January 27, 2020

Five Questions with Julie Sanduski: 2019 Adobe Creative Resident

Julie Sanduski first discovered her passion for human-centered design when she joined IDEO’s Food + Future CoLab. After graduating from Tufts University with a degree in Entrepreneurship, Computer Science, and Design, she relocated to Seattle to work as a Project Manager at Microsoft. After two years there, she submitted a passion project proposal to Adobe and was selected to represent the UX community as one of nine creative residents.

As a 2019 Adobe Creative Resident, Julie is exploring how human-centered design can inspire a sustainable, circular food system. During her one-year residency, she’s conducting design research and engaging with industry leaders to design products focused on preventing, redirecting, and repurposing food waste.

Julie joined Camille Matonis and Sarah Steiner at “Design For Good: Hackathon”, one of the In/Visible Talks 2020 workshops on January 17. Here are some insights into her creative life.

What is your relationship to the creative process?

“Often unscheduled, messy, magical, yet all-consuming. I’ve learned that as much as I build structure and routine into my everyday, I sometimes can’t schedule my creativity. We all will have on days and off days, and there will be moments when you need to lean into your creative energy, and others when you need to take a step back.”

How or where do you find inspiration?

“Through connection—getting out in the field, speaking to others, and trying to understand the WHY of the problem I’m trying to solve. If I’m ever feeling stuck, I’ll often go on a long run to disconnect and allow myself to work through my thoughts.”

What was one of your biggest creative challenges?

“I’m a little over halfway through a year-long residency that has by-far been my biggest creative challenge. I’ve been diving deep into understanding the human behaviors that contribute to food waste and what we can do to address them. Food is something we all relate to, yet all have different relationships toward. Wasting food is one of the largest, most tangible contributors to climate change, but we naturally feel several steps removed from it. If we encouraged everyone to make one small change in their life, that would make a tremendous difference.”

When did you first realize you needed to be in a creative field?

“I’ve always thrived off of a creative energy, beginning when I fell in love with cooking when I was young. I love working with my hands, experimenting, and bringing ideas I have in my mind to life with the resources I have around me. When I realized the impact that design has on some of the most trivial of things, that’s when it really hit me: Designers build the world around us. I haven’t met a designer who isn’t trying to have a positive impact through their craft. It’s such an amazing community to be a part of.”

What’s on your desk?

“A plant (of course), lists (lots of them), and a stack of books holding up my monitor because, why not?”

Bonus Round: What is your favorite digital or nondigital tool?

“I have to give this one to my cast iron skillet. It’s one of those things that I’ll have (quite literally) forever, that gets better with age, and is the best freaking thing I own.”