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Q&A with Cennydd Bowles

Design manager at Twitter

I'm Cennydd Bowles (yes, it's Welsh). I work as design manager at Twitter, where I head up a team in the London office.

How did you get started? 

I have a MSc in IT, and jumped from there into the then-nascent information architecture field. As the discipline broadened I followed suit, working more in interaction design over the last decade, then making the move into full-stack digital product design three years ago.

What tools and software do you use for your work?

As a manager, a lot of my time is spent in email and Google Docs. That's design too, just of a different sort: teams, culture, plans. When I'm doing hands-on product design, I skip the wireframing stage and move straight from pen and paper or whiteboard to Sketch. I'm sceptical of many of the claims made of low-fidelity work. From there I may cobble together a clickthrough using InVision or pull together simple transitions with Keynote. I'm learning Framer for deeper motion design exploration, and I'm also digging into things like Pro Tools for sound design.

What are you working on now?

I can't be too specific here since our work is confidential. But we just wrapped up an emerging markets project, and are likely spending more time finessing Twitter's video experiences, the TweetDeck tool, and motion design standards.

What is your ideal work environment?

Twitter has this pretty much nailed: a well-equipped open plan office with suitable nooks and crannies for project space and quiet solo work. It's fashionable to complain about open plan offices but, having experienced cubicle/multiroomed offices, I can assure you it's far better to have a team together in an open collaborative space.

Who are the creatives you admire most?

I dislike using 'creatives' as a noun; it's a way to distance people. But recently I've enjoyed creative work from David Foster Wallace, Bj?rk, Updike, Shane Carruth, Marcel Duchamp, and Mikhail Tal. In the digital realm, I have a lot of time for Jon Kolko's and Christina Wodtke's writing. I've also drawn strength from the game designers and critics targeted by #Gamergate; these folks have shown inspirational resilience in the face of shameful intolerance.