When I announced that my family and I were planning to move to the U.S. last October, one of the first people I contacted was Chris Baum. Chris is one of my oldest friends in the UX community: we’ve known each other for almost 10 years, and have been roommates at various IA Summits. I also played Robin to Chris’s Batman at Boxes and Arrows for a few years. I knew Chris had started a design consultancy — Futuredraft — with two partners, and when I visited the SF Bay Area in December he invited me to meet them at their Oakland office.

We hit it off. I’m thrilled to announce that starting May 1, 2014 I will be joining Futuredraft as a partner.

Futuredraft is a very special team. The three founding partners have a combination of skills and experience that is very rare in our industry. Chris and Brian O’Kelley have nearly 30 years of combined experience designing for (and with) clients in a wide variety of industries. Hans Krueger, on the other hand, has deep experience in managing sustainable design firms; he was one of the founders and CEO of MetaDesign, which he led to become one of the largest and most influential design firms in the world.

Their vision for Futuredraft is illustrated by the company’s approach to design: it is not a top-down process led by “genius” designers, but a holistic, collaborative effort that emerges from interactions with the project stakeholders. Futuredraft’s ability to facilitate “lean” design workshops with clients is uncanny: ideas and requirements emerge spontaneously and effortlessly and (literally) cover the room, leading to further ideas and refinements in a very short span of time. The result is very high-quality designs done very quickly, frugally, and elegantly. (This is what all this industry experience buys you!)

At Futuredraft, we play in (and with) the edges between disciplines, and focus on producing value for customers (and for the world) through excellent digital design. I bring to this equation a particular concern for information architecture: semantic structures and systems that convey meaning at all levels. (One of the most interesting opportunities in our field is figuring out how to leverage and inform systems-level IA within “bottom-up” design approaches.)

Futuredraft is small, scrappy, and hungry. We strive for excellence, and produce results. I look forward to talking with you about how we can help make your organization — and the world — better through design.