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Q&A with Reda Lemeden

Software product designer and developer

My name is Reda Lemeden, also known as Kaishin on the Internet. I am a software product designer by day and a hobbyist developer by night. Currently I am helping clients ship Web, mobile, and desktop apps at thoughtbot, Inc.

How did you get started in design?

I enjoyed drawing since I was a kid. I learnt digital illustration at a relatively young age and was blown away with all the possibilities that computers brought to the table. The sky was the limit (and the amount of RAM!). However, that passion did not translate into a concrete career path, as I ended up going to business school and majoring in marketing and product management. After a while, I became very unsatisfied with my career choices, so I took a break and moved to Japan. I started freelancing as an illustrator and logo designer. Before long, I moved to Paris for a mobile design internship in Orange, the European telecommunication giant. That was when I effectively switched careers to mobile and Web design.

What are you working on now?

I am working on small tools that make the jobs of other designers and developers easier. I recently released Sassquatch, a Mac app for people who write Sass, the CSS pre-processor. I've also been working on a color-related tool for quite a while. Shipping these projects is my highest priority right now.

Recently, I started working on a game, and I am very excited to share it with the world once it's ready for prime-time.

What tools and software do you use for your work?

I enjoy using OS X for all my personal and professional computing needs. I use Linux for server-related things. Sublime Text (Vintage mode) and Vim are my favorite text editors. I also use Xcode to author iOS and Mac apps. Although it's far from perfect, Sketch for Mac is my go-to graphic editor. Its clean interface and ease of use trump its shortcomings.

What is your ideal work environment?

My bar is not as high as some of my peers when it comes to work environments. As long as I have my laptop, power, and an okay Wifi, I can work from anywhere. I use a second monitor at work but I don't depend on it. A standing desk is a nice-to-have.

Where are your favorite places for art?

I enjoy finding art in places you'd least expect it. Nature is the first that comes to mind. I am not that much of an outdoor person though, so It'd have to be nature documentaries and museums. I also enjoy playing video games and drawing inspiration from them. Some of my favorites are nothing short of a masterpiece, at least as far as I am concerned.

Who are the designers, artists you admire most?

If I have to give one name, that'd unquestionably be Jef Raskin. His work on the Macintosh and his book, "The Humane Interface", were a huge inspiration for me when I started my career as a software designer.