Nick Higbee is bb7’s resident rock star. He designs user-friendly products by day and plays covers by night (when he’s not clowning around).

Q: Name?

Nicholas Higbee

Q: Title?

Director of Industrial Design & User Research

Q: What is your expertise?

Product Design, Design Research, Project Management

Specifically, I work on user-centered design projects and manage some of the projects led by the design team here at bb7.

Q: Do you have a philosophy?

When working for clients, good design MUST be well articulated to stakeholders from all disciplines. One misconception I often hear is that design is “completely subjective.” This is wrong; there is good design and bad design. There is strategic design and there is loose exploration. One way to combat this misconception is for designers to become more articulate. Another way designers can work with clients to dispel these ugly rumors is to use proven tools and measures to assess concepts.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

I love projects where I can get on the street, learn from users, work closely with clients to design user-centered products, learn from watching users interact with prototypes and then refine designs for manufacturing.

Q: What is the best piece of career advice you ever received?

One of my bosses and mentors told me, “You can teach yourself techniques. What I’m here to do is to teach you how to think in a way to properly apply those techniques.”

Q: If you could go back in time and talk to yourself at the beginning of your career, what would you tell yourself?

“Nick, don’t worry. Don’t cherry pick. Look at the facts, develop a plan, work hard and put forth honest work. The work will be great.”

Q: What is the weirdest project you worked on (and why)?

The weirdest project I’ve ever worked on was creating a completely pictorial design and installation guide for creating gold trees out of flat mesh sheet material. The trees were part of high-fashion window displays and needed to look the same regardless of which country they were shipped to and who was installing them.

Q: What is your proudest work achievement?

Creating our first periodical-style Visual Brand Language Guidebook for a client’s future family of products. At the time, the process, the story and the content had never been delivered in such a comprehensive package. It was a great culmination of a lot of hard work.

Q: What is one thing you cannot work without?

A team of fellow skeptics. I feed off of other people who ask, “Why?” It’s finding new points of view in hidden places and challenging conventions that drive innovation.

Q: What is something no one knows about you?

I attended clown school as part of an educational outreach effort as a high school student.

Q: Do you have any outside activities?

I have been playing in a rock n’ roll cover band with my dad for over 10 years. Initially, it was a way to fund trips home from the East Coast, but it’s since become what some would consider a steady gig – roughly 30-40 shows per year.

Q: Education?

I hold a bachelor’s of fine arts from the College for Creative Studies and a master’s in fine arts from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts.