I’m Learning Figma

Figma has just been another tool to me as a product designer. I never really used it proactively for any reason other than to try out the latest thing. I’ve always just used whatever I had available to me and made the best out of it. It started with Photoshop, then Fireworks, then back to Photoshop, then to XD, then to Sketch and now here I am doing a deep dive into Figma

Fast forward a few months ago when I learned the company I work for planned on phasing out Sketch and replacing it with Figma in 2023 for every product designer. Licenses would be issued starting in March and we could ease our way into the program before being cut off at the end of the year from Sketch. However, one of the teams I’m on is starting a new project that will be huge with multiple screens, so it seemed pointless starting it in Sketch and then slowly migrating over to Figma. 

Deep dive time! I got my license and downloaded the desktop version of Figma and I was ready to go. Did I learn the basics? Nope, I immediately imported what we had in Sketch to Figma and threw myself into the program. How else would I learn? I could look up some basic tutorials but I’d rather just import and learn what I need and when I need to know it.

I was very surprised to see just how easily Sketch imports into Figma. I was very pleased that the only issues I’ve had so far was sizing with frames and certain symbols. I’m sure there are a ton of proper ways to figure things out, but google has been like an old friend when it comes to seeing exactly what it is I need. 

After a week of using it and figuring out what I NEED to do, I went to udemy to properly learn any quick tips and tricks I could. Lucky for me, my agency has a Udemy business account for all their talent. While it doesn’t have everything Udemy has to offer, it does have everything a product designer needs to evolve. I’m half way through learning Figma and I’m already discovering lots of cool things that I can implement and share with the team to make our workflow a lot faster and more efficient. 

It looks like I’ve finally stepped into the party, and I’m now an official Figma user.

Holiday Plans – The Cliff Lineup

Christmas is around the corner and a lot of people are asking what my plans are for my Christmas break. Yes, my company gives time off between Christmas and the new years to just relax and enjoy the holidays. I’m very thankful to work there and the past few years have been a blessing to be able to sit back and relax and enjoy the holiday time with friends and family.

What will I be doing during that time? If you have picked up on anything you’ve read so far or have seen on my social media, you know exactly what I’m doing. Nerd things. To be more specific, designing, watching anime and playing video games with my kids.


My clicker game reskin has been put on the backburner with the release of Modern Warfare 2 and now more recently, Fortnite Chapter 4. While I do plan on putting together my own custom thing, my first pass of putting my design skills into Unity will be a Fallout or One Piece theme. It’s up in the air right now if I want to go dark or colorful, and those two fall in one of those categories.

Sticker – I’ve made stickers in the past and sold 100+ individual stickers, but never pursued that venture. I’m going to create some more designs and make use of the cricut I have and never actually tried. I usually get prints from sticker mule, but its slow and limits what I can actually offer on an ecommerce platform.

Craft Website – My fiancee is getting back into resin creation and jewelry making. I plan on making some mockups of a website for her to sell her awesome creations on through WordPress.

3D Printing – I print random things I find hilarious. My son has recently recommended that I print out a Rock Lobster… Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson head on a lobster body. He also mentioned other various Rock head things. So I’ll be printing up a bunch of that random those


I wouldn’t say I’m a huge anime nerd, but I do like watching shows here and there. I’m currently watching One Piece, My Hero Academia and Assassination Classroom. Well, technically I’m reading the Assassination Classroom Manga, but also watching the anime of what I’ve already read. So it’s not a binge as much as a per manga situation that’s happening.

Video Games

Modern Warfare 2 – I’ve always been a Call of Duty fan, and I love dropping into a quick match or 3 to unlock camos for my weapons. Their new DMZ mode is super fun. I heard it’s like Escape from Tarkov, which I never played, but to me it’s like a chill non-sweat version of warzone with objectives.

Fortnite – Chapter 4 AND I heard My Hero Academia characters are dropping the 16th of this month. Their lineup of unlocking DoomSlayer and Geralt from “The Witcher” in the battle pass will have me dropping in… a lot.

7 Days to Die – I play this most with my youngest, and our recent strategy of a skybase has been very successful on the 7 day hordes. Almost a little TOO easy, but we’re having tons of fun as we’re higher levels and unlocking the good perks.

That summarizes my Christmas break. Ill be enjoying the usual christmas festivities as well, but I plan on designing, watching and gaming during my break. Here’s to a great year and that everyone has a good holiday time.

A Look Back

This past weekend was a great reflecting point in my life. I turned 40 and while it used to be the “Over the hill” moment in life, it wasn’t. It was a weekend filled with family, friends and fun. I’ve been designing things since I was a kid in school, but professionally it’s been a bit longer. It’s been a smidge over 19 and a ½ years since I started at a small newspaper in Dearborn, MI. Looking back on my career path and changes, I’ve done a lot. Here’s a quick list of a few that I remember from my time. The numbers are a bit fuzzy, but it’s all generally speaking!

As a Graphic Designer

  • Created 1000’s of Print Ads for newspapers
  • Laid over 100 magazines and catalogs
  • Created dozens of front page publication designs
  • Created over a 100 poster design
  • Designed over a 100 logos

As a Web Designer/UI/UX Designer

  • Designed 100’s of websites with a focus on usability and accessibility
  • Designed and coded dozens of WordPress sites
  • Created 100’s of Flash animated banners and advertisements
  • Designed 100’s of animation in Flash
  • Coded a dozen interactive Flash sites
  • Designed over 2000 Ad banners for google, facebook, instagram and web pages
  • Helped 100s of companies go from no website/make from home site, to a thriving business with sales that multiplied.
  • Coded dozens of interactive sites with HTML/CSS/JS
  • Created a hand full of design systems

As a Product Designer

  • Designed the interface of over a dozen applications that launched successfully
  • Took part in saving 1000’s of hours and well over a million in costs for the user and the customer.
  • Created trust with users that their voice is heard
  • Talk with 100’s of users, getting to know them and their life and finding out who they are as a person and how I could make their life easier.
  • Spent 1000’s of hours doing user research, usability testing, persona creating, task flows, journey mapping, sketching and creating wireframes and interactive prototypes.

On the side 

  • Design enthusiast
  • Mentored a lot of people in design and usability
  • Created dozens of WordPress sites
  • Created 100s of flash animations
  • Created a couple games in Unity
  • Designed multiple logos for companies
  • Designed dozens of youtube banners and instagram ads
  • Created youtube intro animations
  • Sold a few created icon packs
  • Spoke at a dozen meetup events
  • Spoke about UX at a WordPress Conference
  • Took part in Inktober for the past few years
  • Draw daily

Current outside ventures

  • Creating my own game in Unity 
  • Creating stickers / digital art to sell in an ecommerce setting
  • Get more into the video game industry

Overall, I’ve met 1000’s of people and connected with a great community of designers and developers. A lot I talk to as friends to this very day. Though my life has had its fair share of twists and turns, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

New Fresh Page Update Needed

I’ve changed my main site’s home page a few months ago to make it look more updated after not updating for years. Before, it was a full image of something I took years ago which is a little humorous, but at the same time added nothing. No background text to tell you what to do, just a big ole image. I’ve recently been getting back into designing, drawing and creating and I really want to show my “behind the scenes” look at my projects.

If you’re reading this currently, on October 19th, 2022, the page looks like a divi template at the top and you probably have to click the back button on your browser to go back to my home page. I’m not going to lie, it’s messy and not in any sort of organization in its current state. 

What’s on the list of things to do for this site?

  • Create global header
  • Create Blog Page template
  • Create a case study design on a project I’m working on
  • Create a better about me page

I’ll be hoping to get to these in the coming week alongside my game design project that I’m currently working on. I’d love to be able to properly show off what I’m working on with all my socials. For the time being, if you’re reading this, thank you!


New Game – Tutorial Finished

I mentioned a few weeks ago that my current goal was to complete a game tutorial, then reskin it and revamp it to make it look like my own. Something as a challenge to myself to get into gaming. I got stuck in the trap of perfection. Why would I post on my blog if I didn’t have any cool sketches to show off my progress in revamping it? The worst part was that I never even finished the tutorial! Well I finally finished it earlier this week. There was a blocker for a small part that didn’t really affect the game but it was driving me crazy.

The blocker was some game save function. I’m not sure what was going on, but it kept throwing an error in the console. Did it save? Yes. Then who cares? The function was a simple flashing “Game Saved” notification that flashed when the game saved every 60 seconds. It wasn’t necessary at all, but if I skipped this part, then what else would I skip on my way to learning how to make games? I didn’t want to let it slide, so I went back multiple times watching the videos over and over. I still couldn’t figure it out, so I reached out and asked a question online. Yes, a simple thing to do but I was afraid that people would point out something dumb or worse, nobody would respond at all.

Within 24 hours, the course instructor responded! He gave easy and clear instructions on how to fix my issue. I don’t recall seeing that part, however I was just very happy it was finally working without throwing errors! I’ll continue to learn and keep an eye out for the small things. 

For now, here’s a screenshot of the finished game. This is step 1. Step 2 will be laying out some ideas I have for making it my own with my own artwork at style.