principles, and Participatory Action Research (PAR). I believe that the people most deeply impacted by a problem should be centered as decision-makers during the design process. I also understand that it's challenging to do so, that it's a continual work in progress to achieve this. I'm inspired by projects like the Consentful Tech Project and the Center for Humane Technology, as well as the work of Greater Good Studio.

Before pivoting to product design, I worked on several diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) projects, one of which was leading an equity audit within a community grocery cooperative in Berkeley, CA. It was through this work that I found my passion in working collaboratively with people to rethink our processes for addressing complex challenges faced by our communities. That's why, although I work full-time as a product designer at IBM, I still consult for nonprofits and local businesses.

Design in action

Check out my design and research case studies to see how my design process in action;

Designing with purpose

I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 25 years, so I’m well acquainted with technology’s potential and its impact. We've witnessed the way products are often designed with good intentions, but still have a negative impact on people or the planet. It's time to rethink the way we design products and technologies, to make a more concerted effort to design with impact in mind.

Through a more inclusive and mindful design process, we can uncover solutions that are more meaningful, impactful (for both the business and users), and empowering. As a designer, I strive to not just build better product experiences, but also pave the way for improved processes and frameworks.

I strive to change the way we approach product development lifecycles in the tech industry, so that our products are more consentful and humanizing.
Interested in working together? Let's chat!