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Design at Upstatement

By Mike Swartz

Design is at the center of everything Upstatement does, from our work to our process and day-to-day operations. When we say “design,” we mean much more than visual, graphic design. To design something means to take a considered, thoughtful, rational approach with the intention of improving the outcome. We use design to think, we use design to research, and we use design to inspire.

From the earliest days, we’ve been adamant that designers must work in the medium of the web. That usually means they must code (and at Upstatement they all do). But it also means that we have to work very close to where our users will experience our work. We prototype ideas and get them in front of users early. We use real content. We’re not afraid of our designs breaking (as long as it’s not in production!). Teams at Upstatement are built to give our clients and partners direct access to the most talented thinkers and makers in digital design today, which is why we run project management so differently (see Caroline’s note). We support these teams with a flexible process to ensure quality, repeatable outcomes, but aren’t afraid to build something entirely new when the situation calls for it.

Before Upstatement, my partners and I worked in journalism and editorial design. This experience forms the core of Upstatement’s unique point of view when it comes to digital design. We build experiences people want to use again and again, with a focus on content and story. We weave between branding, strategy, interface design and making tools for creators. We hire smart people and teach them to ask questions, and support them as they dig deeper to find original ideas and solutions.

I like to believe that there’s nothing the team at Upstatement can’t do, but if you’re reading this, it’s because we think we’re one of the best in the world for your particular project. Our experience creating digital content strategies, digital brands, user interfaces and tools to support them is deep and constantly getting deeper as we develop new process and build new tools. We’re excited about what we can do for you, as well as what you’ll teach us.

Mike Swartz's headshot

Mike Swartz


Mike founded Upstatement back in 2008 with the mission to blend world-class design with technology. Mike’s background in design and computer science informed the culture, process and values of Upstatement, where day-to-day he charts the course for where the company is headed next, and mostly tries to stay out of the way.