About Mike Barker, senior designer

Random facts:

  • I'm a big LEGO fan
  • I have a dog named Molly
  • I own vintage 1972 MINI

With a traditional graphic design education I have worked across print and digital, and filled several design roles focused on editorial design, graphic production design, branding design, user experience design, and digital product design.

My work spans these varied job titles, and all emphasis good design in service of the end customer. I have designed newspapers, apps, information/wayfinding systems, websites, museum exhibits, books, brands and magazines. And I’ve always taken a human-centric approach to designing the experience, whether a digital one or a printed product. I have held roles as a UX designer, UX/UI designer and Product designer—titles I find are often interchangeable.

As a UX designer my areas of focus include user research & testing, information architecture, product & experience strategy, design sprints, wireframes & prototypes, and UIs & interaction. Over the last decade I have been able to work on every aspect of the ux flow—in the early days before specialising, every part of ux was required.

Design school and editorial design

I attended the School of Design at George Brown College, specialising in corporate design (editorial) and multimedia. While in school I worked at the school's student newspaper, the Dialog, and freelanced laying out learning tool books for Maya/Autodesk. Between years two and three, I was also on the team that delivered the Canadian Urban Leadership Awards exhibit.

My final design thesis at George Brown College was to create a resource to help student newspapers with design & production. The result was a book, Requires Assembly, that was published and distributed to all student papers in Canada (and used as a text book for news design courses). At the same time I began giving workshops on editorial design, and took on twp important contracts. The first, working on the Globe and Mail's redesign team where I produced documentation and layout guides. I even had numerous opportunities to layout various Globe and Mail pages while I was a design editor intern. After The Globe and Mail, I worked on other editorial redesign projects, including creating prototypes newspapers for the Toronto Star (designing elements that eventually were included in the Star Metro dailies).

A designer who can code

We didn't have graphic design courses in my school, and while I did can the Applications class (maybe because we got to use the only Macs in the school), I did end up studying Computer Science. And like most of the class, I was an A-student with Pascal! I've been making my own personal websites since college, and in recent years I have contributed front-end code to a number of projects. Most of my side projects combine design and development (and also data too often), whether it's Dew, my coffee finding iPhone app, or the IKEA store openings animation, I like to keep my skills fresh and up-to-date. Recently I wrote a new version of the Dew website using NextJS. Read more about my coding skills

Notable design projects