#FreshMeatFriday: UX Designer, Joey Mueller


By rizeabove / / Get ready, we’re about to share another one of the top young creatives in Minnesota in a feature we like to call: Fresh Meat Friday. If you, or a youngin’ you know, have roughly between 0-5 years of professional experience and a killer book, please—for the love of all that is holy—shoot us an email: [email protected] Now, without further ado, let’s meet Joey Mueller. Joey graduated from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2015 with a degree in graphic design. During the school year, he worked with Droxr (Social media marketing firm), WEDGE (IT, web design, and web strategy consulting firm), Storytech (Video and animation firm) and in 2014, created the iOS application Gifit which gained national attention. After college, he started working as a contract web designer at Best Buy. He currently freelances. Alright, Minneapolis. Let’s get to it. Hi Joey, nice to virtually meet you. Right off the bat, we saw that you were doing all sorts of stuff even before you graduated from design school. We appreciate that kind of drive and initiative. What would you say your career and creative aspirations are? Where do you see yourself in, say, five years? In five years, I picture myself either in working in a creative agency (fingers crossed, I’m looking…) or running a small marketing operation of my own. I love the variety of work that comes with what I’m doing now—one day I’ll be at an auto body shop discussing untapped marketing opportunities, one day I’ll be at one or two restaurants finalizing a website or going over a new social media approach, one day I’ll be working with an artist on an online portfolio, and another day I’ll be at a farm brainstorming web strategy. I’ve figured out that my passion lies in helping businesses solve problems, as corny as that sounds coming from a young 20-something. But I really mean it. And that, along with the variety of work, is what’s drawing me toward agencies right now. Sounds like you really want an agency job (agencies, check this guy out). So, what led you to where you’re at now? Well it definitely starts at around age 10, when I started a few monopolies on the Neopets marketplace. Ever since then, I’ve found myself right at the intersection of business and technology. I started selling virtual currencies and flipping accounts from online games. Jumped into affiliate marketing whenever I saw an opportunity for a positive return on an AdWords campaign. Was always selling things I’d bought in bulk on eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist. Sold Twitter followers and Facebook likes on an ecommerce store after reading a book on SEO and web design. Monetized a few humor blogs and social media accounts. You know, your usual after school activities. After high school, I pursued a degree in design instead of business or computer science because I wanted to expand upon my creative skills. After a few semesters I became obsessed with the real world applications of what I was learning, and started a few projects of my own—the biggest probably being an iOS app that I designed, outsourced, and marketed. At the same time I found myself immersed in the world of social media and online influencers, which landed me a Taco Bell commercial and a certain level of Tumblr fame I can only dream of completely erasing from my memory. I guess all of that has lead up to where I am now—an eclectic Minneapolis freelancer that recognizes the bottom line. Although you didn’t pursue business or computer science, you definitely have a knack for the two in your work. What are your top three favorite projects? Gifit—the first successful iOS app built for sharing reaction gifs. This trend has since taken the form of keyboards and in-app solutions, but it was fun to be behind something used by A website for Chris Larson, a local Minneapolis artist. I liked this because it was unconventional. Previously he had no online portfolio of his work, and being able to offer a website that makes his art accessible to the world was rewarding for me. My chinchilla’s Instagram account (@adobethechinchilla). Here are just a couple of sites that I’ve worked on. Great work. We dig the chinchilla. Are there any cool new projects coming up that you can talk about (ad related or not)? If so, what excites you about them? I’m the type of person with a notebook full of ideas, but there are a few projects taking shape right now. One of them is a sort of wifi-based customer loyalty program aimed at helping bars and restaurants build relationships with repeat customers. I’m not going to say much about it but I think it has potential, and I’m working with great talent. I’m also working with the owner of the Aster Cafe by the stone arch bridge on a digital strategy for the Aster and a new Mexican restaurant next-door called Jefe. We’re just about ready to wrap up. Just curious, have you won any awards for your work? I haven’t won any awards, but I’ve gotten plenty of media recognition for my work, which is on my portfolio. Thanks, Joey. Check out more of Joey’s work on his website: http://joeymuellerdesign.com. And be sure to check out our last feature, Tyler Johnson.