I live in Virginia with my wonderful husband and my silly oversized dog. As a young child I learned that I and my best friend were good enough at drawing that we could sell art to our classmates for 20¢ or so. I also learned that I liked slipping away from my band of ragtag cousins to write alone in the woods. Thus began a love for making things in my own little ways.

Also in my youth I started a LiveJournal, and found that making themes for it was just as much fun as actually writing in it. Between writing stories and writing CSS, I thought to myself, “I should learn more about typography,” which was a thought that unknowingly would shape an entire career path.

Over the next four years I was sidelined with—would you believe it—becoming a better student, as constantly playing with “the internet fad” that even in the late 2000s some believed would not be a real thing was not how good students spent their time. I began studying languages instead: even now, I am an avid esoteric fact-collector on how different languages express the same ideas, which is another way of saying I’m a real riot at parties.

Shortly into my liberal arts education I discovered that “learning about typography” and “making LiveJournal themes” were, in fact, skills that could be converted into viable career options (endlessly learning more languages can be, I just wasn't good enough at it). I settled on a B.A. in Graphic Design while taking classes and internships for front end development. (It paid the bills a little better.)

Since then I’ve slammed my interests together the best I can. I’ve worked on design teams as an engineer, prototyping and filling in the gap between design mocks and usable, testable prototypes on web, iOS, and hardware applications; I’ve worked on engineering teams as the only designer, creating and producing product visions in the early stages and jumping in to do UI Engineering in late stages. My favorite work and career have been built around finding ways that engineering and design can come together to create beautiful experiences through animation, video, typography, and photography.

I’ve worked with a number of big-name brands such as Capital One, Mozilla Firefox, Github, and others. I now run my own contracting business where, in the future, maybe I’d be a good fit to work with you.

In 2015 I got it into my head that I should try public speaking, even though the small forays throughout my career had given me terrible indigestion and had never been to audiences larger than 15 or so people. I also discovered, after my first talk at CascadiaJS, that fear is relative and that I rather enjoyed it. When I’m not working these days I am often either writing or preparing talks about graphic and interaction design and how those disciplines play best with engineering. (A list of my past and future engagements can be found here.)

When I am not public speaking, I love writing about design, life, and technology. (This, perhaps because of its more introverted nature, I love even more than public speaking.) I also occasionally pen a small series entitled “Letters” that began as a way of coping with grief after a loved one passed away.

Previous versions of this portfolio have been featured in a few places, including Typewolf, Unmatched, and the front page of Designer News. If you’d like to feature it somewhere, please let me know!


If you’d like to get in touch about working together, please feel free to email me at helen.v.holmes@gmail.com. If sending email is scary, feel free to DM me on Twitter.