My name is Steven Calhoun.

I am a multidisciplinary designer based out of Somerville, MA.

I have an educational background in product design, design research, and business strategy.  In short, I am obsessed with the intersection of design and business innovation. I love investigating how businesses lead their industries with strategic design positioning. All products and services have the same end goal: to give the user value that is worth the time/monetary cost. Design thinking can help find ways to make both the provided value more catered, and the cost more optimized. I believe design is a tool that helps us make sense of complex systems, and that is what perpetuates my love for problem-solving through design.

I began my journey as a designer in the garage of my childhood home, building toys, skate ramps, and forts as my father built Spanish missionary-style wood furniture out of cherry and walnut woods. By constantly building and prototyping, even as a child, I recognized the power of articulating thoughts through different mediums.

This process of building, refining, and repeating was ingrained in my head. I always knew I wanted to become a creator, but what I didn’t know was what I would end up doing for a profession. Design found me as I was looking for jobs that focus on expression, understanding, and creation.
Outside of professional life, I love creating watercolor and multi-medium artwork. I push pigments around until my brain feels happy about it. Painting makes me feel calm, nothing more to it!
Art portfolio :)

Contact me

Bored? Need a drink? Want to show me pictures of your dogs? Want to ask me what the image is? ...Or maybe you want to talk about working together. Whatever it is, hit me up, and let’s chat!

Email here:
Or click here:  Contact form

Good design is fun (ctional)

  1. Design is a systematic process of solving problems within the limitations set onto us.
  2. Design is a method of communication that allows stakeholders to understand and translate our intents into action.
  3. Design solutions balance the needs of your users while ensuring your organization’s goals are achieved (these things ideally align!)

Good work makes me happy The thing that excites me most about design is its ability to teach me new things. Curiosity and stubbornness drive my quest for understanding. Design allows me to approach specific problems with definitive parameters. I’ve always thought that the most successful outcomes are generated from times of stress, limitation, and ambiguity.

Process makes perfect (ish)

Design without process is like baking without measuring. You may know what you need, you may know all the required materials, but without the correct sequence of steps, you’re leaving a lot of the work up to assumptions and luck.

My design process

  1. Investigate
    The most important aspect of design is understanding. This means understanding your goals, users, and the limitations that always come to rain on your design parade.
  2. Iterate
    Once the fuzzy ideas begin to form a design solution, the best thing to do is to create and fail. Only through knowing what is working and what is not can you truly tell if your solutions are perfect. (Inherently, no design is perfect though)

  3. Assess (inate?)
    Design methodology, much like the scientific methodology, relies on proving your hypotheses. Through user testing, designs are able to be “torn apart”. In other words, by assessing your designs, you are also allowing for the holes to show, for the oversights to be highlighted, and for the effectiveness of the design to be evaluated.

Pegasystems is a business process automation software company that helps clients modernize and “Build for Change”, allowing clients offerings to evolve alongside customer expectations. Pega software helps enterprises make better decisions and get work done. With scalable architecture and a powerful low-code platform, even the biggest organizations can stay streamlined, agile, and ready for what's next. As a UX Product Designer at Pegasystems I was responsible for seven different apps, four within the customer service industry and three within healthcare. The experiences I designed and researched within customer service include communications, insurance, healthcare, and financial services vertical industries. The technologies I worked with include: React framework, predictive analytics, natural language processing and intelligent automation.

Research ProcessThough I supported seven different apps, the process for designing these apps always starts with a similar research process. As a designer working with product owners, developers, and business stakeholders, my process begins by understanding what each team is hoping to achieve during each product release. We often receive business requirements that act as a guide, but these requirements often don’t consider everything a user may need.

Projects kicks off in conjuction with client and design research teams, who give me the background and justification for our requirements and user needs. Once we have an understanding of our goals, a design sprint for each new project and numerous collaborative exercises help us outline the steps in a flow, data required by the business, and the various AI and automation technologies we can utilize in order to help our users complete their work. Mitigating these conversations through the lens of the user helps organize the produced artifacts (user flows, form fields, steps, etc.) and gives a fuzzy picture of what the end flow will be like.

Customer Service for Communications: Add Mobile Device + PlanI often begin this collaborative process with Job Mapping, defining what exactly the user is trying to accomplish, which leads to User Flow Mapping, defining how these previously defined jobs can be accomplished, and in what order.

The below images showcase the Add Mobile Device + Plan Microjourney within the Customer Service for Communications application. In order to help customers purchase mobile phones and/or plans, we mapped out the specific data requirements, logical steps, and various approaches to ensure a guided and quick process.

Flow mapping allows us to see how each job-to-be-done maps to the overall process. We segment the form fields into steps based not only on logical progression of the flow but also on the data being fetched and displayed to the user. By viewing the experience from both a UX and data structure perspective, we ensure that the application runs fast and the experience is easy to navigate.

This flow in particular is interesting due to the fact that you can start the process from two points, which affects both the sequence and contents of each step. When starting with a device, the system determines what the best recomended devices are for each unique customer, and based on the initial device configurations will recommend plans that fit the needs of these devices. When starting with a plan, on the other hand, a user can select plans that may not be compatible with particular devices, so when the device step appears, the system intelligently displays relevant and recommended devices to the user.

Designing Enterprise ExperiencesOnce we have a rough idea of how the flow and UI will be structured, I then proceed to design initial mocks using our Pega design system: Cosmos which is built on React. Often during this process, there are gaps in the design system since it is still relatively young. This means I document and iterate upon design patterns that need to be supported by our platform in order to be utilized by the applications I support.

Once we have initial mockups, the process of vetting and reviewing these designs begins. I meet with business stakeholders to discuss how our generic flows can be utilized across the different industries and how our clients can configure and customize these experiences to fit their organization’s needs.

Customer Service for Communications: Add Mobile Device + Plan flow
(Click through the below screenshots to view flow)

Enterprise customer service has specific KPIs that helped measure and validate my design work:

Average handle time
Reducing the time it takes customer service representatives to resolve customer interactions

Number of clicks
Reducing friction of interactions by reducing number of inputs and interactions required
Number of steps
Consolidating steps in a process to the minimal, logical lowest common denominator

Design System Contributions
Gathering industry needs for patterns and technical functionality was a large part of my role. In order to achieve modern and efficient UX, I conducted research and interviews with subject matter experts to better understand how each industry is evolving and the subsequent requirements set onto our products due to that evolution.

Then my process of consolidating functional requirements into common patterns begins with wireframing for the least common denominator design. We find the commonalities between each industry, and across different applications, in order to have a good base that each vertical application can configure to fit their needs. This consolidated approach to pattern and component design helps reduce redundancy of work within both the design and development teams. Being able to view pattern design from multiple scopes, zooming in and out in order to understand how to fulfill UX requirements for a wide audience, was one particular skill that helped produce great product.

Terms + Conditions Template This pattern template defined for our platform team focused on the variability in customer agreement requirements. Due to the various industries that comprise CS at Pegasystems, there are differing levels of both detail and configuration required by clients. In order to define what functionality was needed, a comprehensive audit of agreements was conducted. This resulted in the following authoring requirements in order for this pattern to fit each use case.

Breadcrumbs Template
This pattern template defined for our platform team focused on case navigation. Most cases are able to be handled in a linear flow, without needing to navigate to previous steps in a process. However, some flows require users to dive deep into data and traverse back to previous steps in order to respond to customer inquiries. The breadcrumb pattern is something that has been a staple in web experiences, but within Pegasystems, the data architecture and case management capabilities didn’t support this type of experience until after my specifications were approved and gained support by our platform teams. 

User testing and interviews

One of the limitations of being a large enterprise software company is that we often don’t have direct access to our client’s end users. This means that validating my designs needed a somewhat different approach. User testing was often done with subject matter experts that were typically once workers within each industry they hold expertise in. We use these proxies as a way to test our designs and ensure our business use cases are being fulfilled. When a high-value client was involved, those with significant investment in our software, we framed our usability tests in a mutually beneficial manner. By showing them what new capabilities we have been working on, they get some foresight into our product roadmap, and in turn, we can review our designs and iterate with more direct feedback.

This is not a common occurrence at Pega, so being creative and tactical with the resources available to me was a constant effort.

The YSF Learning Portal is a platform for students to not only learn about the beauties of Yellowstone National Park, but to discover the natural world in their communities at home. Yellowstone National Park holds both symbolic and ecological importance for many people around the world. Sharing the magic and beauty of natural environments with students who have little to no exposure to wild spaces was the goal of the YSF Learning Portal. In order to engage students that can’t physically travel to the park, this portal allows them to relate their own parallel, lived experience with the wonders of Yellowstone National Park.

Check out the Adobe Blog posts written about this project:

Betterment is a personal investment and banking platform that aims to make attaining your financial goals an intuitive and trustworthy process. In order for users to feel confident in Betterment’s services, there must be a foundation of understanding and trust in their platform. Through a detailed analysis of user dropoff and financial education, I investigated new processes for onboarding users based on their individual needs.


Working as a UX product designer at has provided me with the opportunity to handle complex and technical design challenges with real consequences. The majority of my design contribution has been within Overstock’s enterprise software group. I helped design web application experiences to help buyers and partners improve efficiency within fulfillment services. With a wide variety of products, associated data, and configurations, the need for efficient and intuitive product catalog flows was critical.

Product Bundles Creation Flow

Overstock had the need for buyer and partner created bundle deals. There were multiple deal types that required a singular intuitive flow. With 15 variations of “Creation Flows” that typically had overwhelming amounts of data for users to process, it was necessary to create a single design that could be used to accomplish the goals of buyers and partners. I collaborated with my project manager, front-end developers, information architects, but was mainly directed by my team’s senior UX product designer.

As a UX Design Intern on my team, I was given the project requirements which included data points, general flow information, and the goals of this product. I was responsible for building a functioning prototype from this information and testing my project manager’s initial user flows. Initially, the flows aimed to have several standalone processes to create individual bundle types. I was able to consolidate all of these flows into a single process that would change intelligently based on user inputs.

View Prototype:

Defined Deal Categories:

Buy X
This deal type is made of a bundle of SKUs that are given simple discounts:
  • Get dollar amount off
  • Get percentage off

Buy Any N of X
This deal type requires customers to purchase a certain number of items to qualify for a discount:
  • Get dollar amount off
  • Get percentage off

Bundle Deal built for convenience (no discount)
Buy X Get Y
This deal type gives customers a discounted or free item based on the bundle of SKUs they purchase:
  • Get specified item for free
  • Get dollar amount off specified item
  • Get percentage off specified item
Spend Z Amount
This deal type is similar to bucket deals, however, customers have to spend a certain amount in order to qualify their cart for a discount:
  • Get dollar amount off
  • Get percentage off
Bucket Deals
This deal type allows customers to select multiple items from certain collections or “buckets” in order to receive a discount on the items picked:
  • Get dollar amount off
  • Get percentage off

Bundle Sale Selection

The bundle deal creation flow begins with the selection of a bundle type. From here the required information to create the deal change intelligently based on the desired deal. Since different deals have differing levels of impact on a partner’s business, it was imperative to make every decision clear and meaningful.

Bundle Sale Configuration

Once a deal type is selected, partners are now able to edit the discount details at the top of the page. Once information is entered in, the page will summarize and display the vital information to the right to help users make informed decisions.

Bundle Sale Review

Once a bundle deal has been created, users land on the review page. This page shows users a comprehensive review of their costs, funding, discount prices, and company margins.

In order for all of this data to be digestible by users, I found a way to organize the information based on the user’s workflow. Prioritizing the information they need most directly and organizing this data into vertical columns based on related info allows for an efficient user workflow.

Error States

In addition to designing the structure of the bundle deal creation, I also created a variety of error states to help users understand when they have incorrectly entered information or have exceeded their desired margin ranges for a sale.

Homesick is an app that helps those suffering from illness get personalized products for their symptoms. By allowing users to describe what is keeping them down, Homesick finds the goods to get them back up. The end goal is to help sick individuals mitigate their symptoms, without having to stand in the bright flourescent pharamcy reading small bottle labels while not in the right headspace.

Homesick curates and recommends care supplies for people who are sick and are unable to venture outside of their homes (even their beds) or rely on their friends and family to drop off supplies

 This ranges from people who can't leave because they are contagious, all the way to the individuals who have simply don’t know what they need to get better. Homesick takes your pre-existing conditions, active medications, and current symptoms into account in order to create the best care package for both your current state and budget.

Users begin each order by filling out a survey to identify what symptoms they are hoping to mitigate. This factors in the specific symptom being experienced, their severities, and the current medications being used. It’s important to recognize that this application considers drug interactions and explains how/why selected over-the-counter products may interact with drugs already in the user’s system.

Once the survey is complete, the user is presented with a list of recommended products that will help them start feeling better. Each recommendation has full usage and legal details in order to educate the user about products they may have no experience with.

While services exist to both deliver groceries and medical prescriptions, there is a gap for providing curated symptom management products that do not require medical professionals to prescribe. This gap provides an opportunity to provide personalized care those who may not physically or mentally be able to select products for themselves.

Once products are selected and paid for, the user can track their delivery so they don’t have to leave their bed until absolutely necesarry. When trying to heal from an illness, this convienient experience can truly help individuals relax, sleep, and concerve their energy.

Get well sooner!


Born out of joking conversation over beers in the garage, Red River Brewing Company was established in Red River, New Mexico in the Spring of 2018. Surrounded by mountains and based in a historic mining town, this local watering hole attracts everyone from skiers to horseback riders at the end of a long day playing in the outdoors. Working in collaboration with Britt Felton, I brewed up a one of a kind visual language that will remind families of their time in this small mountain town.

Brand Design

Originally a gold mining settlement, Red River is now a mountain tourism hub for much of the Southwest. With the explosion of local breweries throughout the US, our main objective was to create a unique and recognizable brand, while still reflecting the values of the small town of Red River, NM.

Official logo

Red River Brewing Company wanted to visually represent the history of Red River while remaining modern and hip. We created a bold identity which attracts thirsty friends from miles around while the beer keeps them coming back for more. Additionally, we consulted RRBC on overall interior design and material choices including furniture designs, bar material, merchandise showcases, signage, tap handles and much more.

Brand logos + colors

Midnight Black - 231F20

Campfire Red - D04F53

Burning Orange - FF9F37

Menu Design

Red River Brewing Company boasts a beer menu which competes with breweries that have been around for decades. Since these menus are one of the first interactions customers have with RRBC, every detail had to match both the brewery’s brand and personality.

Main menu

The lunch and dinner menus make your mouth water and help you find the best foods to match the best beer you’ll ever have. In order to handle a continuously changing menu, a flexible and legible menu structure was designed. These menus have been designed to be configurable by RRBC and their chefs as their offerings change and evolve.

Drinks menu

The drinks menu is clearly the most important peice of paper in the brewery. It lists and describes every beer, liquor, and mixed drink available to patrons so they can find the drink that fits them best. In addition to the delicious beverages, this menu also includes infographics describing how the skilled brewers and distillers process raw ingredients in order make delicious liquids. This not only helps educate customers, but it acts as a conversation point with friends, family, and bartenders. RRBC loves talking shop and showing off how they make such great stuff!

Kids menus

Yes, it’s a brewery and distillery, but RRBC strives to be a family friendly pub that caters to children of all ages. We all miss the days of crayon baskets and competing with our siblings to make the coolest drawings. These kids menus help kids see and appreciate the local wildlife of Northern New Mexico, while their parents appreciate the fine drinks from the bar.


Since Red River Brewing Company will be visited by thousands of visitors every year, the demand or merchandize is high. Providing a touchstone for customers to remember their good times in Red River is crucial to keeping thirsty people coming back. Take home a hat, shirt, hoodie, or even better, some beer to your family and friends.

Beer merch

One of my goals with RRBC is to help personify the craft beer they work so hard to perfect. The bartenders often say “the best beer is the one you like” and often times thirsty patrons won’t try something they are unfamiliar with. These annually released beer graphics help beer lovers understand how brewers view each of their best seeling beer’s personalities.


My design work for Red River Brewing Company & Distillery helped them receive several notable awards within the craft brewing community in New Mexico. Good beer, good liquor, and a great visual language makes families and beers not come back again and again.

List of their awards, because I’m so proud!

Two years after the beer started flowing, there was a craving in Red River for something a bit stronger. Red River Brewing Company began the distillation operation currently producing five types of craft liquor, made with the finest ingredients and fresh mountain water. Defining a brand that felt at home with the overall Red River Brewing Company brand, yet presenting the bold ethos of their southwestern mining town was critical in differentiating the brewery and distillery side our RRBC products.

RRBC Spirits Labels
Red River Brewing Company & Distillery’s liqour was born out of a simple love of great cocktails. With pure, local ingredients and mathmatic precision in their craft, these distillers make liquor with fresh mountain water and a lot of care. The hope is that this little mountain watering hole can provide a great drink for any traveler and beer lover. With a liquor for every flavor profile, and the most skilled flannel wearing bar tenders, each patron leaves with a good old fashioned grin on their face.

The branding of the distillery was inspired by the rich local history of Red River, New Mexico. The small town boomed in the 1890’s with mining fever, and has retained the rugged mountain lifestyle even as the industry shifted to outdoor tourism. The RRBC spirits lable aethetic is an ode to the old southwestern stores that lined mainstreet. Bold black print, hints of color that express each spirit’s personality, and room for hand written markings for the talented distillers, this label expresses who these mountain folk are.

RRBC Cocktail Pouches

 While the spirits are the main focus of the distillers, they must also be mixed with fresh ingredients in order to craft delightful cocktails. Red River Brewing Company + Distillery also offers “good-to-go” cocktail pouches that take on a silimilar, yet slightly different personality. If the spirit labels reflect the old spirit of the Red River miners, these pouches embody the true spirit of mountain relaxation. Transparent pouches to see the tasty cocktails, and space for the hand written charm of their bar-tenders, RRBC allows patrons to take the bar outside as they hike, bike, or sit by the campfire.


A young distillery starting as just a brewery won prestigious awards in just their first year of producing craft spirits. It was an honor to see my label designs being presented during these awards ceremonies, and I am so proud of the hard work, passion, and love that the brewers and distillers put into the contents of these bottles.

Silver King Vodka awarded "Best of Class" for American Craft Vodka 2021
- American Distilling Institute

Silver King Vodka awarded  "Best of Category" for Neutral Character Vodka 2021
- American Distilling Institute

Silver King Vodka awarded a Silver Medal
- Sante' Magazine 2021

Purkapile Rum awarded Bronze Medal 2021
- American Distilling Institute

Silver King Vodka awarded  Double-Gold Medal for Craft Vodka 2021
- American Distilling Institute

Cabresto Cañon Agave Spirit awarded  's Bronze Medal 2021
- American Distilling Institute

Silver King Vodka awarded a Gold medal
- 2021 Sunset International Spirits Competition

Mallette Bros. Gin awarded Bronze Medal 2021
- American Distilling Institute

Offering students a deeply engaging, collaborative environemnt to solve present-day issues, the University of Utah Praxis Labs allow students to learn and grow as they help local communities. This collaborative experience which allows all majors and experience levels required a bold marketing campaign to attract and excite students about a better future.

Passion for impact, love for the surrounding communities, and the curiosity of young, talented students inspired the resulting graphic style.

University of Utah Praxis Labs

The Praxis Labs are in depth studio style courses that allow students to dive deep into real world problems. By designing a modern an engaging representation of each course students were more likely to take part in solving these critical community problems. 

University of Utah Honors College Events + Courses

This collection of posters was designed for individual professors within the University of Utah Honors College to help promote courses and events to undergraduate students. Topics vary widely, but the overall design aesthetics tie together to bring some uniformity within the Honor’s college courses.

Research + publications

Below you will find a list of research and publications that illustrate my design process, showcase my skills, and give insight into how I approach problems with design thinking methodologies. 

Pegasystems: How to design for customer experience - Part two

At Pega, designers use design thinking methodologies for Microjourneys™ not only to create an efficient and user-friendly flow, but also to streamline how we collaborate and build experiences as a team.

Adobe: Fostering Design Leadership
The University of Utah’s Multi-Disciplinary Design program has students prototype digital experiences that solve real-world problems faced by Yellowstone National Park, like this distance learning product by Steven Calhoun (yours truly).

Adobe: Yellowstone National Park Distance Learning Platform
University of Utah student Steven Calhoun (yours truly) demonstrates the user flow of his digital product research project, the Yellowstone Forever Learning Portal, created in Adobe XD.

Spark Labs: University of Utah Hospital Recycling
The focus of this lab, lead by design research fellow Steven Calhoun (yours truly), is on the people who experience and deliver health care within the University of Utah hospital system. The lab utilizes the talents and passions of professionals and students to design new solutions that improve patient experience.