“I’m a Hack” — Deconstructing the 7 Stages of Design Grief


Kim Bieler, apt media

Proposal: Presentation

It doesn’t matter if you’re a graphic artist or an interaction designer, a cartoonist or an architect. We’ve all experienced the “dark night of the soul” in the design process — that moment of paralyzing self-doubt when you wonder how on earth you’re going create something brilliant, ground-breaking, and beautiful. (Or simply, how you’re going to fool the client long enough to get paid.)

Based on the “7 stages of design grief” ( — a humorous but all-too-true outline of the creative process as experienced by the designer — this presentation will examine (and refute) each of the seven stages and identify the cognitive fallacies and mental booby traps that plague creatives and make us doubt our professional self-worth.

Knowing you’re not alone is the first step to a cure!


Kim Bieler is the principal of apt media, an information design firm near Washington, DC. After thirteen years at her own company, it’s safe to say she’s ruined for any proper employment, so it’s not surprising her consuming passion is how to run a successful design business. In 2006, she started the Silver Spring Design Lunch, a monthly roundtable/support network of creative solopreneurs and micro businesses. When she’s not solving the world’s problems one wireframe at a time, she’s usually out putting miles on her bicycle or posting snarky Tweets. She designed the “Find Your Tribe” ads for last year’s Interaction conference.


  1. Posted September 15, 2009 at 11:36 am

    I’m really looking forward to this presentation! Kim always has a great perspective on UX work; practical, smart as hell, and always with a sense of humor.

  2. Posted September 16, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Kim and I have had a few discussions on topics related to this, and I think this presentation will be enjoyable, informative, and encouraging.

  3. Posted October 1, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    this would be a nice one to get towards the end of the conference.