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Q&A with Keenan Cummings

Interaction/experience designer from NYC

I'm a product/interaction/experience designer. I mostly think about systems and tools that allow people to interact with each other and express themselves. That is my jam. It's a code that we will never fully crack and learning about how and why people behave the way they do, and then influencing/amplifying that in some small way — that's a pretty cool thing to be able to do.

Software / hardware

I use the standard designer's setup: Adobe software, a Mac laptop, etc. If there is any hardware that I really love it would be my water bottle(s). I kind of collect them, although I only use one at any given time. They become this weird companion that is really comforting for me to take along wherever I go. I think that is officially nerdier than collecting coins or stamps.

Ideal work environment

I feel like I am still figuring this out. I have a hunch that my ideal work "environment" is less about the physical space I am in and more about getting into the right mental space. I think for me that means getting up early, cranking on design work for a few hours (say 7am-11am or noon), taking a break, then spending the rest of the day working with others on collaboration, planning, critique, etc.


I consider myself a super normal dude, for better or worse. I would like to say I consume high-brow culture as my inspiration (fine art, film, literature, etc). I am exposed to some of that, but I think I am much more influenced by and susceptible to pop culture influences, particularly skate and surf culture, kid stuff (cartoons and toys), geek culture (board games, sic-fi, gadgetry and experimentation), and music. More recently I am embracing those influences that shaped me as a young creative person and trying to bring them back into my work and motivation.

Admire most

This is a tough one to answer, so I'll talk broad principles rather than specific personalities. Right out of school I gravitated toward a crop of designers and artists that I admired for their work. I even reached out to some of these people and started to establish relationships. But over time I realized not all of those relationships were rewarding. Some of those people were great artists but the values and motivations for their work were not something I could identify with. I quickly learned that I can't separate the work someone does from the values they embed in the work, the motivation that drives it, or the goals they are trying to achieve. So I started to seek out people that did great work for reasons I could identify with. It's still a pretty broad range of folks, but they have become mentors and friends and those are incredibly rewarding relationships.

Oh, and I have always been a shameless fanboy of Geoff McFetridge. I would kill do own an original piece of his work.