When I came back to thirteen23 after hiking the PCT, I immediately jumped into managing our design team while we looked for a new Creative Director. While it was an exciting challenge and a welcome change from the challenges of…finding water and avoiding forest animals, once I got back into the office I realized I had some work ahead of me.

One of the first things I did was set up weekly, re-occurring 1:1s with the designers on my team to open up new lines of communication and inject some structure back into the team. However, when those calendar invites…

by Tom Hudson, Tech Director at thirteen23

At the beginning of the year, Doug and I had the pleasure of attending CES. There was too much on display to even come close to seeing everything, but we did get a chance to say hello to our friends at Kohler and Bose.

Kohler had an amazing presence, showcasing a number of kitchen and bath products the team at thirteen23 helped work on.

Beyond general connectivity, Kohler’s latest round of products supports a number of innovative voice integrations with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. …

Layers and markers and tiles, oh my!

A little while ago we worked on an MVP web application for a large client in the energy sector. Central to the design of that application was a set of data visualizations that relied on maps. For that project we investigated a variety of mapping tools and technologies to aid in our development.

More recently, we played around with a similar set of technologies to track one of our designers on the Pacific Crest Trail. Below are a few outtakes from our explorations, including investigations into Mapbox, custom markers, and 3D tiles.

Using location-based data for good

There’s a little joke in the studio right now. We’ve been tracking our ACD on the Pacific Crest Trail for the last couple months with a small app we wrote that updates based on her location every 5–10 minutes. We’re so close to the action, we’ve actually spotted her getting lost and veering off the trail. All this is to say, we really are tracking a human being.

And while this may seem creepy, if you haven’t noticed, people tracking is slowly becoming a thing. (We’re not the only ones!) Not only is our software trying to determine ‘who’ we…

Exploring 3D terrain using Cesium

By now you’ve probably read that we’ve been busy following our designer on the Pacific Crest Trail. After successfully tracking her using Mapbox for a few months, we started to realize our two dimensional maps really didn’t reflect what she was experiencing on the trail. While they captured her location and did a decent job relaying her progress, they didn’t give us any sense for her surroundings or the conditions on the trail.

Mapping on the Pacific Crest Trail


We’re captivated by real-time messaging, data, and IOT. So when our Associate Creative Director, Morgan, told us she was going to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), we jumped at the chance to write a little software to follow her on the trail.

We’ve been working on a few connected products and dashboards, so it only seemed natural to create a custom mapping app to track Morgan on her adventure. After all, the PCT is 2,650 miles long. In fact, it runs the entire length of California, Oregon, and Washington, from the border of Mexico to British Columbia, Canada. …

A crash course for motion design beginners

by Stephanie Embry, Designer at thirteen23

One year ago, I knew next to nothing about building motion. It didn’t help that the prospect sounded scary — motion means animating, right? And animating means I have to, what, design across time? I just mastered organizing my Sketch symbols, but okay.

But, after several months of diving head-first into After Effects (it’s the industry standard for motion graphics), I’m glad to say I’ve learned the ropes of both After Effects and motion design in general. …

Why a design system is more than a Sketch library

We’ve been working with a number of clients to create design systems. As part of these programs, we’ve also been developing component libraries to help drive adoption across our clients’ teams.

At this point, you’ve probably read and know all about the benefits of a design system. But the real trick is scaling a system within an organization, so that it can effectively support product development. In our experience, it’s not enough to just document a set of patterns and practices and hand over your sketch file.

One of the ways we help our partners adopt and scale their design…

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How we used Abstract to streamline our process

by Edgar Rios, Designer at thirteen23

At this point you’ve probably already heard about Abstract — a tool that helps designers and developers streamline their Sketch collaboration. After using it at thirteen23, we wanted to share a few of our thoughts on how you might incorporate it into your next project.


We are an experience design studio dedicated to the future of software. https://thirteen23.com

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