My very first memory

of using a computer was as a toy — massive keys and chunky clicks that made text and shapes light the screen. The memory is more vivid to me than the real thing, full technicolor rewind. We'd spend hours navigating every menu, every command line tree, learning rigid contours of what a computer could be made to do. The computer made terrific mechanical sounds and lived in a grey box in a corner room of the house.

There are a handful of moments that punctuate time and experience into before and after. For me, learning to program a computer was one of those. Tedious commands punched out line by line; careful punctuation and tight structure. The cursor hovers over “run” — you click and there’s a tingly feeling as the computer becomes, briefly, something else. It's still a grey box but now it has become powerful and I am powerful along with it.

I am part of that generation of people for whom childhood straddled the online and offline worlds. We grew up offline — you could dial in to the internet but if someone picked up the home phone you’d get abruptly yanked back into the real world. It was tedious enough to dial back in that you generally just ran outside to throw rocks at something until it got dark. But we entered adulthood with a remarkable understanding of technology,  fluency with the internet, and awareness of how our world was changing along with it. I think it’s partly for this reason that when I look around I don’t see any of our circumstances as inevitable, or hopeless — our world has been remade once, and surely we can do it again.

Anyway — back to the story — all of this computer stuff was very cerebral, very left-brain and geekish. Computer as a cold but potent tool. And then another one of those moments showed up, unexpectedly. I saved up and bought my first Mac. Brought it home, opened the lid, hit the power. I was fumbling with a hard drive getting ready to transfer all my stuff over, but then something happened. Woah. What on earth was that. I’d never seen anything like that before — didn’t know that was something a computer could be made to do. Drama, thrill, emotion. I didn’t know what to make of this at the time, but I knew I had just seen something important.

I have come to believe that all great design grows from an understanding of the human experience, and is fundamentally emotional at its core. It begins with sensitivity, instinct, curiosity, mystery, imagination. It does not begin in Figma or even on the computer at all. If you can't imagine your technology in a children’s story, then you're probably not building technology for humans. This knowledge is heartening to me, and gives me hope.

I’ll share one more before-and-after moment with you. This one is the most important. In college I was working on a startup company, doing computer-ish things for them. This was in the ancient times, so long ago that we were using the word “cameraphone” a lot. Anyway, I had created a detailed specification for a new feature — exactly how it should behave, complete with architecture diagrams, pseudocode — the whole thing. One of the people over there kept asking me if I could just do a quick “mockup” — this really started to annoy me as I had been very precise with my spec, and I had no earthly idea what this guy was after.

Finally: “we need a mockup of the UI — what it will look like from the user’s point of view.” I squinted my eyes and processed this and then it hit me — first slowly and then all at once. He wanted a picture — a drawing — not from the perspective of the computer, but from the point of view of the human on the other end. I didn’t know that was a thing, let alone a job. Time cleaved in two again and I saw the image in my mind: the computer on one end, the human on the other, and I was in-between. I had no idea how to actually do what he was asking for but I figured…a little picture of the UI? How hard could it be…

That moment was nearly twenty years ago, and I never looked back. Working with design to shape new technologies and human experiences is a dream job, and I think it's why I am here. I try my best to not be ironic and self-deprecating about this—I take my job seriously and I work very hard at it. I still can’t believe I get paid to do it. Sure beats working for a living.

Of course now the grey box is gone. The computer, what we’ve made of it, is bigger than us all and we live inside it, moving through it each day. There isn’t an offline. The job of the designer is to wade through all this – to find the human out there on the other end — and look after them. The future of technology and the future of humans can no longer be considered separately — for better and worse we are in it together now, so it’s time to get serious. You’re all serious people out there, aren’t you?

A future is pulling into view: what I see is one fueled by creativity, power, and the fullest possibility of human connection. I believe in this future because we have nowhere else to go — and I invite you to join me in it.

Imagine what we will create together.

Twohy Design Works

is the independent studio practice of Kevin Twohy, and the ultimate design partner for early-stage companies looking to catalyze some magic. If it involves software, humans, and the space in-between — I can help you bring it to life, from scratch.

I can work alone, embed directly with your team, or quickly pull together a handful of specialists to match the challenge — all without the overhead of an agency. No decks, no big reveals, no ego, no funny business.

I only take on a few projects each year, and once I commit to a project your priorities become my priorities. Together, we can pull things off that agencies usually won't and freelancers typically can't.


New York Times

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Milk Bar

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Ancient Ritual

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National Park Service

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kind words from generous people

Kevin is an exceptional designer and one of my favorite people I have ever worked with. He has not only led all product and brand design efforts for MIRROR across our complex product, but has also been integral in the development of overall product strategy and direction. Everything he produces is on-time, thoughtfully constructed, and beautiful. He is able to quickly understand business objectives and translate them into designs that perfectly balance future-forward design and functional UX. Despite being part-time, Kevin has become such an integral part of our team that we view him as our VP of Design and a vital team member. On a personal level, Kevin is crazy sharp, funny and considerate — really a pleasure to work with. These words won't do him justice — I can’t recommend Kevin enough!

Brynn Putnam

Kevin remains one of the most impressive product designers I’ve ever worked with. He is an incredibly strong designer, but more remarkable his ability to carry ideas through implementation with deep consideration and thought partnership around the broader business, leading to smarter design outcomes. He’s hyper aware of business and technology considerations around design, as well as the current digital product landscape. Not only does this filter into product decisions but also to the people around him. He’s a natural systems thinker. Lastly but most notably, he has the strongest communication muscle of any designer I’ve known, and can get along and work productively with anyone. He’s collaborative, generous, and builds lasting relationships with the people around him. If you have the chance to work with Kevin, take it.

Eleanor Morgan

Kevin was the perfect design partner for our needs and team — beyond his impressive track record and visual brilliance, he’s collaborative, communicative, nimble, ready to challenge the norm, think outside the box and crunch every timeline, moving strategy and design forward. Taking this next step in reinventing our digital presence would have been impossible without him.

Christina Tosi
Founder & CEO
Milk Bar

As a solo founder, Kevin was the very first person I brought onto the team. To say I was blown away by his work would be an understatement: he was the perfect partner to get started with just an idea, continue refining and building through multiple iterations as well as a successful fundraise. Kevin is not only a very talented designer and product thinker, but also a pleasure to be around. He was also incredibly helpful in recruiting and onboarding a full-time Head of Design to replace him when the right moment arose. If given the opportunity to work with Kevin, take it as fast as you can.

James Ruben
Founder & CEO

Kevin was an amazing member of our team. He joined us when we were just 2 cofounders with an idea, and he helped us right through to when we were a full team of 8. Working with Kevin felt like working with a full-time, in-house “full-stack designer”. He helped us create rapid prototypes, test our ideas with real users, and iterate very quickly through the ideas maze. He also owned our UX workstream, and created our brand from scratch. Working with Kevin was a pleasure from start to finish, and I very much hope to work with him again on my future startups.

Martin Gould
Founder & CEO
This One

I’ve worked with Kevin on a range of projects, from early-stage ideas full of ambiguity to complex redesigns that require meticulous detail. Without fail, he brings a combination of excellent design chops and a keen eye for business strategy that’s almost impossibly hard to find. He is an efficient operator, a vital thought partner, and wonderfully generous presence on any team. I couldn’t imagine where we’d be without him, and wholeheartedly recommend working with Kevin if you have the chance!

Gabe Flateman
Casper, Tomorrow Health

After years of hoping to work together, I was able to bring Kevin onboard early as our team was just forming. Our focus was on deeply understanding the product landscape and identifying the most interesting opportunities to pursue: Kevin brought his varied experience to bear on the work and we ended up in a fantastic place as a result. Kevin is a great communicator who always adeptly connects the design work to the overarching strategy. For over a year Kevin operated as a core part of our Product Design team, always delivering high quality, strategic work and just as importantly being an important part of the culture we built. I can’t recommend working with Kevin enough and I hope to do so again myself in the future.

Alex Rainert
Head of Product
The New York Times

Kevin was the perfect product designer to partner with to take Jumprope from concept to reality over nine months. He's an incredibly creative problem solver who worked with the inputs of user needs and product vision to design a clean and delightful user experience. Kevin is super pragmatic, efficient and focused in his work. He partnered really effectively with engineers, a branding firm and myself throughout the process of bringing a mobile-based product to life from scratch. If I were starting another company, I'd hire him again without question.

Jake Poses
Founder & CEO

It was an absolute pleasure to work with Kevin. He joined us to redesign our flagship VICE mobile app experience, and I was incredibly impressed by both how quickly he ramped up, and how efficiently he has iterated on various facets of the design. He’s adept at moving from strategic, big-picture thinking all the way down to the fine details of design executions — often in the same conversation. Kevin is seasoned at listening closely to feedback, then taking the time to reflect and come back with solutions that address concerns in a creative way.

Jess Brown
Director of UX

I always look forward to any opportunity to work with Kevin! Not only is he an incredibly talented designer with a knack for nailing complex, customer-centric designs that maximize utility and elegant visual aesthetics, but he’s also a terrific partner that feels like true member of our team with a shared responsibility for the success of any project.

Julia Lovett
Director of Product

Kevin is an extraordinarily talented designer and it’s been a privilege to work with him. He is equal parts creative and analytical, which allowed him to reduce the complexities of our highly technical product into simple, user-friendly UI/UX. Kevin designed key components of our product, and the results were an across the board improvement in engagement and conversion. Very happy with our work together and excited to do more.

Adam Rothblatt

Select Clients

Past and present
The New York Times
Gagosian Gallery
The National Park Service
Ancient Ritual
Milk Bar
Hello Inc.
Mill Industries

Core Specialties

I do this myself
Product Design
Product Strategy
Creative Direction
Connected Hardware
Web Design
User Research
Human/Computer Interaction
Design Systems

All The Rest

I've got people
Art Direction
Photo/Video Production
Frontend Development
OOH Advertising
Industrial Design