Drawing a Path to UX

Design leader Julia Blum takes us back to the start of her career as an aspiring artist and discusses how her passion for art unfolded her path to UX Design.

For Julia Blum, what appeared to be an unfortunate timing turned out to be a blessing in disguise. She majored in fine arts and drawing with plans to become an artist. But graduating during the 2008 recession made it particularly challenging to continue her path as an artist. Left with limited options, Julia began working at museums as an exhibition designer.

Julia became fascinated by exhibit design during her tenure at the Smithsonian. She helped design and create exhibits and props for interactive exhibitions, and later moved into managing content for new exhibits. Creating the graphic panels nurtured her passion in drawing because she was able to leverage skills in printmaking from her university years.

Though she had a busy work schedule, Julia made time to take classes to expand her skills as a designer. When the opportunity came for her to advance, she was able to leverage her new knowledge. Julia also mentioned that team support was vital to her growth, noting that their support empowered her to explore and grow.

In 2011, Julia moved to Seattle and continued to work as a solo designer on an interactive exhibit at the Seattle Center. The opportunities she had there helped round out her portfolio, which she used to apply to Amazon.

After 10 fruitful years at Amazon, Julia’s career blossomed from visual design to UX design, and now, she’s currently a Sr. UX Design Manager, leading a global team of 50+.

Julia attributes her success at Amazon to her demonstration of our Leadership Principles “Ownership” and ”Learn and Be Curious“. She also credits her comfort with operating autonomously as a key success factor in her growth at the company. Here at Amazon, Julia has always felt the support of her leadership. The nurturing environment of Amazon has been a fertile ground for her to grow as an artist and as a designer. At Amazon there are always exciting new challenges and opportunities to learn.